Fantasy Baseball. Ah, that game that allows you the fan to play GM / Manager and put together a team that is the best in the majors. It actually took me a few years to get into fantasy baseball. Mainly because I had heard more about fantasy football and since I don’t make it a point to watch or keep up with football, I had no interest. However, a few years ago when starting a new job, one of my friends / co-workers was running a fantasy league and needed some new owners. He was surprised that I had not been playing fantasy baseball given how much I would end up talking about baseball. At one point he said “if i had a dime for every time you mentioned baseball, i’d be at least a millionaire.”
Anyway, I decided to give it a go and join the fantasy league. The initial players I had on my team were Johann Santana and Jim Edmonds. I could have gotten a team with a couple of other big bopper bats, but since I LOVE pitching and defense, I had to take the team with Johann Santana. Anyway, the league cost money to join and for some reason this didn’t stop me from crafting the worst fantasy team ever. I didn’t think I would actually win or come close, so I decided to put together the All Jewish Team. At the time that I joined fantasy, there were not many good Jewish players in the game that you would actually use in fantasy baseball. The ones available were on the back end of their careers.
Anyway, my first team had the few Jews in the game and a bunch of guys with names that might be mistaken as possibly Jewish. The craziest thing I did was to draft Adam Stern (where is he now?) in the 3rd round. The guys in my league (and i do mean guys; it was a league of 12 teams, me and 11 men playing) were beyond puzzled and just couldn’t understand how i got in to play. In honor of the concept of my team, I decided to name them Sandy K’s Brothers in honor of the great Sandy Koufax, only one of the greatest pitchers ever and a Jew! Needless to say, with the team I drafted, I managed to set league lows. My team was son bad, that many of the guys in the league thought that my friend who got me into fantasy baseball put me in on purpose so that he could win because we were in the same division. They also were annoyed because they assumed I was a “typical” girl severely lacking in sports knowledge, let alone baseball knowledge.
The second season it took me a while to draft any jewish players and they were wondering what was up. Some had come to realize over the first season that I actually did know something about baseball, but they were still skeptical. I actually came pretty close to making the playoffs but the fact that I was able to prove I knew baseball was even better.
Fast forward a couple of years, I am now the commissioner of the league. The guys know I actually do know baseball because of pulling off some trades that they saw as ridiculous only to later realize were brilliant. However, I am still unable to get to the playoffs and actually win. There is a good reason for this. It is because, when I play the game, I think about it more in terms of some of my favorite players, pitching and defense (things I value greatly, but in fantasy only in certain ways) and because I refuse to draft or pick up players that have played for certain teams.
The last reason is the biggest problem. I refuse to put anyone who has played or currently plays for the cubs on my fantasy team. I’ve also done this with players from the Yankees as well, but I have not done that in recent years anymore. In fact, my current team has 4 Yankees on it (Swisher, ,Gardner, A-Rod, Sabathia). With the cubs, this presents problems because a LOT of players on other teams who are fairly decent have cubs stench as i like to call it on them. This automatically disqualifies them from being a member of Sandy K’s Brothers. In past years, some of those players could have helped get my team over the hump and into the playoffs and possibly winning.
Generally, I enjoy playing fantasy baseball because I can put together a team and see how it would do. And it has forced me to learn more about other teams and in particular the NL since I mainly watch AL teams given where the Sox play. One drawback though for me is the joy I feel when I see a player doing well in my fantasy lineup, but then being irritated if he is on the team opposing my white sox that day. This was the case early on when I had Johann Santana and he played for the Twins. My hope was usually for a great pitching performance for 8 innings of 0-0 baseball and then in the 9th when the twins would have to bring in someone else, the White Sox would go to town and win. That would be a win-win in fantasy, even though i wouldn’t get the fantasy win, i’d get the stats. Some day I hope i can get over my cubs aversion as i did with the yankees, but something tells me that just won’t happen. I have gotten over the opposing player thing however.