Friday, April 25, 2008


By: Drew Volturo

Oh, I’m sorry, did I disturb you? You looked so peaceful, but I had to let you know:

Your fantasy baseball team is in last place.

In the professional world, falling asleep on the job can get you fired. In the roto world, falling asleep at (or better yet, away from) the computer can land your team in the cellar. This is a challenge for anyone who has a packed work, personal and social schedule – I wish I could say it was all three that were chock-full, but I don’t want to start lying to you. Moving homes while working is stressful enough, and by the time you get settled down for the night, sometimes the last thing you want to do is check the Web and do a midnight session of add/drop.

But neglecting your teams can lead to disaster. I plummeted from #2 to #7 in my 10-team NL-only league in a week, with two players (Tom Glavine and Peter Moylan) landing on the DL and another (Jayson Nix) hitting so far under the Mendoza line that he might need a ladder to see it again. Rather than hitting the “panic” button, I calmly benched Nix and picked up Kip Wells and Hong-Chih Kuo (it’s a very deep NL-only league). Other than that, I did nothing.

Nothing. I didn’t bench Bill Hall for hitting .200. I didn’t dump Moylan because he’s possibly facing Tommy John surgery (I’ll wait the week and see what happens with the stretching and exercising routine). I haven’t shopped Jose Valverde because his ERA looks more like a meeting time for lunch (12.27) than a dominant closer’s earned run average. It’s not time to hit the panic button. Evan has a great piece up (When Do Stats Begin To Matter: March 19, 2008) about how fantasy baseball owners never fail every season to detect an early April trend and pounce, most disastrously dropping proven players who are off to a slow start in favor of the next hot thing – which then promptly cools off.

So while I fell asleep at the wheel this past week, that doesn’t mean I am waving the white flag. It’s far too early to start ceding anything to anyone. And even though I’m stuck in the second division (does anyone even get that pre-1969 reference? I was born 8 years after divisional play began and I still get it), that doesn’t mean that you can’t come roaring back with some well-placed posts on your discussion board to get your creative juices flowing and hopefully get something started.

Rule #32: Blatant thievery is so good, no cop would ever turn you in.

If you have an active league (and I sincerely hope you do), chances are that another team out there has a catchphrase or something they throw out there often in their posts. This is a perfect opportunity to pounce.

For example, a team owner in my league loves to close his e-mail with “FEAR THE TURTLE! AAAARRRRGGGGHHHH!” because his alma mater’s mascot is the University of Maryland terrapin. (Don’t look at me, my college mascot was a Fighting Blue Hen, but I don’t run around clucking at my opponents.) Anyway, I was closing out a post and started to repeat his closing, cutting it off mid-sentence: “FEAR THE TUR… oh wait, that sucks.” I then closed it off with a one-liner that should have insulted everyone’s manhood, but it did the trick. It’s early, and I’m a slow-starter when it comes to discussion board posting. Just wait until June.

Sound stupid? I’m setting my stopwatch for how long it’ll take before that team responds with something that I can use against him and jumpstart things on the boards. And nothing cures fantasy baseball insomnia like a discussion board that is alive and kicking with posts you can’t wait to read. If that happens, you can damn sure bet I won’t let a week go by without checking the league again.

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