Sunday, April 02, 2006

Fantasy Baseball

There are only two Sundays a year I don't mind missing church: one is during my anniversary getaway weekend with the missus. The other is for my annual fantasy baseball draft. I know, I know, that undoubtedly marks me as all kind of heathen, but baseball is an unapologetic passion for me and it is often as spiritually rewarding as a church service.

I confess I love to gather in a small room once a year with at least eleven other grown adults who love to pretend we're smarter than anyone else in the place. It's a strange game, fantasy baseball, invented by several New York sportswriters and raconteurs in the mid-80's. The basic premise is this (and I'm really, really simplifying things for you): through any of several means, you "draft" real major league baseball players for your team, which closely mimics the actual roster of the major leagues. Only you're not bound by team loyalties. You can choose any player from any team.

Then you watch the games. The statistics compiled by the real life players are the statistics your team compiles. Whichever team comes up with the best aggregate of statistics at the end of the regular baseball season wins the league. The winner usually gets a small gratuity, a trophy of some sort, and - most importantly - bragging rights throughout the next long six months of winter.

This is not considered gambling - and has been ruled on by the courts - due to the fact that nothing rests on the outcome of a single event or game. In fact, Major League Baseball (at sponsors several versions of fantasy baseball each season.

I founded a league at my Post Office in 1989. I was the Commissioner and Statistician for many years. I still play in that league.

I have never won it.

I've won other leagues and "finished in the money" on many other occasions, but I've never taken home the trophy in the league I started. I can't figure out if this is poetic justice or just a cruel twist of fate. It certainly keeps me humble ... usually because the other owners in my league never, ever, EVER let me forget it.

(Insert pause while I mumble and grumble incoherently to myself about that for a bit.)

Anyway, I currently limit myself to playing in two leagues and had my first draft today. As usual, I thought I did an outstanding job, though I did miss my partner (I have a co-owner in that league to bear some of the burden; he had prior commitments). I won't bore you with any more details ... but watch this space in about six months to see how everything comes out.

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