I’ve been playing fantasy sports since 2001. It started as a way to keep in touch with one of my long time high school friends when he was living in another state. It did not take long, however, for this hobby to become an obsession.
The first league I took part in was of the fantasy football variety. I’ve always been a San Francisco 49ers fan, but I never really paid attention to the rest of the NFL. In that first season, I had a horrible draft, I didn’t win a game until week 8 (Thank you Trung Canidate!), and I got hosed in the worst trade of all time (I traded Steven Davis for Doug Flutie and Larry Centers!). In a word, I was UNPREPARED.
In the seasons to follow, I learned the value of watching more games, reading injury reports, and listening to “experts”. I realized that the more time you put into the game, the better your team would perform. Don’t get me wrong. Luck plays a HUGE role in the success of your team, but hard work is what puts you in the position to win it all. It was not long until I won my first Fantasy Football Championship.
Football is the perfect sport for an introduction into fantasy. Most people already watch it. Each team only plays 16 games in the season. There’s a limited number of players on each team that can earn you points. And let’s be honest… Football is just RAD.
I have played other fantasy sports. I did fantasy basketball for two seasons, but gave it up after I lost out on the championship because of a tie-breaker. For the last two seasons, I’ve played fantasy hockey. I hate hockey, but my buddy asked me to play, so you know… I won the championship my first year, and came in second this last year. If I had to choose my favorite fantasy sport though, it would have to be baseball.
My first season of fantasy baseball was in 2004. Much like with my first football league, I came into baseball being unprepared. My draft was horrible, and my team sucked ass for the first half of the season. Since the baseball season is so long, I did have time to improve my situation through trades and free agency. Although I finished 9th out of 12 teams, I knew that if I worked hard enough, I could eventually master fantasy baseball.
Here’s how I’ve done over the years in my hardcore fantasy baseball league…
Year: Team Name: Place:
2004 The Sweet High Heat 9th of 12
2005 Tha Team Builders 6th of 12
2006 A Dumb Owner 3rd of 12
2007 The Vampire Bats 4th of 12
2008 The Mythical Beasts 8th of 14
2009 The Witty Retorts 4th of 14
2010 Big Papa Shango 4th of 14
Before the 2010 season, we decided to turn our league into keeper league, in which you can keep up to 3 players by drafting each player a round earlier than you got them the year before.
My keepers going into this season were Andrés Torres (12th round), Nick Swisher (13th round), and CJ Wilson (20th) round. Midway through the season, Here’s what my current roster looks like…
Chris Iannetta – C
Carlos Pena – 1B
Ben Zobrist - 2B
Alex Gordon – 3B
Troy Tulowitzki – SS
Logan Morrison – OF
Nick Swisher – OF
Shin-Soo Choo – OF
Bobby Abreu – OF
Andrés Torres – Util
Jayson Werth - Util
Raul Ibanez – Util
Ryan Roberts – Util
Edwin Encarnacion – Bench
Ryan Dempster – SP
David Price – SP
Derek Holland – SP
Carlos Marmol – RP
Rafael Betancourt – RP
Leo Nunez – P
Tyler Clippard – P
Chad Qualls – P
CJ Wilson – P
Eduardo Sanchez – DL
Brad Lidge - DL
I have 3 other roster spots that I use to stream pitchers.
So here’s the deal. My team does not look good. There’s nothing sexy about it. I’m middle of the pack in home runs and runs batted in. My batting average is horrible. My most dominant statistic is walks, for crying out loud!
With all that said, at the halfway point of the season, guess whose team is in first place?
I’ll give you a second…
That’s right! Mine!
Big Papa Shango is in first place by a game and a half!
I’ve been asked what the appeal is with fantasy sports. For me, the answer is simple.
I pride myself in being right… ALWAYS. If I am beating you in fantasy sports, what it means is that I am RIGHT. I’m running my team the right way. I’m making the right decisions. I picked up the right pitcher on the right day.
If I beat you, that means I’m better than you.
The problem with fantasy baseball is that I haven’t won a league yet. I’ve been in first place before. I’ve dominated all season long. The playoffs, however, are a different story. When it comes to the playoffs, that’s when my team usually lets me down. As much as I get a kick out of winning, it’s the losing that sticks with me. Losing is Hell. Until I win a championship in fantasy baseball, I will never be able to have peace.
Fantasy baseball is my Mount Everest. Halfway done, I’m feeling good. Just half a season more ’til glory. Glorious glory.
Wish me luck… and stay rad,