Fantasy baseball faux-pas to avoid


The changing of the seasons has certainly arrived, in spite of a late smattering of early April snow that hit the bosque.

The infield grass is growing and the warm air hints that summer cannot be too far away.

And with spring, comes America’s favorite game, baseball.

Although, I have to say, Major League Baseball screwed up opening day, but that will not deter the enthusiasm for the real pastime, fantasy baseball.

Fantasy baseball has been around for much longer than the football version and is much more compelling.

With 162 games instead of 16, it is a marathon, and not a sprint. Fans gather around the television every night to root not only for their favorite team, but for a variety of over-paid superstars that are increasingly hitting toward the .250 mark every year.

Most fantasy baseball leagues play a 22-week schedule and either go head-to-head with one of the other teams in the league, scoring on certain categories like RBI, runs, batting average, home runs, ERA, pitching wins and saves.

The other style of play is called rotisserie and stats in each category are arranged from first place team to last and are cumulative throughout the year.

And yet, every baseball season, fans wait to be the first in line to pick Albert Pujols or Miguel Cabrera as their fantasy stud.

In the advent of modern day fantasy baseball, team owners have to consider not only batting averages, steals and home runs, but whether or not the player they want is facing a 50-game suspension for steroid use.

Insert Ryan Braun here.

Of course, the real fun of fantasy baseball comes in the time-honored tradition of the baseball draft. It is a time where 10 to 12 “friends” get together and question each other’s mental state, capacity for stat analysis and parental heritage.

The major thing that all fantasy baseball owners must get right is to pick a good team name.

I have been playing for 12 years in league with a group of associates from Oklahoma. The league commish has given the perfect example of how not to pick a team name.

“Pickin’ Daisies” draws much ire and comment from the testosterone-filled room every year at the draft. “Simply Dominant” and “Hellraisers” usually lead the way in this.

And no one in our group is under a 50-game suspension. All the testosterone is natural, thank you very much.

In the past, I have gone under the name of “Turning Japanese” but I didn’t want to go after Ty Darvish and Ichiro was getting too old.

So “Out Stealing” came to mind for this year’s squad with an avatar of the Beagle Boys from the Donald Duck comic books.

We added steals as a category this year.

A group of mailmen is “Pony Express”; the “Wood Hippies” are just strange, and “Red Dogs” and “Wallbangers” try to be intimidating.

They aren’t, but they try.

And you know that you are in a league with a bunch of Oklahoma rednecks when you have to face “Stoops’ Troops” twice a year.

Opening day for the Major Leagues was hard for us fantasy guys. We got all geared up with the Mariners and Athletics starting a two-game series in Japan. Ah, baseball at last.

But then we had to go six days with nothing. Then opening night for the hitless Marlins. I am not bitter; I just drafted Hanley Ramirez.

I’m a little bitter, but my team went 0-for-24 in the first two real days of baseball. It is hard to be “Out Stealin’” when you can’t even get on base.

OK, I am a lot bitter.

But I am very glad that the rite of passage that is spring into summer has come and my fantasy is fulfilled. Let there be baseball, and please let someone hit better than .250.

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