Archive for September 26th, 2011

The Captain Is The Champion And Yet Still A Loser

Last week was super busy at work, so I decided to take a little break from Captains Quarters.  But my week wasn’t all work; there was still plenty of time for celebration.  That’s right – I won!!!  My team, Wild Turkeys, won my 2011 Fantasy Baseball League!

This may not be impressive to most people, but I’m proud as hell at what I managed to accomplish.  For the most part, I’ve steered clear of discussing Fantasy Baseball here at Captains Quarters.  But a Championship in my first full year of play at least warrants an entry.

Even though I love baseball, it never really occurred to me that I might like Fantasy Baseball.  I didn’t know much about it and I was fine with that.  I got involved last year through my buddy Dr. Amir in Sarasota.  Dr. Amir is a sports nut and a gambling junkie, so he’s loves Fantasy Sports of all kinds.  He’s a diehard football fan, so he spends the bulk of his attention on his Fantasy Football team.  He also has a Fantasy Baseball team, but it’s been underdeveloped and underperforming for years.  By 2010 he was tired of finishing last, so he called me up and pitched me the idea of managing his baseball team.  I was reluctant at first, but I quickly learned that I already knew more about his team then he did.  So I agreed to manage it on a short term basis.  And from last summer on I’ve been hooked.

I was already watching a lot of baseball last year, as I do every year.  For the first time I could use my somewhat sizable knowledge of baseball for something other than annoying other people.  I picked up on the rules for a head-to-head league pretty quickly but it took me several weeks to have any success.  By the end of the year I had managed to take Wild Turkeys from 11-of-12 to 7-of-12 , which was pretty good for a midseason replacement coach.

Fast forward to March 2012 and I’ve spent a good month researching player stats and coming up with my draft strategy.  My plan was to go pitching heavy and only take hitters at key positions like catcher and second base.  I was also planning on taking as many Cardinals hitters as I could get, as I had the feeling it was going to be a good year offensively for the Redbirds.  As I quickly learned, all my plans went out the window as soon as the draft started.  I ended up with what I thought was a pretty decent team, but not at all what I had planned.  Once the season began I was just hoping to start above .500 and try and make the playoffs.  Right away, things looked pretty bleak.  The league added 2 more teams to bring the total up to 14 including Wild Turkeys, and about 8 of them were better than mine.  I was under .500 for the first month, but I was eventually able to correct mistakes that I made in the draft.  The secret to improving my team was watching for new position players available or for players on a hot streak and then stealing them before anyone else had the chance.  Eventually I became really good at the hard steal, or what George Michael called the Pete Rose steal.

By August I was ranked 6th in the league and I was still moving up the ranks.  Going into Labor Day weekend I was in 5th place and just needed a good finish to make it to 4th place and a slot in the playoffs.  But I was facing the best player in the league, and I was not overly optimistic.  My iPhone saw heavy use in Chicago Labor Day weekend as I continually checked for team updates.  By the drive back to St. Louis on Sunday I saw that I managed to score enough points off the league leader to make the playoffs.  I just squeaked in, but I made it!

In the semi-final round I was once again playing against the league leading SRQ Woodwaggers.  His team was WAY better on paper then mine, and I didn’t give myself much of a chance.  But for some reason his team really shit the bed while my team somehow rose to the occasion.  I ended up mopping the floor with him!  Now I was ready for the Championship Round, and it was against a Cubs fan!  Once again my team had an unbelievable week and I somehow managed to win the whole damn thing.  And now, after my first full year of Fantasy Baseball, I am the champion!

I’d like to say that it was all skill, but honestly luck played quite a large part of my win.  As I pointed out on Friday, I got lucky with several of my players.  But I’ve also been using two secret weapons.   First is the fact that I have clear advantage in this league, Wasting Precious Time.  All of the other players in my league live in and around the Tampa area and most are either Yankees, Red Sox or Cubs fans.  I realized this advantage and let them fight over East Coast players while I scooped up players from the Central and West divisions.  And surprisingly enough, my other weapon has been Twitter.1  I follow several baseball writers who have given great advice throughout the year.  I put all this together and I somehow made a champion! 

Nothing shows how far the Wild Turkeys have come in a short amount of time than the all-time leader board, which I will leave you with.  We are the Champions!!!


The Captain

1.  It sounds strange to say that Twitter was actually good for something…

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