Fantasy baseball geek celebrates back-to-back meaningless victories

For the second straight year, my fantasy baseball team sprays fake champagne and lights up faux cigars in celebration of a fictitious trophy. It was a dominating year, until injuries threatened our championship hopes. But thanks to deft roster management, forsaking real friends and real responsibilities, we are again victorious.

Tim Sharp // Reuters
Tim Sharp // Reuters

I’d like to thank Adrian Beltre – your real team may be fighting for its Postseason life, but take comfort in knowing you’re already a champion (and that you can hit home runs on one knee). Robinson Cano, I’d pay you and Jay-Z 300 million Monopoly dollars to stay with my imaginary team. Matt Harvey, nobody thought you’d be a Cy Young contender (or even knew who you were)… but I knew I was drafting greatness.

And let us not forget Craig Gentry. You’ll likely never be relevant again, but in fantasy land, you were the perfect pickup for the final day of the season. Thanks for the stolen bases.

A special thank you to the real-life Twins and the Astros. Your horrendous lineups made stars of even my worst pitchers (when’s the last time Scott Kazmir won anybody anything?).

I’d like to thank my loving girlfriend, who has stood reluctantly beside me since before my first fantasy nerd blog post two years ago today (the blog post, I like to think, spurred my current winning streak). Without the use of her iPhone, my team might have never escaped the semifinal round. I still hope to enter my waiver claim one day, and have her join me in rotisserie bliss. She, meanwhile, tries to get me to play some Harry Potter game on the Internet. I tell her that I don’t have time for that fake stuff, at least not while I’m proposing trades to my nearest rivals, “The Flying Pancakes” and “Mr. Balls.”

Niklas Jansson // Wikimedia Commons

Finally, as athletes are inclined to thanking the true God of the universe for their actual sporting victories, I express my deepest appreciation for the blessing of the Flying Spaghetti Monster – a fake deity fit for a pretend game.

The offseason begins tomorrow. Five-plus months to build meaningful relationships*, advance professionally**, and improve upon my draft strategy to ensure a 3-peat in 2014.

 

* – Thus gaining access to more smartphones for emergency roster updates (as I still reside in the dark ages with no data plan)
** – Earning more time away from work during the baseball months

The last of the baseball card collectors

It was early Sunday morning. I grabbed some raisin bread and a banana and sat down in front of the television. Nothing prepares me for church like listening to people bicker about politics. But instead of meeting the press, I stumbled upon a piece on CBS that sent me down memory lane to old warehouses and hotel conference rooms, digging through dingy cardboard boxes, looking for loot to add to the oversized green plastic box I stored my treasures in until I grew old enough to realize how silly it looked to carry with me.

Some were colorful and metallic, others clean and crisp. Some were cut with the precision of a laser, others embossed, others glossed. There were the Diamond Kings and the diamonds in the rough, but it took mining the entire field to find all of the gems. And if you were lucky, you’d find the one that came with a stick of chewing gum.

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Diary of a Fantasy Baseball Geek

The rest of the world was watching masses of humanity crash into each other again and again in an attempt to advance an oblong ball. The crowds cheered as the players fell, like spectators at the Roman Coliseum.

Not I.

On Sunday, I watched a purer game – one of sandlot dreams and the fabric of Americana. The pastime from a simpler time. The one where guys spit and grab their crotch all the time.

Ah, baseball.

In the waning weeks of September, most of the pennant races have been decided. Bright-eyed prospects are fulfilling a lifelong dream of playing with the big league club while cagey veterans are resting up for the promise of October magic.

But for a small group, these final few weeks of September are paramount. They are the final challenge of a six-month test of strategy, skill, and sheer determination of will.

We are fantasy baseball geeks, and these are our playoffs.

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