Monday, March 28, 2011
The Mystique of Fantasy Baseball
There is a fine line between casual fan and die-hard fan. It a very simple line. Do you think you could run the team better? If not, and you really don't care about the offseason squabbling or trade rumors... congrats, you are a casual fan. Enjoy your life of worry-free Octobers and occasional weeknight out with your wife/husband/etc. Those of us who really dig deep into the every-day operations of our favorite teams will always tell you one thing "I could totally do a better job" So man has gone out and created ways for us to prove to our friend and colleagues (but mostly ourselves) that we could actually do it better. The more recent of the two is "Franchise" modes in sports games. Any sports game worth a damn will feature this mode, where you take over the role of a GM, Owner and/or Coach. You can trade, sign and release player, choose how they play, and even (in some of the deeper games) set prices on tickets, parking and food.
The original "Who can be the best fake GM" game, however, was Fantasy Baseball. It's since exploded into just about every sport, and last I heard, Fantasy Football was almost as big of a business as the NFL itself. Between website fees, fantasy handbooks and a subscription to ESPN Insider, Fantasy Baseball (or any sport for that matter) can be an expensive undertaking, for usually little to no reward. But we keep coming back to it year after year. I, in fact, have two leagues this year. A traditional Roto League, where all your stats are accumulated throughout the season, and the person with the best overall stats at the end of the season is considered the winner, and then a Head-to-Head league, which takes weekly match-ups between teams in the league and whomever has the best stats that week gets a Win, and it works more like a traditional sports season, where the top 2-6 teams get into the playoffs, and continue the head-to-head matchups until a champion is crowned.
Why do I do it? I've never won a cent playing fantasy baseball (mostly due to the fact that I join or create free leagues), but every year I want to come back and do it again. Learn from the mistakes I'd made in years past. This year, for example, I need to draft power. My only power bat last year was Kendrys Morales, and we all know how that turned out come June. I do it because there is that little part of me that dreams to be a GM for a big pro-sports franchise, and nothing makes me happier than when I draft this little known guy out of Milwaukee and he turns my season around.
While I've never really "won" at fantasy baseball, that doesn't matter. The fact that its just around is enough for me. Its going to be an exciting year of baseball, and I'll have something riding on every game.
I'd like to thank Drew Litton for his cartoon I used for today's article. He worked for a now defunct newspaper, The Rocky Mountain News. He was a cartoonist for the paper, which closed its doors over two years ago. I'd go on some rant about the death of the printed news, but then who the hell would read blogs?