Fan Interference – Act I
The first thing I learned to read after
some book about dinosaurs was a baseball box score. The first
baseball game I can legitimately remember watching is Twins-Braves in
Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, when Jack Morris pitched 10 innings
and Dan Gladden scored the winning run of a 1-0 game. I was hooked
on the sport after that classic, and growing up on Long Island I followed
in my father’s footsteps and became a Mets fan.
Back in 1991 I wasn’t too young to
relish in the Braves’ anguish as a Mets fan, so two playoff appearances
in 19 years could very well be karma. The Mets’ struggles have
shaped me to become what I would call a realistic
baseball fan. I will try to channel this jadedness into good-natured
content for your reading pleasure.
People who also root for a mismanaged
team that consistently fails can share the attraction to fantasy sports,
where at least you have control over the fate of your rooting interest.
I’ve played the game for over 13 years, finished first and finished
last, but always lead the league in transactions. To me, what
makes fantasy sports enjoyable is actually being a manager, constantly
adding new players and making trades. Not the most patient individual,
I’m quick to cut a guy in a bad slump for a fresh name – you might
call it a George Steinbrenner approach to the game.
Fantasy sports is, in fact, a game,
so why not actively play it? Being a conservative owner in fantasy baseball
is like the guy in a pickup basketball game who just sets picks and
plays defense. You have to shoot once in a while to have fun,
otherwise just run on a treadmill. Just like if you’re not going
to makes moves in fantasy baseball, you might as well just save the
spot in the league and stick to reading box scores. Having the
same players on your team for a while is just plain boring.
Nothing is more satisfying in this
game than recognizing a guy off the waiver wire who turns out to be
a breakout star. Nothing is more frustrating than being loyal
to a guy just because you drafted him and watching him go one-for four
with two K’s every game (can you hear me Alex Rios?).
Why would you care about all this?
Because all season long if a player emerges who is worthy of a potential
pickup – even in the deepest of mixed leagues – I’ll
be all over it. I have enough experience getting burned by impulsive
drops or finding free agent gems to have a decent grasp on whether streaking
players are worth picking up or passing up, and which slumping players
are worth cutting or holding on to.
I have friends who refuse to play fantasy
baseball because they claim there are too many players to keep track
of. With 750 players on active rosters and countless Minor
Leaguers in the mix their concern is understandable, albeit whiny. However
this concern is a central reason why I love baseball and fantasy baseball
especially, there is constant source of new information to digest and
examine. If you’re feeling too overwhelmed to put the effort
into monitoring all the game’s players, I’ll do my best to take
some of the “pressure” off so you can stand a chance in your league.
Combine some general fantasy baseball
musings from my unique perspective with some hopefully useful advice
sprinkled in, and you get Fan Interference. Enjoy.