Expert League Update: When Things Go Wrong in H2H Leagues

Another week, another win for my merry band of miscreants in
the Fantasy Baseball Search Expert League. 
This time, I caught starting pitching guru Evan Dickens on an off week
and swept all five pitching categories on my way to a 7-3 victory.  The win puts me back in first place in my
division as we reach the quarter point of the season, thus setting me up for a
devastating collapse later on.  Pride
cometh before the fall indeed.


But my stellar performance in the league isn’t what I want
to talk about today (and it’s almost certainly not what you want to read).  Instead, let’s discuss the most annoying
things that can occur during a head-to-head matchup.


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The H2H format magnifies every little event during the
course of the baseball season.  A play
that’s barely noteworthy or ignored completely under a roto format can cause a
fantasy manager to have a Kiefer Sutherland level meltdown in a H2H league (the
recent head-butt story is just further proof that there is a Vonnegutesque
blending of fact and fiction going on here. 
Jack Bauer is coming to life. 
Christmas trees and terrorists, beware). 


It’s because the impact of a misstep is felt immediately and
can’t be made up for over the course of the full schedule.  It’s also because players who prefer the H2H
format tend to be action junkies and far less rational than their roto-playing
counterparts (I have absolutely no proof of this, but like any good lawyer,
I’ll stick to it til I die).


So here is one H2H player’s countdown of the five most annoying
things that can happen during the course of a week.  I find that the more unlikely the event, the
angrier I get, so the list is ordered accordingly.  I’m sure I’m missing something, so a more
expansive version may be coming in the future, but here is what I’ve got for now.

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5.  Sunday rainout


All rainouts are annoying, but it feels even worse on Sunday
when most matchups are settled.  Sure,
you don’t actually lose a game of production since it will be made up later,
but asking a H2H fantasy player to keep perspective is like asking CC Sabathia
to save you the last cupcake.  It just
ain’t gonna happen.


4.  Monday injuries in a weekly transaction


This is the best reason to avoid playing in a H2H league
where you can only set your lineup at the beginning of the week.  Sure, it may save you some hassle, but since
there are seven counting stat categories in a standard league, it’s absolutely
maddening to not be able to replace a player who gets hurt on the first day,
forcing you to take a blank for the following six.  It’s far too arbitrary, as the day on which a
player gets hurt is largely random.  It’s
as if there was a drawing of a number one through nine after each game and runs
scored in that inning retroactively counted double.  Penalizing Monday injuries so severely is at
least 80% as stupid.


3.  Closers on your opponent’s team blowing the
save only to get the win


This drives me absolutely crazy.  It’s such a tease and it sucks all the joy
out of the delightful moment when you see a guy like Bobby Jenks give up a dramatic
game-tying homer in the ninth.  Watching
other people fail is one of life’s great pleasures, I hate that they take that
away by later rewarding him with a win. 
What about me, ya know? 


And it never fails, the closer will get the production in
whatever category is closer in your current match-up.  If he needs the save to beat you, it’s lights
out.  But if your opponent needs a W to
break the tie, this is the worst possible way to watch him get it.  Let’s move on before I start having
flashbacks to times this happened to me and end up going off the grid for three


2.  Long rain delays that force your starting
pitcher to leave the game


Far worse than a washout where your guy can just take the
ball the next night, this usually happens when the skies open up sometime
around the third inning.  It’s really
just long enough for your pitcher to get lit up without him providing any sort
of help in any category and makes him ineligible for the win since he didn’t go
five innings.  Perfect.



Normally this event may rate lower on the list, but I’m
still steaming from Saturdays Pirates-Rockies game, where I actually had BOTH
starting pitchers and they BOTH got rocked before a 90 minute delay forced them
to end their days after a combined 3.2 innings. 
I watched the scene develop like I was The Dude in the bathtub scene in
“The Big Lebowski.”  At first I was
startled when they gave up a few runs (nihilist breaking down the door), then I
reached cool acceptance (nice marmot!), then next thing I know there is a
ferret thrashing around and people are screaming about cutting off my johnson
(the rain delay).  Not good times.


1.  Manager screwing up a lineup card so that
your best player is disqualified from the Sunday game before it even begins.


Luckily this would never happen.  Right? 


Good gosh, I can’t even begin to put myself in the shoes of
Longoria’s owners yesterday.  If number two
above is the bathtub scene from Lebowski, this would have to be the brawl
against the nihilists in the bowling alley parking lot.  A car would have been on fire, an ear would
have been bitten off, and a heart attack would definitely have been
involved.  I hope no one lost their
match-up because of this, but if you did, you certainly have my
sympathies.  I can’t imagine a worse way
to lose.

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