Results tagged ‘ expert league ’
Its days like Wednesday that make fantasy exceedingly fun to
play. Don’t get me wrong, there are
plenty of times it’s excruciating. When
a top pick lands on the DL, when your entire team goes in the tank on a Sunday
costing you a head-to-head matchup, when one of your pitchers implodes faster
than Kenny Powers and gets a snowman hung on him — those days will cause you
to swear off fantasy forever. But then
your first-round pick explodes like Ian Kinsler did on Wednesday night and makes
it all worthwhile.
Good gosh. Check out
that line again, you might not see a more perfect one all season, as he
provided elite production across all five fantasy categories. Watching it all unfold caused a strange mix of
hope and skepticism. You figure with
each at-bat there is no way he could keep it up, but he was on such a roll you
couldn’t bet against him, like a hot player at a craps table or Al Bundy during
his four touchdown game.
To top it off, Kinsler accomplished my favorite goofy
baseball achievement — hitting for the cycle.
A no-hitter is more elegant to watch and a triple play is usually
luckier, but nothing is more randomly beautiful. It’s usually just a product of happenstance
and doesn’t really showcase skills, but it always leads to really fun scenarios
where you might see a a guy banging one off the wall in a blowout and walking
to first base since he only needs a single or a Prince Fielder-type trying to
stretch a double and calling for oxygen whether he makes it or not or. I don’t know why, but whenever a player hits
a triple, my first thought always relates to the possibility for a cycle. It’s Pavlovian.
As a final testament to how good Kinsler was last night,
consider he’s the first player to get six hits and hit for the cycle in a nine
inning game since Sam Thompson. If you
don’t know who Thompson is, he was an outfielder for the Phillies. In 1894.
The records from that era are fuzzy, but I’m pretty sure the losing
pitcher in that game was Tim Wakefield.
Also, check out his sweet picture.
I think his stache hit .300 that year.
When the dust settled, the Rangers had eviscerated the
Orioles and Kinsler had pretty much singlehandedly vaulted me ahead in all five
hitting categories, allowing me to turn a 3-7 deficit into a 7-3 lead going
into the weekend. Probably won’t end
that way, but even if it doesn’t hold up, I’ll have the memory of Kinsler’s epic
night to console me and give me hope for next week. And because of the possibility of more games
like that one, I’ll be watching my guys play every chance I get.
I got lucky this week.
Extremely lucky. Like Frodo in
Mount Doom at the end of “Return of the King” lucky. (Spoiler alert. If Gollum doesn’t bail out Frodo by wrestling
the ring away from him, Frodo ends up either a wraith or murdered by Rudy. Instead, he gets to have a giant pillow fight
before getting on a sweet sailboat to heaven.
He got lucky. And yes, I did just
manage to find something nerdier to talk about than fantasy baseball.).
In the Fantasy Baseball Search Expert League, I entered the weekend
losing 3-6-1 and well on my way to my rightful place in the league’s
cellar. Resigned to my fate, I spent
most of Sunday alternating between watching The Masters and stealing Easter candy
and quarters from my nephew (he doesn’t need the money, he’d just spend it on
more candy for me to thieve).
But when I got home, I logged in to discover crazy things
had happened. My previously punchless
offense had all of a sudden exploded for five bombs, nine RBIs, and 11 runs. Even more remarkable, my previously terrible
pitching had turned around 180 degrees.
Led by Aaron Harang’s gem, five starters combined for a 2.45 ERA and 0.91
WHIP on Sunday. When combined with my
opponent’s own implosion, this was somehow enough to make me competitive in
both ratio categories for the week, despite having owned a 7.00-plus ERA and a 2.00-plus WHIP as
late as Friday.
So instead of being down 3-6-1, I had vaulted to a 7-3 lead
that I was holding on to by the skin of my teeth (where the heck does this
phrase come from? Did we use to have skin
on our teeth? Do we still have it
now? The human mouth already freaks me
out enough — if you tell me there is skin in there, I might have to write it off
Entering Sunday night’s game, my team was finished and had a
scant two point lead in both homers and RBIs, but my opponent had Braun and Hart
still to go. After Hart went yard in the fourth, my lead was down to a single point in both categories and I was
in danger of falling back to earth. All
of a sudden, every Braun and Hart at-bat was more intense than Dan Uggla’s
Entering the ninth inning, I thought I was
safe. Marmol had struck out Hart in the eigth on a nasty slider and Braun wasn’t due up unless two Brewers
reached base. Gregg got two quick outs
and I began to celebrate. Then Weeks
homered. Uh-oh. Then Counsell doubled to bring up Braun and
trigger my sense of impending doom.
Optimists always think something good is about to happen,
while pessimists feel the opposite. When
it comes to fantasy, I’m neither, as I KNOW something bad is going to happen
and just wait to see how it will unfold. This situation
was a classic setup for a crushing defeat, almost as if the fantasy gods had
sent a tailor over to my house to ensure that it suited me perfectly.
So imagine my shock when Braun took ball four. It’s amazing how something as seemingly
innocuous as a walk in Milwaukee can trigger a raucous celebration in DC, as I
immediately entered into a pig pile that involved me, two couch cushions and
one very confused dog.
So that was it, I won 7-3.
Or so I thought. Instead, when I
woke up this morning, I discovered a scoring correction actually shaved an
extra 0.20 off my ERA, giving me just enough to win the category for the
week. Unbelievable, 8-2 and in the
league lead. And completely and utterly
So there you go. When
expert leagues are discussed, it’s often assumed that because everyone is a
professional, skill and talent wins out.
Nope. I’m living proof that luck
has just as much to do with it in this league as in every home league across
the country. But I don’t feel bad, as
it’s important to enjoy good fortune when it smiles upon you. It makes it much easier to take when you are
on the other side of it. So for now, I’m
going to sit back, smile, and enjoy being in first place in my first expert league
for the first (and probably last) time.
Yesterday, I was asked a question about what advice I
have for newbies. One of my tips was
“never chase wins” and today, I bring you direct evidence of why doing so is a
really bad idea. Like greenlighting “The
Adventures of Pluto Nash” bad. (If Eddie
Murphy is funny on earth, he must be twice as funny on the moon! Comedy is affected by gravity, right? Let’s spend $100 million to find out!)
In the Fantasy Baseball Search Expert League, which features
a 5X5 H2H format with daily roster moves, I began the week with a plan. Since Peavy, Myers, and Harang would all take
the ball twice over the season’s first seven days, I would combine those six
starts with one apiece from Joba and Burnett to give me eight quality options
for the week. Since all five guys
feature excellent strikeout potential, employing this strategy should give me a
chance to sweep all four starting pitching categories. But of course, limiting your starts increases
your vulnerability if one guys blows up, as you won’t
accumulate enough innings to counteract a poor effort.
If you’ve been following baseball or this blog or are just a
really sharp reader, I’m sure you can see where this is going. Myers takes the hill to open the season on
Sunday and is greeted with an old-fashioned shellacking. Just like that, I’m faced with a choice — stick with the plan (the sensible, non-reactionary thing to do) or panic!!!!!
Of course, I do the latter and freak out faster than Christian Bale (Myers and I may be done professionally). This leads to me basically conceding the WHIP
and ERA category an hour into the matchup and deciding I’m going to run every one of my pitchers out there in an
effort to win Ks and wins for the week.
Whoops. Here are the outings that
Aaron Cook – 2.1 IP, 6 ER, 7 H, 2 Ks, 1 BB, 23.14 ERA, 3.48
Scott Olsen – 3.0 IP, 8 ER, 8 H, 2 Ks, 3 BB, 24.00 ERA, 3.67
Ian Snell – 4.0 IP, 6 ER, 9 H, 2 Ks, 3 BB, 13.50 ERA, 3.00
Trevor Cahill – 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 5 H, 1 K, 5 BB, 3.60 ERA, 2.00
So what did I get for my effort? Seven strikeouts and zero
wins. I would rather have watched “A
Chorus Line” than seen these pitching lines.
Heck, I would have rather been in
a local production of “A Chorus Line” if that’s what it took.
So this brings me back to the original point — don’t chase
wins. The strategy rarely works and
opponent has seen his starting pitching staff implode as well, so if I’d just
kept my cool I’d be on the other side of this beatdown. Instead, I’m losing 3-6-1 and will probably
end up in a hole of my own digging.
Learn from me (or laugh at me, I deserve it).
Finally. Just like
when “Frank TV” was canceled (he was so overexposed last year, I actually
started to dislike the people he impersonated by proxy), our long national
nightmare is over and after an off-season that could’ve only been celebrated by
high-priced Manhattan realtors, baseball is back.
We’ve enjoyed all the winter fantasy baseball chatter, but
we couldn’t be happier that spring is here.
Theoretical discussions centered upon hypothetical results can only go
on so long before you want to see things proved (and disproved) on the field.
With Hamels on the shelf, I was thrilled to discover
my old friend Brett Myers would be throwing the first meaningful pitch of the
2009. I would say he single-handedly
murdered my team last year, but that would be unfair to Aaron Harang, who
caused me to utter enough swear words last year, my living room could have been
mistaken for the set of a Tarantino flick.
But did I learn my lesson? Of course not. I doggedly pursued both Myers and Harang to
join my staff in the Fantasy Baseball Search Expert League and either they come
through this year or they will become an even bigger fixture in my nightmares
than the new Chester Cheetah (seriously dude, that thing is creepy. How did that pitch go? “I like our cartoon pitchman for our chemically-processed
cheese sticks, but it would be better if he was 30% more sociopathic. Can we take the old one and add a dusting of Hannibal
With Myers taking the ball on Opening Night, I couldn’t help
but keep a running review of his performance.
If you saw the game, you can probably predict what follows below is not
for the faint of heart.