Volume 3, Number 5
Stop Me Before I Trade Again
By Dean Shutt
It's such a happy time of year here in Northern California for the casual sports fan. The weather outside is gorgeous during the day with the passing of El Nino, the days are sunny and warm and the evenings cool off nicely. There is a baseball game happening somewhere right now, and I could be watching it if I weren't chained to my desk staring at a deadline. The NHL and NBA playoffs are in full swing, promising upsets in the first round to heighten the drama. The hated Flyers are having the whipstomp applied to them by those plucky Sabres. My Red Sox are beating the living bejesus out anyone unfortunate enough to share the field with them and Pedro Martinez looks like he means to earn that 75 mil all this year. The NFL draft has just taken place and my beloved Colts have their quarterback all sewed up for the next decade. Every night when I get home from a hard day's work I have some sporting event to watch, it is indeed a happy time.
So why then am I so unfulfilled? With all the good in the world, why do I get up in the morning and grumble at the sports page? Why? Because my lousy good-for-nothing fantasy baseball team is doing their imitation of Leonardo DiCaprio in "What's Eating Gilbert Grape". They can't hit, they can't pitch and I am fairly certain that if they got involved in a spitting contest they would drool all over themselves. That isn't what's eating me, though. What is bothering me about this whole pathetic situation is that I am involved at all. What is bothering me is that I am slipping into the horrors of becoming a Stat Geek.
Let me just say right now that I loathe fantasy sports. I have always believed that they will be the downfall of western society. It is my conviction that they take everything that is bad and venal about sport and put it on a pedestal. I believe that the man who invented fantasy baseball should be strapped in a seat at the Marlins' home field and be forced to watch the entire season without beer. I hate them almost as much as I hate the Flyers, Raiders, Cowboys and Yankees. I hate them with every fiber of my being. And now I have been sucked into their gaping maw of inconsequentiality.
It was all so innocent at first. A friend at work came into my office and asked if I wanted to play fantasy baseball. I told him emphatically how I felt about the matter and thought that was the end of it. A week later he was back, begging me to help "fill out the league". I ought to have flogged him then, but instead I relented and signed up for the season. I figured that since it was free I could just draft a team and let it slowly drift away as the season progressed. I asked for and received Mo Vaughn and I was happy about that. Then I noticed I had a pretty solid pitching rotation and I was happy about that. Then I went looking on the waiver wire and picked up some hot young talent and I was really happy about that. Now, as my pathetic bunch languishes in last place I find myself not only keeping but starting a New York-freaking-Yankee in my outfield and I have no plans to let him go as long as he is producing.
I know where this will end you know. I know that someday soon I will be sitting back relaxing to a Red Sox/Yankees slugfest and Daryl-Freaking-Strawberry will stride to the plate. At that point I will either A) Hope to God he gets drilled in the ribs by a high hard fastball; or B) Hope that he gets a hit because MY FANTASY TEAM NEEDS THE POINT. Trust me when I tell you that if it is the latter you will never see another column from me again because I will put a bullet in my obviously diseased mind. I have no intention of living the rest of my days watching sports and not caring who wins, only caring how MY players are doing. That may be what passes for being a sports fan nowadays but I refuse to have any part of it, I'll take up going to the opera before that happens.
In the meantime, does anyone know where I can pick up a third baseman with some power?