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Do Your Homework in Your Fantasy Baseball League: A Fan’s Perspective
I'm sure you've noticed that we are only a month away from pitchers and catchers reporting to spring training. I say it's about time. Soon, we can get past all of this football and basketball nonsense and get on with some baseball and the start of fantasy leagues. Fantasy baseball leagues promise a season of fun or (and this is more likely) heartbreak and frustration.
But to the poorly prepared, a momentary misstep can lead to a lifetime of ridicule and scorn.
I won't rehash the obvious reasons to be prepared going into your draft. Instead, I'll tell a little story from a draft in my league many years ago. Among other leagues I am in, I have been part of a small fantasy league for over 15 years now. By today's standards it's pretty low-tech. We get together the Sunday before the baseball season starts, draft 30 rounds, and that's it. No trades, no waivers. At the end of the season we add up the points and see who won.
It's a pretty laid-back affair, but we have one rule in my league: When you're up to pick, once you've said a name, it's over. No changing your mind or getting cold feet. One memorable draft a friend of mine was up, and he bravely announced, "I'll take Kevin Kennedy, Texas Rangers." There was a beat or two of silence, and the room broke up. The only problem for my friend was that Kevin Kennedy was a manager by that time. Now, Kevin Kennedy wasn't just a bad pick; it was a ridiculous pick. Kennedy never played in the major leagues. My friend later admitted he saw Kennedy on one of his kids' Texas Rangers baseball cards. Turns out, Kennedy was indeed on a baseball card in 1993, but he shared the card with then-San Diego manager Jim Riggleman. The card also says "manager" in bold letters across the top.
We have all done these things. OK, hopefully you haven't done something quite that stupid, but we've all made silly, ill-advised, or just downright dumb moves. We draft players who got injured recently. We draft players who just signed with Japanese teams. We draft players with our hearts rather than our brains. And, as my league can tell you, we draft players who aren't even playing anymore, or, in one case that will live forever in our league's lore - players who never even were players. This priceless moment happened almost twenty years ago. Not a year has gone by since that someone doesn't say, "Hey, remember when Pat drafted Kevin Kennedy?"
Those memories are part of what makes fantasy baseball fun. But do yourself a favor. Do a little research, don't draft managers, and avoid having your pals make fun of you for the next 20 years.
Brad Boeker is an avid MLB and St. Louis Cardinals fan. He has managed a fantasy baseball team for more than fifteen years.
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