List Item Achieved! #43: Play ball!

I am not good at fantasy sports.

This makes absolutely no sense to me. I have been a religious follower of statistics since I was, like, 5. My father would bring the newspaper home from NYC and I’d pour through the sports section to see who did what in the previous night’s baseball games. I would take my baseball cards and put them in order by different categories — highest to lowest batting average, most to fewest home runs, most strikeouts, etc. I know sports.

So the fact that I finished dead last out of 16 teams in my Florida friend’s fantasy baseball league last year is somewhat of an embarrassment.

Now, to be fair: I tanked. Our league is different from the traditional league in that we have 22 keepers each year and the minor leagues play a big roll in the long term. If you don’t claim some of tomorrow’s starts today and keep them in your NA spots on your bench, you might be good for a bit but you’re eventually gonna suck. After about a third of the season last year, I realized I was no closer to first than I’d been the previous year, when I’d finished seventh. So I devised a new strategy in which I traded all my good players over, say, 32 or 33 for a ton of prospects.

And so I was left with a ton of Major League scrubs pitifully attempting to rack up stats while all my players who one day will lead me to a title (optimism is wonderful) did absolutely nothing that counted. My farm system is amazing. I have three of the top 20 prospects and, like, eight of the top 100.

But my actual team that was playing? I quickly fell from eighth to 16th and, thanks to a last-day-of-the-season benching of all my players, avoided my sad sack of losers’ attempt to pull me to 15th and rip the No. 1 pick in the draft from my arms.

Meanwhile, Boy The Elder won the damn league for the second year in a row.

When I joined the league, I was handed a team that finished 12th and had no one worth writing home about. When he joined a few years later, he was given a team with Freddy Freeman (NL MVP the previous season), Mike Trout (AL MVP the previous season and generally regarded as the best player in the game), Max Scherzer (NL Cy Young winner) and a troupe of other All-Stars. Even since then, I have given him crap for inheriting his championships, which, for a time, might have been partly true, but aside from busting his chops because I’m his dad, I really do have to give him credit. He’s done an amazing job picking up players, making trades and scouting the minors to create a great team that is mostly all his doing.

But.

He’s a cocky sonofabitch. 🙂

Plus, I need to prove something to myself. So at the end of last baseball season, I floated the idea of creating my own league. And yes, there would be a prize for first — a traveling trophy. But the brilliance of the league is that we’re going to severely punish the person who finishes last — which will not be me! Thus, The Waffle House Fantasy Baseball League was born.

And then the billionaires and the millionaires got into their squabble and shut down my game.

They finally got their shit together, and now the season is on. So on March 11, I took a break from work and actually created the league. The winner gets a trophy. But the person who finishes last has to spend 24 consecutive hours in a Waffle House. He or she can buy down the time, subtracting one hour for each full-sized waffle consumed and kept down.

When I invited Wifey Poo to the league and told her of the punishment for last, she was all-in. “You mean 24 hours by myself with no parental or homeschool mom responsibilities? Can I bring my pillow?”

She isn’t quite yet in the spirit of the league.

Right now there are nine of us committed and scheduled for an April 2 draft.

  1. Me.
  2. Wifey Poo
  3. Boy The Younger, who has never played fantasy sports ever.
  4. Boy The Elder, whose cockiness will be his downfall.
  5. Boy The Elder’s lovely girlfriend who, prior to falling head over heals for my boy, knew nothing of sports yet won our college football bowl challenge.
  6. Ohio friend Tony, who’s a great fantasy football player but not a huge baseball fan.
  7. D&D dungeon master and high school acquaintance/friend Chris, who hasn’t played fantasy baseball in years.
  8. Boy The Elder’s childhood best friend Matthew, also a huge football fan and fantasy player but not much of a baseball fan.
  9. High school friend Josh, who ran another fantasy baseball league I used to be a part of and knows what he’s doing.

I need a 10th person to make things all nice and even. But whatever happens there, The Waffle House Fantasy Baseball League is a “go,” and there’s no way I’m gonna finish last. Right?


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