Fantasy Nightmares

My first exposure to fantasy baseball was through a guy who I was sort of friends with in middle school. There were maybe eight of us in the league, maybe five of whom were regulars, maybe three of whom sort of knew what we were doing, sort of. One guy, for instance, used his first eight draft picks to pick the Detroit Tigers' lineup. The guy who ran the league would “publish” a little newsletter at random intervals, updating the point standings (which he calculated on his own) and with funny little faux baseball articles. That must have been the 1990 or 1991 baseball season, but I still remember some of the players I picked for that team. God, they sucked. Sadly, it wouldn’t be the last team I owned that I then proceeded to populate with Has-beens, Never-would-be’s, The Suspended and The Dead. Here’s a fun romp through some of the low-lights of my fantasy career. (In a topic as bountiful as this, it will be tough to limit myself.) Hensley "Bam-Bam" Meulens, 1991 I’ve always been a sucker for players with cool names or nicknames.... This was, I believe, my first ever fantasy baseball team, and Hensley was a young OF prospect with the Yankees. In 288 Abs that year, he hit .222/.276/.319/.595 for an OPS+ of 65. At the time, I think we would have thought OPS to be a misspelling of OPP, but we all knew that Meulens was bad. He did have a few decent years in Japan in the mid-90s. Steve Olin, 1993 This league I played in during middle school and high school had a very early draft. February, I think. Going in to 1993, if I recall, we began to draft relievers. Steve Olin had just saved 29 games for the Indians with a 2.34 ERA (although of course I did not notice the alarming 47 K in 88 innings). More alarming is the fact that Olin would be dead in a few weeks, from a tragic boating incident during spring training. I then renamed my team the “really shitty boaters,” which I still maintain was a rather funny name, even if it was mostly insensitive. Kevin Reimer, 1993 Reimer was a huge (for the time) left-handed hitter who had some power and not much else. He actually had some decent years in Texas, putting up OPS+s of 113, 124, and 120 from ages 26 to 28. He went to Milwaukee in 1993, I drafted him, and he then hit .249/.303/.394 in 437 AB’s. I’m pretty sure I played him the entire season. I just thought he looked really imposing at the plate. Karim Garcia, 1997 Garcia was the next in a long line of much heralded Dodgers’ prospects headed to stardom. In the league I played in during college (comprised mostly of college professors who were grading me in classes, at the time,) we did a mid-year partial re-draft: keep half your team, re-draft the other half. Somewhere near the end of the draft, I picked Garcia. He was 21, he had 39 AB’s, and hit ./128/.239/.205 Never did amount to much, but he did punch a bullpen crew member of the Red Sox, a few years later. Darryl Kile, 2002 I had become a big fan of Kile’s. I loved that huge curveball of his, and had drafted him in his breakout year in Houston, in 1997, when he won 19 games with a 2.57 ERA in 255.7 IP. He went to Colorado for two years, before returning to the Cardinals and putting up 20 and 16 win seasons. I drafted him in 2002, expecting one of my favorite pitchers (albeit for a rival) to do more of the same. You know the story of what happened to him the night before he was scheduled to pitch in Wrigley. While the unlikely coincidence of having drafted both Olin and Kile was not lost on me, this time I could find nothing even slightly funny in the pitcher's death. Of course, at the start of 2003 I was joking that I was doing all Cubs fans a favor by deliberately avoiding Prior, Wood, Z and Cruz in the draft. Aramis Ramirez, 2002 Third Base had a lot of sexy options for the 2002 draft. Looking back at my crude pre-draft ratings chart, I had Pujols and Larry Jones ranked clearly ahead of the pack, followed by Nevin and Glaus. Aramis led the next grouping, which also included Eric Chavez, Scott Rolen and Cory Koskie. And below that were Adrian Beltre, Hank Blalock, Sean Burroughs and Morgan Ensberg. Next to Ramirez, I just left the note “Gonna be Huge.” Indeed, the previous year, at age 23, he had hit .300/.350/.356 with 34 HR and 112 RBI. The year I picked him, of course, he got suspended ten games for charging Ben Sheets in April, hurt his ankle in the process, which then affected his hitting the rest of the year as he dropped 220 points of OPS, going from an OPS+ of 125 to 69. As I recall, this was one of the (several) years where I somehow managed to lead the league in number of guys suspended and number of games. And I actually do try to draft “character” guys. The other guys I listed whom I could have drafted at 3B that year: Pujols, 155 OPS+; Larry, 155; Nevin, 106; Glaus, 115; Role, 132; Chavez, 122; Koskie, 118; Mark Buehrle, 2006 I never, ever liked Buehrle. I always just sort of winced and shivered at his last name: when pronounced, it suggests a tough guy. But it’s spelled really dumb, not like how a tough guy would spell it. So I always just sort of wound up with the mental image of a pitcher who sounded tougher than he was. Sort of the opposite of “Bam-Bam.” I didn’t want to draft him last year. But with the 60th pick and having already drafted an offensive juggernaut, he looked like the best pitcher left on the board. Yeah, I knew he didn’t strike enough people out. But he looked so delightfully consistent, so regularly successful even with the low K totals. I should have listened to my gut. Francisco Liriano and Scott Kazmir were still on the board, among others. Buehrle’s ERA+ went from143 to 93. Yadier Molina, 2006 Somewhere, I had heard that Yadier would develop to be both the best defensive and offensive of the Molina brothers. I took him with pick # 141, ahead of Ramon Hernandez, and a whopping 319 picks ahead of where I took the far more useful Bengie Molina. Molina finished with .216/.274/.321/.595, OPS+ of 54. Had he qualified, he would have ranked just ahead of Angel Berroa and just below Clint Barmes for worst OPS in MLB last year. Proof that you shouldn’t make draft picks based off of “Somewhere, I had heard.” The nice thing about fantasy baseball, much like real life, is that no matter how bad of a decision you make, there's someone nearby who's doing worse. The all-time worst draft pick that I've witnessed belonged to That Guy. You know the one I'm talking about. That Guy who's a nice enough guy, but just isn't as prepared or knowledgeable as the rest of your league. That Guy who takes five minutes to make his picks in an off-line draft, when everybody else is taking one minute. That Guy, who you can rest assured will not pick the sleeper that you want to pick with your next selection. In the worst draft pick I've ever seen, That Guy noticed, midway through our 2002 draft, that we had all passed on selecting one of the greatest offensive forces of the 1990s. Excitedly, he announced his selection, Albert Belle. The only problem was, Belle's degenerative hip condition had caused him to retire. After the 2000 season.


I also had Kile in 2002.

My worst pick ever: Teixiera at #4 overall last year. Ouch. Cost me my league. Could've had Thome in the 21st round.

I think I started around 2000 with fantasy baseball in a keeper league (7 per season)..

By sometime in 2004, I had managed to acquire Prior, Z and Wood and was all proud of myself (along with Randy Johnson).

Been living the pain as a fan and and a fantasy baller ever since. The league disbanded after 2005, so I was spared it last year, but ugh...

My first bad fantasy pick was Dickie Thon in 1985.

That .353/.389/.471/.860 line in 1984 fooled me. I was 14 then, I didn't know anything about small sample size. I just figured I could extrapolate those 17 at-bats, nevermind the eye injury.

I hadn't realized how long he held on. He was pretty good for the Phillies in 1989 and played regularly until '93.

I started Chan Ho Park the day he gave up two grannies to Fernando Tatis. Park overall wasn't bad that year, but you can't trust a guy who pulls something like that.

I DIDN'T start Kile when he threw a no-hitter, in like maybe 1998. I lost the money prize for finishing first overall for the week, by a single point.

2006: Rich Harden, Bobby Crosby and Marcus Giles. That's just bad luck.

BTW, Trans, sorry I haven't gotten around to send you the e-mail. I will do it later today, I'm swamped with schoolwork.

Jay Marrioti just used his "Face Time" at the end of Around the Horn to plead with the International Olympic Committee not to allow bloggers access to the Olympic Village at the next Games.

Why did he come out for this?

Because according to him, there is enough scandle in sports, particularly the olympics, without bloggers going around uncovering more dirt.

It's good to know that Jay Marrioti has drawn a clear line in the sand regarding the controversial issue of Investigative Journalism: he's against it.

That's hilarious.

But what the heck were you doing watching Around the Horn?

I caught the last 30 seconds, accidentally, while waiting for PTI to begin.

In other news, a sincere congratulations to Albert Pujols on aceing his citizenship test and becoming a US citizen.

My bonehead move of the year last season was picking up John Rheinecker...and, to make room for him, releasing Chien -Ming Wang. I also drafted Sean Burroughs. I also won Bill Mueller (in his last year with the Red Sox) for $10 units, and proclaimed my winning of Jay Bell as me obtaining "the best second baseman in the league." Pretty sure that was in '00, when he hit a whopping .267.

My dumbest long-term move in our keeper league, however, was cutting Bill Hall back in '05...after having paid $1 unit for him.

My stay away from at all costs this year include Ted Lilly (yes, I picked him up a couple years ago...when he gets rocked, he *really* gets rocked), Mark Buehrle, Paul Konerko (both due to bad experiences with them in the past), and Jason Giambi (just don't trust those older, post-'roid dudes).

Trans, you've got mail.

Wasn't Bob Ojeda on that boat?
He got scalped too I think. Yikes.

By the way do you have any Anna Nicole Smith Playboys?

Yes, Ojeda and another player was... Steve Crews maybe? Would have to go google it, and who has time for all that effort?

No, no ANS memorabilia of any sort, over here.

Tim Crews. Hooray Google.

Stark article on the 10 yr. anniversary.....

Give Bob a wide berth -

From wikipedia-

"e pitched well in 1988 but was involved in what some consider one of the most ridiculous accidents in baseball history when he severed the tip of his left middle finger while trimming his hedges in mid-September."

I drafted and dropped Liriano in the pre-season last year.

And I call myself an expert...

I remember picking up John Wasdin in fantasy league with Transmission in 2005 and being hounded mercilessly by him for doing it. I even changed my team name to "John Wasdin's America" for a week as an homage.

But I'd say my worst pick was last year, Randy Johnson at the end of the first round in a points-based league that punishes for earned runs. Ugly stuff to go with ugly Randy.

Wow, I'd totally forgotten about that, Tom. I trust I wasn't TOO hard on ya....

But still, Wasdin? ~grin~

In early spring of '99 I set up my pitching staff by getting Wood and Schilling for about $62 combined. I didn't win that year.

Oh yeah, Trans. You should have quit playing fantasy baseball after Kile's death.

We used to have a league called the Sons Of Brickhouse (SOB) League. On the night of the first draft, we met at the apartment of a guy who lived a block from Wrigley Field. He had appropriated a huge ESPN banner from some event he had once attended and it covered most of his living room wall. What a backdrop it made. Frequently, we would hold our bi-weekly owners' meetings at the Slugger's on Clark Street, again just a few steps from Wrigley Field. I thought that was the ultimate fantasy baseball setting. I don't remember many of my players, though I'm pretty sure they all sucked.

One year I shared a team with my brother and I drafted Pete Incaviglia. My brother blasted me immediately and all year long. On the last day of the season Inky hit a hr to break a hr tie with another team and give us first place.

Who can forget the great Arlis episode where he is running around the office shouting that he just traded for Bagwell. He was in a NL only league and he arranged to trade one of his clients in real life to the AL to screw his competitor and win the league. This episode should be required viewing for all fantasy participants.

Has anyone considered a fantasy blog site for all of you fantasy league lovers?

MVN's site

he's a Cubs fan too and I believe that was the author in comment #18

U down with OPP? That brought back 6th grade memories and made me laugh out loud. Well played Dr. Transmission

ESPN is reporting on television that Corey "K" Patterson has signed a one year, $4.3 million, deal with the Orioles. In announcing the deal, the voice over commented that Patterson had a "surprising" year in 2006, hitting 16 homers, something like 56 RBIs and 45 stolen bases.

thank you, THANK YOU aaron b for catching that.

That was THE SONG in yeah, something like seventh grade.


I have every last one ANS was ever in or on (long time collector). Why are you interested? Wanna nail down the 12-15 bucks they are going for right now?

Recent comments

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  • I should be able to watch the game on the NFL replay app, whatever that thing is called. I've got it on my iPad. This is the first year I haven't forced myself to somehow watch every game - no I take that back, last year was - in quite some time. Last year was so unbearable, no pun intended.

    You make some good points about Cutler, and I was a holdout defender of Cutler for a long time. I gave up on him a bit after one too many dumb interceptions, but last year doesn't count. Trestman was the worst coach in Bears history.

  • Nice little reportage there!. I think you're older than me. Considerably older. Maybe several generations. Working out is so essential, especially as age kicks in, isn't it? I still lift weights, and so I'm confident that when I get to be at the hip breaking age, mine won't be a statistic. But I have a ways to go for that to be a concern.

  • What was impressive to me is that the Cubs won despite poor base running, several defensive miscues, Russell leaving due to injury, Arrieta having an off game and getting knocked out early, and Rondon giving up 2 runs in the 9th. If they can win a game like that... 

  • I was there too. The crowd was absolutely electric. People were standing for every big and semi-big moment, from the first inning on. It felt incredibly strange and exhilarating to see the Cubs (the Chicago bleepin' Cubs!) score playoff insurance runs on the Cardinals. What a game. One to remember.

  • 14 in attendance. What's the record for attendance in the fall? I guess I should ask what the record attendance listed is in one of your recaps.

  • I was there too, with my grown son. This is my miracle year-- I rose to the top of the season ticket list after eight years, completely unexpectedly, and my wonderful wife agreed to put the ticket fee on the emergency credit card. The whole point of course was that the Cubs were going to be good this year, and then for a while, so to get season tickets with the guaranteed shot at the postseason was incredible timing. We got to the remote lot at 4:10 after stopping at Nhu Lan for our usual banh mi sandwiches, only to find the lot full, way earlier than normal.

  • Wrigley was electric tonite
    Not many card fans
    Video board was great, they played "there goes my hero" by foos over ryno highlights before he came out. Spectacular

    Good times hopefully they win tomorrow but think Lester will beat poopy pants on Wednesday.

    Happy 4th anniversary of Theo's signing

    Go Cubs !

  • Yeah. "Goodbye!" is a lame HR call.

    I miss Len and JD -- although, driving home from a friend's, WBBM played all 6 HR calls in a row -- and Len got to call the Bryant/Rizzo back-to-back. Very fun.

  • Lackey has been a beast against us. His stats on 3 days rest, however, not as nice. There is plenty of hope.

  • And, no dreadlocks grown yet.

  • Captain Obvious Strikes Again!!!

  • Amen, brother.

  • In the wild card game he mentioned that aram started with the Pirates, then played for the Brewers, and now he's back with the Pirates. Uhhhh, missed a step there, guy.

  • i like ron darling the person, the interview, and the studio desk guy...but him calling a game can lead to some really stupid stuff coming out of his mouth.

  • If you think these announcers are bad ,the ones doing the Mets vs Dodgers (Ron Darling ,Cal Ripken and someone else)
    are worse they did the wildcard game I never knew Joe Jackson and Derrick Fowler played for the Cubs this year you
    would think there would be research by them.

  • daaaaaayam.