Filling a fantasy sports league is hard enough, but filling out Fantasy Baseball league is even tougher; our National Pastime is waning in popularity these days, and most people, when confronted with the reality that Fantasy Baseball exists, respond with skeptism and confusion. “I thought that was only for football.” 😞 It’s tough finding that 10th or 12th man to fill out a league – finding baseball fans is tough enough, but finding guys (or gals!) that know what WHIP is and can easily name the Mariners’ centerfielder is like trying to find bigfoot. Countless fans have plumbed the depths of their friendship circles to find a somebody that’s willing to play, but not so in our league. For ten years now, and with very little turnover in terms of franchise ownership, The League of Extraordinary Assholes has bickered, bantered, and insulted each other as we all try to wrap our brains around the beautiful game of baseball.
As we start our eleventh season with CBS Fantasy Sports, a bit of history: this league actually began on ESPN sometime around 2007 or 2008 – I distinctly recall acquiring Marco Scutaro from Blaine Scharnhorst shortly before my Dad passed away in June of 2009, so our league has existed in some form or another for at least 12 full years now. My Dad left us that year, and so did Blaine – I mean, he’s still alive…he just left the league. On to bigger and better things, I suppose. Or, at least, more productive ways to spend his time, certainly. That’s kind of the thing about Fantasy sports, right? Like real baseball, it marks the time. In the grand scheme, most people have “better” things to do than worry about the stats that the players accumulate; they’re raising kids, buying homes, and not playing videogames as much anymore. People come and go, just like the players – most of us haven’t physically seen each other in months, if not years. In fact, i’m quite sure our 10-man league has ever been together in one physical space. But baseball…baseball brings us together.
We have an incredible array of characters acting as owners of franchises: one teacher/bus driver, two cops (“I’M A SHERIFF’S DEPUTY!” Reid would yell), a counselor, a tarp man, a plaque man, an MBA student, an actual CPA, a Regional Vice President, and one unemployed blogger. As one can imagine, we don’t always get along with each other – aside from the typical trash talk, our rantings typically devolve into politcal “debates” with entire offensive and defensive strategies hinging on well-timed GIFs, but we are making progress as a group! This year we moved to GroupMe to facilitate our yelling back and forth, and since we’re all now adults that are doing well, we’ve got money on on the line. It was never about the money though – it’s about the camraderie, the competition, the glory, the heartbreak, and most importantly, a way to enjoy the sport more deeply.
Having a full season of baseball to look forward to is incredible, and I never realized how much I had taken it for granted. As the clip above suggests, basbeball has been such a part of the fabric of America for so long that I never imagined what it was like not having it. Hearing “Play Ball” in 2021 will be all the more sweeter for the lost season.
Now if we could only get the damn Texas Rangers back on track.