For as long as I can remember I’ve been fascinated with baseball statistics. As a teenager in the 1980s I spent hours poring over the stats published every week in the Sunday paper. One year, my brother and I got Strat-O-Matic Baseball for Christmas. We each picked a couple teams to manage (and we shared the Royals, of course) and played a season. We made trades with the other teams--somehow the other GMs never caught on to our tricks. For a pair of central Kansas farm boys, this was about as close to real Major League Baseball as we thought we'd ever get.
Somewhere along the line I heard about this new thing called Rotisserie League Baseball. Although it sounded interesting, I couldn't participate at the time. But one of these days, I told myself, I’ll join a league.
The years came and went, and I always seemed to be busy with other things. In the back of my mind I still planned to join a fantasy league one day. Maybe next year. Maybe when my workload settles down. Maybe when the baby gets a little older. Maybe later.
Now I’m 45 years old with four kids--including a new baby--and a growing realization that things will never settle down. And my doctor says if I don’t get my blood pressure under control I’ll have a heart attack. This is probably not the time to add a time-consuming new hobby.
But when I saw Gopherballs’ Fantasy Baseball Clearinghouse Post 2014 last week, I decided to put my name in. The fanpost was a week old; I was probably too late to get into a league, but it would be a nice symbolic first step. Maybe next year I’d actually participate.
So I had mixed emotions when I saw the email on Monday asking me if I was still interested. To my surprise and horror, I saw my fingers reply that I was. This was the tipping point. There would be no more maybe next year. Within an hour I had the official invite to the Royals Review American League Only Ross Gload Memorial League. The teenaged me would not have imagined I would ever move in such lofty circles.
Meanwhile, I had work to do. The draft loomed on Thursday. I had three days to learn the rules of rotisserie baseball and put together a team.
There was a time when I would have poured myself into the minutiae of the game, stayed up halfway through the night comparing hitters’ OBP and home runs, pitchers’ ERA and strikeouts, until I had a good idea of who I wanted in each round, and who I expected to be available.
But considering the doctor’s warning, I decided not to lose any sleep over the fact that I’m not prepared for any of this. If I spent all night making my list, I’d probably base it on a bunch of wrongheaded assumptions and end up with a team full of the wrong players. And that’s something I could accomplish with a fraction of the effort.
The first order of business was to name my team. As a reminder to myself that I’m not going to stress about the team’s performance, I’ve chosen to name it Lost Cause.
I'm keeping this journal to document my rookie season of fantasy league baseball. I don't expect to contend for the league championship, but I do plan to enjoy the ride.