January 31, 2006

I guess I should consider myself fortunate.  At least I was in Sam Walker's book, Fantasyland: A Season on Baseball's Lunatic Fringe.   And maybe that was Sam's point in the book about me - I was just lucky to be in the right place at the right time.  I guess that's one way to look at it. 

Another way to look at it is that I'm a delusional, bloodless wank who doesn't have any friends and somehow stumbled on good fortune because he doesn't have anything better to do with his time other than watch baseball and make a million transactions.  Well, that's a cold shower if I've ever had one. 

I guess the way I prefer to look at it is that I employed a strategy I thought could win and it did.  There's passing reference for my strategy and how it is somehow linked to my real life, but I think the analogy breaks down when you understand that the players I target on draft day more often than not are simply undervalued.  I didn't look through the lists of players and somehow feel a spiritul connection to them because they had battled a hamstring injury the previous year.  My understanding of the whole "how to win at fantasy sports" thing was that it was the primary objective to get more value than what you pay for. 

There were a couple of quotes that were attributed to me that painted my character in the book.  The first was, "I don't care about the players, I only care about winning".   Actually, that was a much more concise version of a longer and, I guess for the sake of the book, overly-complex quote where I replied to a question about whether I concerned myself over the players' personal issues, "I have no control over those things - whether they get traded or what's affecting their personal lives.  That's not something I can have any influence over so I can't really include those things in how I view the players.  So I don't factor them in.  If it's not something I can control or influence, I don't really care about it."

Also detailed in the book is what I assume most people will probably remember me for when all is said and done: the butter bet.  Sam noted that when it was apparent I was going to win that I tried to let him back out of it.  Even when he flew into town that final day of the season, I tried to let him off easy.  That wouldn't have made for a good story, nor did it fit my character's profile, but after the season was officially over, I did indeeed share a bottle of Dom Perignon with Sam that I had been saving for a special occasion.  Afterward, we went to my favorite restaurant where I again offered to let him off the hook.  This time, he could fulfill his end of the bargain by eating a plate of etouffe, a delicious Cajun dish that is often made with several sticks of butter.  But Sam declined on the grounds that the rice in the dish would ruin his Atkins diet.  In light of all the crazy things he did that year, it was probably because that would have made a lousy finish to the book.

As for the lack of phone calls or the lack of applause, I really didn't expect any that day because I had already received several congratulatory phone calls days, even weeks before.  When one has a double digit lead in points with a couple of weeks to go, it's usually a forgone conclusion who's going to win.  In addition to the calls, Lawr Michaels generously sent me a case of Yoohoo as congratulations.  And to my knowledge, the people at Ron Shandler's Arizona Fall League Symposium rarely clap at the announcement of the AL Tout winner because frankly, that's last year's news. 

To be honest, I'm embarrassed by such recognition.  That's not why I write, nor is it why I compete