Kicking Rocks: Catching Up by Howard Bender May 26, 2011 The fantasy baseball season waits for no one and your absence from the day to day operations of your team and league can often be unforgiving. Driving out of town for the weekend to attend your niece’s christening? Tough break on missing that rookie sensation’s sudden availability on the Yahoo waiver wire. Your wife’s idiot baby cousin is getting married in some remote corner of Mexico where there’s no internet service? Too bad you couldn’t get those potential trade emails as your competition swooped in and brokered the deals for himself. Your dad died? Well, sorry for your loss and sorry that a DL’d David Wright and Adam LaRoche are still sitting in your active lineup. There are no time outs in this game, so if you miss even just a few days, you’re going to have to dedicate some serious time to catching up. By forces beyond my control, just such an occurrence happened my way over the last two weeks. Just to get it out of the way, it was, sadly, my third aforementioned example. My father-in-law, actually, but given the fact that I am estranged from my birth family, the man had been the closest thing I’ve had to a father for the last 20 years of my life. Bob was an amazing man, an avid supporter of my work, and a true friend. He would actually be honored to know that in some way, he was able to inspire today’s column. When my wife and I received word that we were likely near the end of his hard fought battle with cancer, we dropped everything and headed to his home which was about eight hours away. I had my trusty smart phone with me (damn, I hate this thing), but I didn’t bother to bring the laptop. There are, obviously, more important things in this world than work and fantasy baseball. This was a time to be with family, so worrying about my lack of saves in my 15 team, mixed, roto league or my need for speed in my 12 team AL only, head to head league seemed moronic and was the furthest thing from my mind. But let’s face it – while there are, indeed, more important things in this world than fantasy baseball, you can’t ignore that life also moves on after the fact. Just because I’m not paying attention, doesn’t mean the world is coming to a screeching halt and after my two weeks away, there are still four months of the fantasy baseball season ahead. The season didn’t die with my father-in-law and it’s not like I’m just going to cast it all aside because I am in mourning. No, it’s that whole “show must go on” mentality. The most common reason given by people, when asked why they’ll play fantasy football but not fantasy baseball, is the rigorous amount of work that is necessary to successfully play the game — games are daily, the season is longer, the number of players to follow is significantly higher, etc. No doubt, you have to be on your game at all times. So when life throws you that curveball, whether it’s something tragic like a family member passing or something fun like that stupid wedding in Mexico, you’ve got a ton of work to do when you get back. News feed after news feed, site after site, blog after blog, you’ve got two weeks of games, player updates, injuries, roster moves, trade proposals, trade votes, and waiver claims to read over. You need to get informed as quickly as possible because in that time you were away, your team went to hell in a hand-basket and your competition is now passing you by. But by no means is this a “poor me, my dad just died and now I have all this stupid work to do that is meaningless in the grand scheme of things.” No. This is more of a “take your head out of your ass and understand that you made a commitment to the rest of your league to be involved in a spirited competition that if you choose to ignore, you’re ruining it for everyone else.” The National Center for Health Statistics lists heart disease as the number one cause of deaths in this country. Well, neglect is the heart disease of fantasy baseball. So I don’t want to hear, two months into the season that you’re too busy to pay attention for the rest of the year. We all have our issues, but there are few things to pull you away for the entire six months of the season. Obviously there are devastating events and mitigating circumstances, but those are the exceptions and rarely are they the reasons/excuses given for the neglect. Your family vacation is pulling you away for a week? Big deal, my dad just died. Work has been hectic over the last couple of weeks? Big deal, my dad just died and I’m trying to help my wife during her grieving process. Your girlfriend left you? Big deal, my dad just died, I’m helping my wife during here grieving process and my mother-in-law is mentally unstable and we’re now trying to help her through this as well. We’ve all got our own personal battles to fight, so don’t use them as excuses for your laziness. I don’t need the condolences in the comments section please. Just finish what you started and play the game to its completion.