Results tagged ‘ expert league ’

Marry, Bury, Date: Week 9

Welcome
back to another week of Marry, Bury, Date — the childhood game I’ve hijacked
to provide the framework for my initial foray into providing expert fantasy
baseball advice.

 

The
premise of the game is simple.  Three names
are thrown out and the participants must pick which one they would Marry (ie
commit to long-term), Bury (get rid of forever), or Date (could be fun in the
short-term).  When considering trade offers or waiver wire
pick-ups, fantasy players are faced with these same three decisions all the
time, so in an effort to help aid these choices, I’ll name one player who I
like for the rest of the season, one player who I think could help in the
short-term, and one guy I wouldn’t touch in this space each week.

 

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After
I’m done, if you want to whisper to the player that I “like ’em, like
’em” that’s up to you.  If you do, I
look forward to the awkwardness that ensues all the way through the Junior High
Prom.  Maybe I’ll get my courage up and ask them to
dance during Eric Clapton’s “Wonderful Tonight.”

 

This
week’s picks are below.

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Expert League Update: Heads A Rollin’

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This past week my team drew the hot hand, losing to Jon
Williams and his endless cavalcade of two-start pitchers 7-3.  Overall, my squad didn’t perform that poorly,
they just got outplayed in one given week and when that happens, you shake
hands and move on (unless you are Lebron James, then you storm out to show your
“competitiveness.”  I hope they make a commercial
immediately where puppet Lebron refuses to shake hands after Kobe beats
him.  Though to be fair, I probably
wouldn’t shake hands with Kobe unless I just saw him wash them.  Never know where they’ve been.  Even the puppet version.)  Besides, it’s hard to get that upset when you
are in first place and your lead in the standings actually grew despite suffering
through your own beatdown.

 

What’s of greater interest is the number of fairly big names
that have ended up on the waiver wire recently in this league of experts.  As we explore each week in Marry, Bury, Date,
there comes a time when it’s necessary to completely give up on a guy.  For several ballplayers who received plenty
of preseason hype, that time has apparently come.  Even in a league where 350 players are
rostered, an expert thought they were no longer worth owning. 

 

Here is a list of guys who have been dropped so far in this
expert league and a couple of brief thoughts on each.

 

Kevin Gregg
(dropped 5/22) – After one owner decided to completely punt saves, he sent
Gregg packing.  I thought this was the
most shocking drop on the list, given the huge premium closers went for in the
initial draft.  I know he’s had a few
blow-ups, but he still is the number one 9th inning option for a
contending team.  I actually burned the
number one waiver priority to pick him up. 
I think he’ll be worth it in a league this deep.

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Expert League Update: Ya Heard?

This past weekend, I traveled to Arkansas for a
wedding.  It was a great one.  You know how you go to a ballgame or stay out
too late one night and when you wake up the next day you’ve lost your
voice?  It almost always means you had a
good time the day before.  Well I took
that to the next level.  When I woke up on
Monday, I had lost my hearing.  Couldn’t
hear out of my left ear.  Spent most of
the recap lunch staring at my plate wishing the food would disappear without me
actually having to eat it and pretending to follow the conversation around
me.  Guess that means I had an awesome
time on Sunday.

 

Because of the weekend events, I didn’t follow my expert
league match-up at all.  Even forgot to
set my lineup for the weekend before I left on Friday.  You know what?  Didn’t matter.  The results didn’t change a bit.  I won 5-4-1, the exact same result that would
have occurred had I scoured the wire for last second free agent fill-ins and stared at
the scoreboard all weekend.

 

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Like many fantasy players, I can get caught up in the
obsession and pay too much attention to every at-bat, pitch, and play.  It’s too bad “time spent hoping” isn’t a
fantasy category, as I would clean up. 
While I usually enjoy following my players extremely closely, it’s still
nice to see that you can step away for a few days without consequence.  Fantasy baseball isn’t like the Hatch in “Lost.”  You don’t have to push the button every 108
minutes to prevent the end of the world, even though it often feels that way.

 

Someday I might forget to put a pitcher in and it will cost
me a few categories.  But today I take
comfort in knowing that even in an intense expert league, it’s possible to step
back for a few days without changing a thing. 
Gives me time to focus on other matters. 
Like getting my hearing back.

 

I’ll be back tomorrow with an interview featuring Mock Draft
Central’s Geoff Stein.  Until then.

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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Expert League Update: Unbelievable Beatdown

When I interviewed The Fantasy Man last week, he described
our match-up as “on like Donkey Kong.” 
His prediction turned out to be entirely true.  Unfortunately for me, he was the 800 pound
gorilla and I was nothing but the barrels.

 

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After a month long stretch of dominance, I received my first
true whooping in an expert league.  The
Fantasy Man beat me 7-2-1, vaulting over my team into first place in the
process.  I’ve got no excuses.  My team put up decent numbers, but in a
league this competitive “decent” doesn’t get it done.  It’s like seeing a prospect that has a
“decent” fastball tear through the minors, but when he receives his call up to
the show, his first heater inevitably disappears into the night faster than
Rorschach.  Big league hitters make their
living off of “decent.”

 

It’s a healthy reality check as I was starting to get a
little pompous.  My initial success led
me to believe that the rest of the season would be easy and that my powerful sharkelephant
offense
would just continue to trample and eat everything in its path.  I’m sure it’s how EMF felt in 1990 when “Unbelievable”
hit number one on the charts and they felt they’d dominate the music scene
for the next decade.  That didn’t, as
they say, “work out” for them. 
Hopefully, I won’t due something as dumb as featuring Mark David Chapman
(the guy who shot Lennon) on an album released by a British band and I’ll right
the ship this week.

 

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(By the way, this actually happened.  Even Homer’s barbershop quartet declaring
they were bigger than Jesus wasn’t as big a musical misstep.  It would be like Soulja Boy following up “Crank
Dat” with a new track featuring James Earl Ray and then wondering why his
career disappeared.  I have to assume the thought of including Chapman on the record is what inspired them to write “Unbelievable”.  And yes, this is the most ink ever spilled on EMF by a fantasy baseball writer.  And yes, that is a challenge).

Expert League Update: Ask And Ye Shall Receive

A few days ago, I foolishly wrote that I was looking forward
to when my team cooled down so I could stop worrying about when it would
happen.  The fantasy gods, who always
ignore my pleas to stop injuring my players or to keep my closers from
appearing in “non-save” situations where their success rate is lower than your
average comic book villain’s, were suddenly all too eager to grant my request.

 

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For weeks now, my lineup has been fully raking, putting up
massive numbers.  They’ve been like a
shark riding an elephant, trouncing and eating everything they saw.  Then I had to open my big mouth and all of a
sudden I’m getting swept in all hitting categories at the halfway point of this
week’s match up. 

 

If I was to rank who was to blame, I’d go with:

 

1.  me

2. – 73.  Adrian
Beltre

74.  The Seattle
batboy for continuing to hand Beltre a whiffle ball bat each time he’s heading
to the plate

75.  The Seattle
police department for not realizing Beltre disappeared weeks ago under
mysterious circumstances

76.  All Major League pitchers from 2004 who allowed Beltre to think he could hit every pitch out of
the park thus causing him to swing so hard, you’d think he was auditioning for
a Bugs Bunny cartoon

77.  me again, for
drafting Adrian Beltre

 

At least I get my wish now and can watch the games this
weekend without worrying about the imminent arrival of my team’s inevitable
decline.  They’ve come back to earth and
now I get to root for them to pull it together and make a last second comeback,
which is actually more fun than being on the other side.  I’m looking forward to it.

Expert League Update: First Place

After the final pitch was thrown last night and I had secured
a 7-2-1 victory for the week, I noticed something peculiar — I have the best
record in the league. 

 

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It’s officially the latest in a season I’ve held first place
in a fantasy baseball league, beating the old record by infinity.  At no point last season was my name at the
top of the standings and I didn’t expect to break that streak in my first
expert league this season.  Given the
quality of my opponents, I figured to spend most of my season in front of my TV
in the Willem Dafoe in “Platoon” position: 
On my knees, arms lifted to the sky, sucking wind and left for dead, wondering
how everything went so wrong.

 

Instead, I’m stumbling around with the same look Jerry had in
the Even Steven episode of “Seinfeld.”  No
matter what I do, things seem to work out for me in the end, so I’m just
sitting back and enjoying the ride.  The
question is how long will it last?

 

My guess is another month or so, but not much longer than
that.  There is no way my guys can keep
up with their preposterously hot starts. 
When I drafted Carlos Pena and Adrian Gonzalez, I was hoping to get 70
bombs between them.  At their current
pace, they are going to be in that neighborhood by the All-Star break.  Raul Ibanez is putting up huge numbers, turning
back the clock at the age of 36 (and it’s not even his clock, he looks more
like Ted Williams right now than himself). 
And Ian Kinsler has played well enough that my girlfriend is starting to
get (rightfully) jeolous over how much I swoon for him.

 

Eventually these guys have to cool down and my team will
level off accordingly.  I actually look
forward to it in a weird way, as I’ll be able to enjoy the game more when I’m
not constantly waiting for the other shoe to drop.  I mean, I don’t want to end up like Randy Quaid
in “Major League 2”, rooting against my own team and saying things like “so
what, they’ll blow it in the playoffs” when I should be celebrating, but that’s
kind of how I feel right now.  Or maybe I’m
just saying that so the Fantasy gods won’t smote me (not the worst idea).  But either way, all writers are more fun to
read when they have something to complain about, so if my team continues to
boom, look for me to start making up fake feuds and starting nonsense arguments
soon (WHIP: Friend or Foe?  Tune in next
to find out.)  Should be fun.

Expert League Update: Trade Season

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Tomorrow is May 1st, a date circled annually on
my calendar, for it marks the beginning of my own personal trade season (of
course every date is circled on my calendar. 
Today is my annual “make friends with a bear” day). 

 

You see, I absolutely love trading in fantasy, it’s my
favorite part of the game.  The draft is
the best single day of the year, but it’s over so fast it’s hard to savor.  Thinking about trades on the other hand can
be enjoyed all season long and the prospect of making a move creates an
everlasting spring of hope from which to drink. 
It’s the difference between tearing into a steak with your bare hands
and cutting it up delicately and enjoying each bite with just the right amount
of ketchup (you know, to really bring out the flavor).  Both ways put the meat in your belly, but
the latter is a much more enjoyable experience (and far less embarrassing for
your friends and significant others. 
Umm, not that I would know).

 

But in order to manage my trade-happy ways, I’ve got to put
in some artificial restraints.  The
primary restriction I impose is a no trades til May policy.  I hope doing so allows me to overcome any
over reactionary feelings I may have and allow me to see my players get a few
reps before actually evaluating them. 
It’s a good thing too, as it prevented me from doing a deal last year
that involved me giving up Ian Kinsler and getting back Howie Kendrick, which
would have been like trading Apple stock for shares of Chrysler.

 

I have to admit though, I have absolutely no idea what to
expect when trading in an expert league. 
I imagine it will be the same as most leagues, but without the one token
guy whose team gets picked clean by vultures before the “Lost” season finale
even airs.  Most trade talks will start
with an insulting offer, and then an equally insulting counter and after a
series of condescending emails are exchanged, the first semi-feasible trade
will finally come up.  Then nine times
out of ten, when one party realizes they can’t just completely and utterly rip
off the other guy, they’ll get cold feet and back off.  But somehow, someway, this process equals
good times.

 

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The expert league has had one trade take place already.  In a somewhat questionable exchange, one team
sent Matt Holiday and Cliff Lee (their 2nd and 5th round
picks) packing only two weeks into the season and received back Bobby Jenks and
Travis Snider.  Maybe it works out for
them, but I must admit it made me thankful for my May 1st rule, as
it appears to be a bit of selling low, buying high. 

 

But it did demonstrate the high level of deference granted
in an expert league, as there was only one public complaint.  I guess everyone in these leagues just
assumes that the person must have their reasoning to make such a move and it’s
not their place to second-guess.  It’s
interesting to observe and quite different than what goes down in leagues among
friends.  If a trade like this had
happened in many home leagues, the first “I’m quitting the league” email would
appear like it was generated by MAILER-DAEMON.

 

I’m glad that such deference is present, as I’m sure I’ll
make at least one dumb move before the year is over.  But I’m glad my restrictor plate is off and
I’m ready to start thinking about moves. 
I’ve hit 20 more homers than anyone else in the league and it’s probably
time to turn some of that excess power into a pitcher that will help me lower
my WHIP, which is currently so abysmal that if it was a GPA, my team would
nearly be scholarship-eligible.  But even if
I don’t make a move right away, I’ll still have fun shopping.  In fact, I think I’ll go do some right now.

Expert League Update: Fearing The Unknown

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Like everyone else, I spent most of my time this weekend
outside enjoying the freakishly nice weather. 
My dog and I went on a romantic couple’s getaway to the Delaware shore
where she spent most of her time ruining the structural integrity of whatever
spot of sand I was currently calling home. 
She’d dig and dig until my chair caved in, then she’d dance around
happily in a circle, like a boxer who had just won a big fight or Homer after
he won a free Krusty Burger.

 

The place we were staying didn’t have internet, so in the
time I spent not wondering if my dog was evil, I was routinely checking my
IPhone for NFL Draft and fantasy baseball updates.  After the Raiders’ weekend, is there any
doubt in your mind whatsoever that you could totally dominate Al Davis in a
fantasy league?  After he took a guy who
WASN’T EVEN INVITED TO THE COMBINE in
the second round on Saturday, all bets are off. 
If Al was in your league, he’d be the guy who opens with Jeter in
the first (doesn’t care if he would available 70 picks later, wants to make
sure he gets him), Nyjer Morgan in the second (likes the speed), Giambi in the
third (never could resist a known cheater), and Chief Bender in the fourth
(Al’s favorite player from childhood, thinks he could still make a comeback).

 

For whatever reason, I could get updates on how my players
were doing, but I couldn’t get a scoreboard to load to see where my matchup
stood in the expert league.  I don’t know
if this has ever happened to you, but it’s absolutely maddening.  Without context, following your players
performances is even more frustrating. 
It’s basically all the stress without any of the reward.  When your guy hits a homer or gets a win, a
usually joyous moment is ruined because you don’t know if it made any
difference at all in the standings.  It’s
like being in a race where you aren’t told how long it will last or where the
finish line is.  You are stuck sprinting
like a sucker and what’s more miserable than just running?  Nothing, that’s what.

 

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In fact, I’d argue that only seeing your players’ stats is
even worse than just complete radio silence. 
If you didn’t know anything at all, when you finally found out the
results, it would be a quick and relatively painless experience, like checking
your grades online in college.  But when
you know your players performances, you know when one of your pitchers gets
blown up and probably costs you a few categories.  You know, like if you owned Trevor Cahill and
knew he allowed an astounding 10 people on base and gave up seven earned runs
in just 2.2 innings of work on Friday, a performance so poor that even Joe
Borowski couldn’t watch.  Then it’s as if
your professor called just to let you know you’d left one of the ten questions
blank on your final and there was nothing you could do about it.  Wouldn’t you rather not know then spend the
next three weeks thinking you failed and constantly hitting refresh waiting to
find out?

 

So driving back last night, listening to yet another
terrible Nickelback song my co-pilot had picked (I’ve discovered dogs love
them, which is the only thing that can explain their popularity), I assumed I
had been blown out and that my time at the top of the expert league was
kaput.  Upon getting home, I finally had
my answer after three days of worrying. 
Despite having a WHIP that may have lost me the ERA category some weeks,
I managed to only lose 4-5-1 and thanks to a blowout elsewhere, I’d taken sole
possession of first place in my division. 
Turns out my opponent had once again turned in a subpar performance,
allowing me to steal a few categories in the midst of our pathetic struggle (by
the way, is there a decent antonym for “epic”? 
There should be). 

 

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I didn’t expect for this phenomenon to happen in an expert
league, but right now I’ve ridden this streak of underachieving opponents to
the top, despite having a pitching staff that’s lost it faster than Bill Cosby
(if you haven’t seen this yet, please watch this clip from the Draft
coverage.  I beg you.  Remember it when you see the inevitable
“America’s Dad Bill Cosby Asylumed” headline on CNN in about nine months).  I can’t say I’ve earned it, but after a
weekend of worrying, it’s thrilling to see I’m somehow bringing up the rear in
our leagues race to the bottom.

Expert League Update: Nats Bullpen Causes Loss, Pain

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Is there anything more frustrating in baseball than a
consistently wretched bullpen?  My first
year of law school, the guy who lived in the apartment beneath mine was a huge
Braves fan and never missed a game.  Once
he found out I was a fan of both baseball and watching people suffer, he invited
me to join the Dan Kolb Experience. 

 

Every time the Braves had a lead in the late stages of the
game, this guy (let’s call him Mad Cat) called or e-mailed me to let me know
Kolb was about to come in.  I’d then come
down to his apartment, where it was curtains up.  I’d watch in delighted horror as Kolb and Mad
Cat both experienced complete and utter meltdowns each and every night.  It was amazing.  No lead was safe, no situation was
unscrewupable (is too a word).

 

As Kolb blew game after game, Mad Cat would shift between
coping mechanisms.  Some nights he’d yell
and scream.  Other nights he’d quietly
stew and rub his temples.  My favorite
nights occurred when he would just mutter super bitter sarcastic comments after
every pitch.  My least favorite nights
were when he’d glance back and forth from the TV to the sword that hung on the
wall, lost in his own J.D. from “Scrubs” fantasy world.  Every night, one thing was clear though —
Dan Kolb was ruining his life.  And I was
delighted to watch it happen.

 

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Nearly five years later, my chickens are coming home to
roost.  The Nationals just finished an
epic series with the Marlins, blowing all three games in the ninth inning at
home.  I don’t know the last time a home team
lost the lead in the ninth in every game of a series, but I’m guessing Kolb was
involved (if not, he’s got to be extremely jealous right now).  I do know that the Nationals desperately
needed a win and losing in such spectacular fashion three straight nights puts
them in danger of squandering the goodwill they gained with their fan base
after the Adam Dunn signing.  They apparently
know this, as after the game, The Nats cleaned house like they were the
Ultimate Warrior rushing into the ring on “Saturday Night’s Main Event.”  The last boo hadn’t even finished echoing
through the stadium before Saul Rivera (last night’s losing pitcher who managed
to turn a 4-3 lead into a 7-4 deficit in the blink of a fan’s tearful eye) and two
other relievers were either sent down or designated for assignment.

 

So why am I writing about this in a fantasy baseball
blog?  Well one because writing is my
coping mechanism and while the Nats have put their fans through a lot since
returning to the nation’s capital, this series marked a new low and served as a perfect microcosm
for the team.  They constantly get their
fans hopes up, whether it be through an early lead or a roster full of young
talent, but so far they seemingly always find a way to crush their fans faith and
if I don’t vent for a few paragraphs here, I’ll find it hard to tune into the
game tonight.  I can’t let that happen,
the season is too young.  To quote Robert
The Bruce “I DON’T WANT TO LOSE HEART!  I
want to believe.”

 

But way more relevantly, I had injury added to insult as I
entered the weekend leading my Expert League matchup by two in the saves
category.  While many fantasy owners were
hurt by owning Joel Hanrahan, I faced the opposite problem, as I was playing
against Matt Lindstrom.  If the Nats
could have closed out any of those games, Lindstrom would have been left in the
bullpen and my lead would have been safe. 
But instead, by the time the dust had settled on Sunday, I had watched
on in horror as my opponent rode Lindstrom to tie me for the week.  While I still managed to win the matchup
5-4-1, after the roller coaster ride the Nats had put me through, I felt like I
had been sucker punched and I knew that somewhere, Mad Cat was laughing.