By Brian Dorsey
Every year I play fantasy baseball, my deep obsession with stats and numbers becomes increasingly deeper. It’s easily something I’m addicted to and wouldn’t give up without a fight. If baseball were to disappear tomorrow, if it were to get up before the world was awake and slip out the backdoor into the night, I would need some serious medical attention. Like a junkie going through withdrawal, I’d lay in bed all day, sweating, muttering Ryan Braun’s name over and over to myself.
To those of you who have never played fantasy baseball and who are thinking of “taking up a new hobby,” this is your fair warning. This isn’t fantasy football. You can’t draft Adrian Peterson and sit back and watch the championship fall into your lap. There isn’t one player in baseball who will bring you fantasy gold. You can’t be a casual fan. You can’t set your lineup one day a week and go about your business. No. Fantasy baseball, like real baseball, is largely a nitty-gritty grind. It’s a full time job that doesn’t pay well. It will divide friends. You’ll lose your girlfriend in midseason. Family members will worry for your sanity as you stare at a stat-tracking program, watching numbers change.
Before you sign up, ask yourself this: Am I willing to give up the beach on a hot afternoon? If you can’t, fantasy baseball isn’t for you. On Sunday, when all you need are three hits to win your match up, are you capable of saying no to a poker game, a hike, a pool party in favor of sitting at home, pulling your hair out, while you watch Andre Ethier attempt to go 3-for-4? If your answer is no, or if you consider yourself a Red Sox fan after Boston won the World Series in 2004, then fantasy baseball isn’t going to be your thing.
I’m warning you.
Fantasy baseball will make you do weird things.
You’ll go to an actual baseball game, you’ll be sitting in the stands, and you’ll be on your phone checking how Austin Jackson is doing rather than watching the game right in front of you.
Without a doubt, fantasy baseball will make you root against your own team. Don’t think so? Just wait until your opponent owns a player from your favorite team. I bet you you’ll be using this logic: Well, I hope Felix Hernandez gives up 8 runs, but the Mariners still win.
Some things are best left alone. If I could go back in time using my “way back machine,” I might say these words to the younger version of myself. I might plead with him. Tell him his life would be at least twice as fulfilling without baseball. He’d have five extra hours a day to be more productive. He’d probably become rich and famous, which is light years ahead of me.
If I could only heed my own advice.
I usually join three or four leagues a year, participate in hundreds of mock drafts, and meet with friends at coffee shops to discuss strategy and rankings. I order the MLB package just so I can flip between games to watch my fantasy players. I’ve rooted against my Padres. I’ve feigned sickness to skip work and tinker with my team. This is worse than any job because you can’t retire from it, and even if you could, there would need to be a Fantasy Baseball Anonymous to cushion my fall.
But, civilian, if you choose this path, consider Rotoballs as your bootcamp. Just don’t blow your head off, Private Pyle.