Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Baseball Post

Jody Gerut retired this week. Sad day for me. Why? I had -- that is, my roto team...well, let me stop and warn you, first: this is a roto post. You're all invited to stick around, and I hope it's interesting, but there's no regular baseball content here; it's about what it's like to play fantasy baseball long-term (and wondering how typical my experience has been).

OK, back to Jody Geut. He was on my Blue Sox when he had his big year.  22 HRs, 75 RBI, .279 BA. That's back in 2003, when he was a rookie. I don't remember how much the Blue Sox paid him that year, but it wasn't anything close to what he earned. And, if I recall correctly, he didn't clog up my roster for long after that, so there was no down side to go with the good year. For me, even though he went on to a longish career and never showed up on my roster again (we're AL-only, so I was just watching for his Padres revival), he's always been one of "my" guys.

I'm wondering how typical my experience is, however. I know that there are tons of people who play some sort of fantasy baseball, but no idea how many of them are like me -- one team, continuing league, forever (my first league lasted only three years, but my current league has been going on for a long time). My point is that when it comes to baseball, I'm a Giants fan -- but my second team is my Blue Sox, and just as I keep track of, oh, Jason Grilli and David Aardsma's careers even after they're long gone from the Giants, I also tend to be pretty aware of my former Blue Sox. I'm curious whether others have that same sense of things.

Granted, even in a keeper league there's a lot more turnover than there is for a National or American League team. Still, playing only a slightly modified version of the original Rotisserie rules, we get to keep our players (if we want them) for three year chunks, and you can extend their contracts to a fourth or even fifth year...the truth is that it's not all that unusual, at least in our league, for owners to wind up getting back some of their favorites. The longest stretch I've ever had was with Arthur Rhodes, who I had for I think at least a dozen years at the start of his career. But there's plenty of guys I've had for five years, or six out of seven, something like that. Again, since I'm only in the one league, there are also a good number of players who I never had on my team. And it's not as if everyone who passed through my roster is one of "my guys." But a case like Gerut, who I plucked up cheap and then he had his best year...that's one of mine.

Oh, I can't help myself -- my best ever one of those? Pat Listach. Yup, I had his big year -- that would be 54 SBs. Alas, then I was stuck with him, if I recall correctly, for the next two years, but he was cheap, so it wasn't exactly a disaster.

Anyway, if there's anyone left reading who would like to comment, I'd be interested if that's how you think of fantasy baseball (or for that matter other fantasy sports) -- whether you think of yourself having a continuing franchise, with a history, and players who are "your" guys, or whether it's something totally different.


  1. I'm conflicted.

    If I admit to having such feelings, you can take advantage of me in our league. Oh well, guess the cat's out of that bag.

    Speaking of cats....Frant Cat...alanotto was one of my finds. Laboring away as a journeyman with really solid contact skills, but no full-time job. Picked him up cheap, then he got a full-time job with Texas. I still follow him and root for him. I also have a soft spot in my heart for the dime catchers I've carried for years: John Buck (who I've kept around a ton, well before last year). I find myself with Maggs more often than not. And I pretty much "discovered" James Shields when he got called up. I also always wanted Duchscherer on my team, but it didn't always work out...I found him when everyone was talking about Harden in AAA and I saw Duke's stats were also awesome.

  2. Dennis Eckersley. Played in my first fantasy league in 1987, grabbed Eck thinking he'd be a starter for the A's. Continuing league, could keep a player forever with annual $4 raises, and I'd gotten Eck for $8, so I kept him for a bazillion years. He became my favorite player, even though he was in the other league in real life.

    Played in that league for a very long time. Then two owners died in a car crash. I had been helping administrate 20+ leagues, year after year, for CompuServe, and got burned out running half a dozen auctions a year. Since then, I've never gone without a team, but I stick to one team, online league (ESPN or Yahoo), non-continuing.

    But Eck will always have a special place in my heart.

  3. April 13, 2009, in an MLB historical first, in the very first official at-bat at Citi Field, in the very first game, Gerut homered.

    Also, in the bottom of the ninth of the first game, a Heath Bell wild pitch somehow got through the backstop screen and hit Mayor Bloomberg.

    Tough to know what exactly the baseball gods were trying to get across.

    From my past fantasy teams I'll forever be indebted to Richard Hidalgo and Mike Sweeney, to name two. But I've gotten away from fantasy for a few years now - I began to dislike the ways in which it changed how I followed the sport - I almost stopped watching games completely for live box scores and highlights. I've kicked.

  4. I've never played in a keeper league but I have certain guys I keep my eye out for in drafts. Though I also make it a point to not let the "my guy" designation bias my selections too much.

    I'm a Braves fan but for some reason I found myself liking the Oakland big three of several years ago; Zito, Hudson, and Mulder. Zito in particular I had as one of my guys and picked him up frequently. That was when I was young and hadn't read Moneyball or taken a stats class.

    But even now I tend to like Oakland pitchers. I was mad when someone took Brett Anderson late in my draft this year. I picked him up late last season and he helped me down the stretch.

  5. I mainly wanted to say that it was your warning that kept me reading when most people tuned out. I have no interest in sports and especially find baseball boring, but I am intensely interested in games. Thus, when I could see that it was a sports free zone that discussed gaming, I was in.

    Although I don't play any of these leagues for obvious reasons, I am pretty sure I would have the same reaction that you do. I would follow the players in their later careers and consider some of them "mine."

  6. Does Stratomatic count as fantasy? I've been in the same league since 1984 and it had been running a few years by then.

    I can't count the number of players I've blundered into. My favorite is Bobby Bonilla. I drafted him without ever seeing him play or knowing anything about him other than the Pirates gave up a major league pitcher for him.

    I assumed he was a speedy little guy. As a rookie he played some center, stole a few bases and showed no power. I was astonished the first time I saw him (highlights after he'd hit a monster home run). The young Bonilla looked like a linebacker.

    I had Bonilla his entire career, and that intro was probably a big reason.

  7. Sure, it counts. But I have loyalties the other way, there -- pre-roto, I played APBA. Not in leagues, though; we just replayed partial seasons. I definitely did have favorites, but it wasn't the same kind of thing. Mostly guys with wacky cards.

    As Ron points out, pre-cable you could go a fairly long while without knowing what guys looked like.


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