Baseball rears its ugly head every spring, and I jump right back into the fray. I am a part of a Fantasy Baseball League that goes about and drafts teams of AL players and follows their adventures throughout the season. My fellow owners and I started this league back in 1989 when we used the USA Today weekly published stats to track our players.
A lot has changed since then. Now the stats are on-line and stat services track your players for you. We continue to only allow weekly moves to replace broken players but we could do it daily if we wanted to.
Also, the owners of the league have shifted around. We started with 10 owners, all of whom worked for MCI. Of that 10, 5 are still with the league, 4 are still with MCI. The league nexus shifted from DC to Texas (shades of the Senators). (All the new owners were working for MCI when they joined the league, they just didn’t all stay with MCI.) And while there are still ten teams, several teams have duet ownership. (One of those duet teams can’t even arrange to get one owner to draft day, April 2. One of the original owners, who is looking to get back into the league, will fill in for the missing duet.)
I dropped out for a few years when I moved to Colorado, since the league rules state that the drafters have to be at one site, in person, to conduct the draft. No conference calls or on-line bidding allowed. The Commissioner prevailed upon me to rejoin and make the commute to Dallas for draft day. My group’s offices were close by, and I found I could arrange business trips to overlap draft day. Since I no longer work for a Texas group, I take a day off, make the drive, stopping in Amarillo to spend the night, do the draft and head back that night, stopping in Amarillo again. (A 12-hour straight through drive is just not worth it. Did it once, never again!)
So, I am busy plotting my drafting strategies, checking what’s been going on with players since last season; who got traded where, who got retired, who is the hot new rookie (never draft a rookie, they ain’t worth it), what teams look like they have competent pitching staffs so they won’t leave a starter in the lurch. Then you put all the names into a hat, throw them in the air and grab a set of them to make your team. (We are holding our draft the day before Opening Day and we will still draft players that won’t make the Opening Day Roster.)
Our League’s draft is, more accurately, an auction. An owner puts up a name for bid, the other owners run the bid up until no one else bids and then the highest bidder adds that player to his roster. I have $26 to fill a team roster of 2 catchers,1B, 3B, Corner(1B or 3B), SS, 2B, Mid (SS or 2B), 5 OF, DH, 9 Pitchers. We rate hitters on HR, RBI, R, SB, and Average, and Pitchers on Wins, Saves, Strikeouts, ERA and WHIP Ratio (a made up stat of walks and hits per inning pitched). So there are a lot of factors in evaluating a good player. Just because someone gets a lot of strikeouts doesn’t make him a good candidate, especially if he gives up a lot of walks, hits and earned runs. Few players excel in a single category, very few players excel in more than one category. Most players are average, strangely enough. It can be very frustrating at times. (I will post my top candidates after the draft)
This is the year I shall win it all!