With baseball’s regular season officially launching on Sunday, many of you will scramble to get together for an auction, steal away for a few hours for an online draft, or attempt to log into your league’s draft app from your phone while hurtling down a major highway. This is the weekend that the basis of your fantasy baseball roster will be set for the next six months.
It’s also the time when you seal your doom. Again.
Maybe it will be in some agonizing manner, where your team does just well enough to keep you interested for most of the next six months. Or maybe you will have botched it from the outset, and spend much of the next six months fooling yourself into thinking it was just a bad start. It wasn’t.
From someone who is among the foremost experts on the many ways to find one’s self battling for 10th place in a 12-team league in late August, please accept the following completely scientific and defensible postulates for why you are unquestionably going to lose your fantasy baseball league.
Lack of preparation
Oh, sure. You purchased five fantasy baseball previews, as well as the dictionary-sized baseball annual written by people who are smarter than you. But did you actually read any of them? Did you read all of the words printed on any page of any of these publications? Did you internalize any of the hard-earned wisdom? Or did you just skip to a list of the top 25 second basemen players and skim it quickly?
Maybe fantasy baseball is supposed to be fun, and you don’t feel like doing your homework. But unlike how you managed to get through your school years, you can’t half-ass it and get by on charm and well-crafted excuses.
You are a responsible adult
The previous item seemed a tad harsh, so let it be said that you may be a full-grown, contributing member of society who has responsibilities and some casual flirtations with the concept of “adulting.” There are deadlines at work or kids who need love, feeding or at least entertainment. There are significant others who require some semblance of attention to whatever it is that they’re going on about this time. There’s that poignant and incisive documentary on your streaming queue, as well as four full seasons of Archer that you never got around to watching. And if there’s none of those, there’s certainly an unending pile of laundry and dishes that will forever taunt you.
By the time you navigate all of this, someone’s 21-year-old niece in your league manages to sidestep all of these responsibilities and hit the waiver wire at ungodly hours while you are desperately attempting to squeeze in just enough sleep to be functional tomorrow. You should have just e-transferred your league fees to her directly to skip the months-long humiliation. Or you could have paid her to manage your team on your behalf.
You are too biased
You know that you shouldn’t let your fandom get in the way of fantasy league glory. But as much as you know better, your heart measures out that this is the year that Marcus Stroman hits the heights, and you’ll be damned if some heathen Red Sox fan in your league wins on the strength of a Cy Young-calibre, season-long Stro Show.
At the same time, you hold fast to your long-held refusal to win with any of your team’s archrivals on your roster. While this was a dubious stratagem when you were eschewing Dustin Pedroia or Robinson Cano in favour of Alberto Callaspo, it becomes even more problematic for Blue Jays fans who find themselves unable to roster anyone from Baltimore, Cleveland, or Texas in addition to the Yankees and Red Sox or whoever else they begrudge.
Someone in your league is going to have Rougned Odor on their roster. Your moral superiority won’t keep you from looking upwards at them in the standings.
You mistake yourself for Billy Beane, circa 2002
By now, everyone knows that Brad Pitt won by extracting hidden value and winning with the aggregate production as suggested by Jonah Hill, and by signing Chris Pratt and making manager Philip Seymour Hoffman play him every day.
But at some point, you find yourself staring down a $47 bid for Nolan Arenado, which is outrageous in the moment. But at the end of that auction, when you are walking home with $30 in imaginary money that you cannot barter for any other good or service, you need to take a good long look in the mirror and remind yourself: “I am not Brad Pitt.”
Because you can’t predict baseball
Even if you are well-prepared, irresponsible, agnostic spendthrift, you could still fill a roster with Zack Greinke, Andrew McCutchen and Giancarlo Stanton, and wonder how someone in your league wrapped up the league by early September with a roster that included Brian Dozier, Adam Duvall and Kyle Hendricks.
Baseball is a cruel, beautiful game and fantasy baseball makes fools of us all. See you on the waiver wires, suckers!