Adam\’s Stream of Consciousness

If you blog it, they will come

I Should be a GM

Posted by Adam on July 17, 2006

Football is king and rightfully so. It requires the least time, and it has the least complicated scoring system. Basketball is my meal ticket. It is the game I am most successful at. However, nothing compares to the fun that can be had playing fantasy baseball. The depth of players, the dichotomy of pitching and hitting, and sheer the quantity of stats available make it my national pastime.

Critics of fantasy sports point towards the hobby taking away from the enjoyment of the game. It no longer becomes about who wins or loses (unless you happen to have the starting pitcher for that game), but rather whether or not the players you have on your team are performing well. The individuals become larger than the teams and loyalties dissolve. I say these critics are making generalizations based upon what they perceive to be true, but if they were to actually participate in a fantasy league they would find that they couldn’t be more wrong.

I am a Cubs fan. The Cubs stink this season. I look at the standings in the newspaper every morning, and every morning I tell myself again that (again) this isn’t their year. While watching their televised games and rooting for them to win may begin to seem rather pointless, I find that this is exactly what happens every time they pop up on the dial. What isn’t pointless though is finding new ways to make these games meaningful, such as having the Cubs’ key contributors on my fantasy baseball team. Sure its great to see the Cubs win, but lets face it, at this point in the season playoff aspirations are all but gone. However, when Carlos Zambrano starts, he not only pitches for the Cubs, but he also pitches for team Nobody Fucks With Dejesus, and the latter’s season is still all about making the playoffs and winning a championship.

Of course a fantasy baseball team is rarely, if ever, composed solely of players off of your favorite team’s roster. Would I root against my beloved Cubbies if I had their opponent’s starter on my team? Of course I wouldn’t, but I might hope that it remains scoreless until late in the game, after my pitcher no longer factors in the decision. Fickle perhaps, but my loyalties remain intact. I still enjoy a baseball game, it is just that the way in which I enjoy it may be different from that of a non-fantasy playing spectator. If anything, I would say my knowledge of the game has increased. You would be hard pressed to find anyone who knows more maybe one player off of the Kansas City Royals 2006 roster. I can think of five off the top of my head (All-star Mark Redman, closer Mike MacDougal, 1B Mike Sweeney, and outfielders Emil Brown and my fantasy squad’s namesake David Dejesus). The casual fan doesn’t have an interest in this team, or any other team out of contention at this point in the season, but I do. Even teams like the Pirates, Devil Rays, and Nationals have players who are integral cogs in a championship fantasy baseball squad. Before getting into the fantasy game these teams were an afterthought, but now I have reason to check every boxscore, every day.

Its easy for me to point fingers at who is to blame for the Cubs decline this season (injuries to Wood and Prior, or perhaps the inability of Dusty Baker to manage this team), but when my fantasy squad starts losing there is nobody to blame but myself. I draft the players, cut loose the underperformers, trade away the duplicate talent, and decide who sits and who plays. I have total control, and I wouldn’t have it any other way. While I don’t win every season, I can say that the successes far outweigh the failures. In fantasy baseball I am a man of action, who realizes that when things get rough changes must be made. My track record proves that I must know something about how to put together a winning team. This is why I’m allowed to criticize the decisions made by Jim Hendry, who is the man upstairs in charge of the Cubs, because I know that I should be GM instead.

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