Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Look away ladies: It’s fantasy baseball time

I like sports. I like gambling. And I like having empirical evidence that I know more about a subject than someone else. That’s why I play fantasy sports.

Fantasy sports are, by their nature, a helmet party. Sure, I have read about the existence of some women who venture into fantasy drafts, but I think men are more likely to encounter a group of lingerie-clad, pillow-fighting co-eds who lack formal currency to pay for a pizza than to find a woman who likes fantasy sports.

In fact, the fantasy sport for most women—especially significant others—is making fun of their SOs playing fantasy sports. The Lovely Becky is actually not too bad about it, because she is lovely, but she gets her shots in. I do think she appreciates having me distracted when she hires a pool boy to clean our non-existent pool.

I am in two baseball leagues this year, and in a post that will surely bore most of my readers, I am posting results and standard Brando-style commentary. Detractors, male and female: feel free to snark away about the idiocy of all this (especially the embarrassing length of this post), but please, bring your A-games. If you’re going to hurl a bon mot, put some mustard on it and throw at my head.

League 1: Roto
Team: Rum of Jobu

Standard 5x5 roto league, 12 guys who I met on a message board, which squares the geek factor. I won last year. I upped the difficulty level by playing (and winning!) a poker game at my house while also drafting.

1. Carl Crawford, OF, Devil Rays -- The guy I wanted, and not in that way, teh. I think he’ll be the best player in fantasy baseball this year. Mega steals.
2. Lance Berkman, 1B, OF, Houston Enrons -- I hate having Astros, White Sux, or Cardinals on my teams, but Berkman was too good to pass up.
3. Jimmy Rollins, SS, Phillies -- Part II of dominating the steals category. Base stealers make some of the best trade bait because it’s the hardest stat to add from waivers.
4. Brandon Webb, SP, Diamondbacks -- Love his first name. Plus he’s one of the best groundball pitchers in baseball, which is always good for the WHIP.
5. B.J. Ryan, RP, Toronto Hosers -- Take off, eh? I don’t usually like grabbing relievers early, but there was a run and Ryan helped me win last year. I think this is when I started playing poker.
6. Brian Roberts, 2B, Orioles -- Second base is more shallow than a Paris Hilton reflecting pool, so I grabbed Roberts a little early and added more steals. Hopefully he “returns to form” from his injury, which is the fantasy version of the Kiss of Death.
7. C.C. Sabathia, SP, Cleveland Politically Incorrects -- Drafted him despite his crooked gangsta hat. Should be good for a lot of wins because the CPIs have some loaded bats. And not in a Sammy Sosa/Albert Belle sense either.
8. Rocco Baldelli, OF, Devil Rays -- Love the porn name. More on this in a second.
9. Delmon “Bat Thrower” Young, OF, Devil Rays -- Discerning readers have probably noticed a pattern here immediately. I did not notice until the next day that I drafted the entire fucking Devil Rays outfield. The Devil Rays that run like Hayes and hit like shit. I will be on the horn moving Bat Thrower assuming he uses his bat to hit balls and not umps.
10. Chad Cordero, RP, Nationals -- Quite pleased with this pick. I should be a good contender in saves. Which means his arm will fly off during his first save opportunity.
11. Mark Teahan, 3B, Royals -- The Veronica Mars of infielders, who would be a star if he didn’t play on baseball’s equivalent of the CW. He had a great run last season before surgery ended his season, and he’s got a good chance for 25 dingers and 90+ RBIs.
12. Ramon Hernandez, C, Baltimore -- Catcher is always a hitting black hole, so I was happy to get a guy this late who hit .275/23/91 last year.
13. Adrian Beltre, 3B, Seattle -- Classic lazy fuck who only gives a crap when he’s trying to get a new deal. He’s not this year, but even lazy Beltre has power.
14. Josh Beckett, SP, Red Sox -- Risky McRisk as my third pitcher. This pick is like asking your wife for a three-way: amazing if it happens, but more likely to land you in the doghouse. Oh well, you only live once.
15. Bobby Crosby, SS, Oakland -- Crosby is a Former Promising Rookie, the baseball equivalent of Former Childhood Stars. But if Jackie Earle Haley can get an Oscar nod, Crosby could “return to form.”
16. Ryan Dempster, RP, Cubs -- Made it a long way before the inevitable Cubs homer pick. Closers with ERAs of 4.00+ don’t stay closers for long, but I hope he can add enough saves early that I can sell high to a desperate owner.
17. Michael Barrett, C, Cubs -- I just like him. I’m comfortable enough with my sexuality to say that. I played catcher (go ahead, fire away) in Little League, and Barrett reminds me of how I would play in the majors if I had talent.
18. Jon Garland, SP, White Sux -- My thinking cap must have been mullet shaped when I made this pick. He’s probably good for some wins but I regretted this pick as soon as I made it.
19. Josh Johnson, SP/RP, Marlins -- One of the Marlins wunderkids from last year. Wins may be hard to come by, but his ERA should be low.
20. Jhonny Perhalta, SS, Cleveland Politically Incorrects -- I’m picking up problem shortstops like stray kittens. Another Jackie Earle Haley candidate. But I distrust anyone who can’t spell his first name correctly.
21. Gary Matthews, Jr., OF, Angels -- Could be traded to the California Penal League for taking human growth hormone. My second fuck up in the outfield, because I didn’t realize we started four OFs and I only had three. At least I was playing good poker.
22. Jacque Jones, OF, Cubs -- The homer juice flows through my veins. Actually, his RBI totals could go up since the Cubs may get men on base this year.
23. Placido Palanco, 2B, Tigers -- Always reminds me of Enrico Pallazzo from The Naked Gun. That’s why I draft him nearly every year.
24. B.J. Upton, 3B, Devil Rays -- I officially have a nonsexual man crush on the Devil Rays. An up-and-coming player, B.J. could blow up this season, or he could just blow.
25. Jeremy Sowers, SP, Cleveland Politically Incorrects -- Ooh, look pocket Aces! What, I have to make a pick?
26. Matt Murton, OF, Cubs -- Will likely play soon after Cliff Floyd gets a paper cut, but I decided to drop him right away for Astros reliever Dan Wheeler, who will close when Brad Lidge’s primal scream therapy goes awry.

Season outlook: While drafting three Tampa outfielders looks as sharp as Morty Seinfeld selling raincoats, I can probably make a good trade with Rocco or Bat Thrower, maybe even package Dempster early for an A-list OF to go with Crawford. I will be shocked if I don’t win steals, and should make a good run in the saves and wins department. I don’t have a great power guy after Berkman, but have several 20+ HR guys who could help in that category. Prediction -- I won’t suck and may flirt with the title if Dempster keeps the closers job and Crosby, Jhonny, or Beltre “return to form.” Corrected prediction -- I have likely offended Jobu with my Devil Rays antics, which means my team will be cursed.

League 2: Head-to-Head
Team: Tommy’s Johnson

This league is with my brother and his friends. As you can tell by the name, we’ve dialed down the maturity. We decided to do head-to-head, which involves more luck but tends to keep more teams in contention than roto. We also have OBP as a category. I beat many of these same guys in fantasy football and am on track to win the fantasy NBA league from them, too. Yes, I need an intervention.

1. Carl Crawford, OF, Devil Rays -- I drafted seventh in both drafts, and both times Carl was the best player to take. I should just apply to be the Tampa “bat boy.”
2. Miguel Cabrera, 3B, Marlins -- Lots of RBIs, a killer average, and good power. Like the way this draft is shaping up already.
3. Derrek Lee, 1B, Cubs -- I think he bounces back from an injury-plagued 2006 and drives in a buttload of runs with an improved Cubs offense. Of course, the Cubs are going to need to score 12 runs a game to make up for their pitching.
4. Vernon Wells, OF, Toronto Hosers -- Need my token Canadian. Vernon's well-rounded. Sorry, that’s a terrible pun. But very happy to get him.
5. Victor Martinez, C/1B, Cleveland Politically Incorrects -- He screwed me two years ago when he forgot how to hit for half a season, but he looks like the second-best catcher again. Like the 1B eligibility.
6. Francisco Rodriguez, RP, Angels -- Couldn’t pass him up even though I hate drafting relievers. People think they play “Hells Bells” when he takes the field, but that’s just his balls clanging together.
7. Felix Hernandez, SP, Seattle -- Only 20 and in his third year. Smartly realized that he couldn’t eat his way to a Cy Young, trimmed down, and now looks ready to kick some ass.
8. Dan Uggla, 2B, Marlins -- Again, second is a black hole, so I was happy to fill other spots and still nab a .280/25/90 guy here. Love his last name.
9. Jonathan Papelbon, RP, Red Sox -- Say chowder! With him and Rodriguez, I’m in top shape for saves each week.
10. Brett Myers, SP, Phillies -- Could have a monster year if not pitching in handcuffs again because of domestic disturbances. Baseball fever: catch it!
11. Dan Haren, SP, A’s -- Nice wins (14) and could break the 4.00 ERA barrier this year. Almost chose A’s pitcher Rich Harden just so I could write heh, heh, you said “hard.” Too bad I didn’t do that.
12. Chris Ray, RP, Orioles -- Take me down to reliever city where the WHIPs are low and the ERAs pretty. I’m in great shape for saves each week and have nice trade bait.
13. Edgar Rentaria, SS, Atlanta Ennui -- I gambled a bit waiting this long for a SS, but I’m happy with Rentaria. Good average, a few dingers and stolen bases. He probably won’t kill me. Downside: he may fall asleep playing in front of indifferent Atlanta crowds.
14. Scott Podsednik, OF, White Sux -- Poop, South Siders on both teams. Couldn’t pass on more stolen bases. I screwed up a bit waiting this long for a third OF, and wish I’d taken Willie Tavarez instead because his average is higher.
15. Josh Beckett, SP, Red Sox -- I think this is when The Lovely Becky came home with Culvers for me. She is an awesome, awesome lady and can make fun of me all she wants. I was so distracted by Butterburger delights I ignored the Beckett warning signs again.
16. Jeff Francoeur, OF, ATL Ennui -- A nice find this late. Probably should have taken him before Podsednik. Good power, and if he can get his average up 10-15 points, he’ll be very productive.
17. Bobby Crosby, SS, A’s -- Kitten shopping at short again.
18. Mike Piazza, C, A’s -- Oh, how the mighty have fallen. But a good #2 catcher.
19. Mark Teahan, 3B, Royals -- Still munching on Culvers, so I rewind the TiVo and grab Veronica Mars again.
20. Joel Zumaya, RP, Tigers --
If he can lay off the Guitar Hero marathons, Zumaya is almost certain to bump septuagenarian Todd Jones out of the closer spot and into the Retirement Castle.
21. Freddy Garcia, SP, Phillies -- Took him because he managed 17 wins last year. Judgment is admittedly clogged by Culver’s.
22. Jacque Jones, OF, Cubs -- Thought about switching it up with Matt Murton, but Jones will start right away. I was done caring by this point.
23. Edwin Encarnacion, 3B, Reds -- More third basemen than I need, but he has a lot of potential and could be good for a trade if he gets hot.
24. Carlos Quentin, OF, Diamondbacks -- A prospect pick, but he’s been hurt during spring training. If he’s not ready by the opener, I’ll probably drop.
25. Todd Walker, Will Play Where You Want Me to for Food -- Never a good idea to draft guys who just got released. Dropped him and grabbed 2B Luis Castillo from Minnesota.

Season outlook: Head-to-head is a little more unpredictable because hot streaks have a bigger impact on the results. Still, I’m very happy with my team. I have a good balance of average, power, and speed in the field, my relievers are excellent, and my starting pitchers look solid. Prediction: I snag the fantasy triple crown and win the league. I’ll wear it along with my Devil Rays tiara.


Anonymous said...

Interesting teams, Brando. I generally shied away from Josh Johnson, as it looks like he's out for minimum 2 months and it could be worse. I'm surprised you went for Jacques Jones over Murton. Did you see that Murton was hitting 2nd today? He could be giant if he gets to stay there once Cliff Floyd eats refined sugar while blinking. That's amazing getting both Crawford AND Berkman. Giant all-round numbers there. I also like the foundation of Webb/Sabathia/Beckett. I think Sowers is super talented and will make an impact. You should have ample saves in that team.

Your second league is just filthy. It's almost not fair having Crawford, Cabrera, Lee, Vmart, and Wells, all of whom were gone in our first two rounds. A bullpen of K-Rod, Papelbon, and Chris Ray is equally unfair. Your league is either extremely shallow, or your competitors are extremely shallow. King Felix and Haren are a very nice 1-2 punch. You should be fine. I thought Podsednik would go earlier in my draft as well, but I guess with the injury label and a guy whose only value is in SB, people were steering clear. Piazza could be a massive steal - he went early in our draft and should put up great numbers as a full-time DH. I'm so jealous.

Brando said...

UC, thanks for the heads-up on Johnson. I didn't know that -- stupid Yahoo had no indication he was hurt. I just put in for Rich Hill of the Cubs, who could have great year for them.

I was on the fence for Murton, but Jones' role with the Cubs is more set at this point. Murton has more upside, Jones has fewer surprises.

The second league was only 10 people, so it was easier to stockpile. There were also some really goofy picks which made it easier to swoop in. The second league is actually worth some pretty good money, so I'm especially excited about it.

Chuckles said...

I would readily join a Fantasy Baseketball League. I would join a real life one, too.

I will not poke snark at this post, as I play WoW and thus am worse than you two somehow.

Anonymous said...

AG has never been so bored in her life!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

You kids should just join a NERO team and get it over with!!!!!!!!!!

Churlita said...

A woman who lives about two houses down from you, is super into fantasy football. I'm not sure if she does the baseball thing so much. She hangs out with a group of sports nerds from The Dublin Underground. So, at least you're not alone on your street.

Anonymous said...

Female science grad students would be highly enriched for partaking in fantasy sports. Still, I don't know a single female who does fantasy baseball. There are a number of female grad students at my journal club who do fantasy football, though. I think the overall work input is lower, and the season is shorter. I have another really close friend that is running an NCAA tournament pool, but still she discolours at the thought of fantasy baseball.

Anonymous said...

Oooh, update to my last comment: One of the female grad students that goes to my journal club, upon overhearing me talk about my Dodger players, Martin and Lowe, asked me if we all avoided Jeff Kent, since he's a perpetual injury risk. She said that in her league, she went with Andre Etheir as a sleep OF instead of Murton and thought Maddux was due for a great season. So I now know ONE female fantasy baseball participant.

Brando said...

How about that! I actually have read of women playing fantasy football -- a few female players have written to ESPN's Bill Simmons about it -- but hadn't encountered a mention of female fantasy baseball players. Next thing is you'll tell me a woman will run for president in 2008!

Anonymous said...

Wow! This is craziness! But I can see why you'd be into it, I guess. Between this and Playstation or Nintendo or Pong or whatever it is you like -- :)

Becky is a saint!!

Just kidding, Brando. I was just trying to work "Pong" in there!