One of the biggest criticisms of saber-enthusiasts is their tendency to ignore the human element of the game. Their breakdown and analysis of the game is all about the numbers, statistical trends, replacement values, etc. These aren’t robots here on the field playing the game, yet often during a study of it, they are, in a way, treated as such. And for me, I have to agree with the critics. You simply can’t ignore the human element. It must be accounted for in some way. Why? Because humans are inherently stupid and common sense is the least common thing in this world.
Take Brewers catcher, Jonathan Lucroy. I’m still scratching my head at this one but the gist of what I’m getting is that he was searching for a sock under the bed and while that was happening his wife shifted a suitcase which then fell on his throwing hand and fracturing it.
I feel like I need one of those crime scene TV shows that goes into flashback mode to recreate the scene so that we, the public, can understand the course of events. Was one hand on top of the bed while he was looking under for this alleged sock and the suitcase fell on it there? Was he shimmying under the bed and his hand was on the floor? How did a suitcase fall onto his hand? Someone help me understand, please, because this is sounding like the dumbest excuse I’ve ever heard. Just because someone says, “You can’t make this stuff up,” doesn’t mean that they didn’t.
So as I’m searching the waiver wire deciding whether to pick up George Kottaras or some other shlub that’s still available in this 12-team, two-catcher league, it got me to thinking about all the other times my fantasy teams got hosed because of the stupidity of humans. I thought about stupid Jeff Kent falling off his truck while washing it, breaking his wrist and my immediate need for a new second baseman. What? That was a lie? He was violating his contract by riding his motorcycle? Well then that’s even more stupid.
Then there was the time a promising young rookie named Clint Barmes, hitting close to .400 in mid-May, fell up (or down, depending on whose story you get) a flight of stairs while carrying a bunch of deer meat for Todd Helton after a hunting trip and broke his collarbone. We would have still been trying to figure this one out, but since Barmes owns a career average under .250, no one seems to care anymore. Either way, he was gone for months with zero trade value so early in the season. To think, all the offers for him I passed up on…
Kevin Brown, punching the clubhouse wall. The Sammy Sosa sneeze. Chris Coghlan going after Wes Helms with a shaving cream pie. Troy Tulowitzki cutting his hand while breaking his bat. Carlos Quentin breaking his wrist punching his bat. Sadly, the list goes on and on and over the years my, and countless others’, fantasy teams have been wrecked by the stupidity of humans. If you get hurt sliding into second, then fine. Break a finger squaring up for a bunt? I’m cool with that. Injuries are a part of the game. But when you’re being careless or reckless and doing things off the field that maybe you shouldn’t be doing, well then we have issues.
Ballplayers should know, there are only so many times a fantasy owner can recover in one season when his players go down with injuries. Winning a league is hard enough as it is. Let’s not make it even more difficult by letting your stupidity get in the way of our championship run.
Howard Bender has been covering fantasy sports for over 10 years on a variety of websites. In addition to his work here, you can also find him at his site, RotobuzzGuy.com, Fantasy Alarm, RotoWire and Mock Draft Central. Follow him on Twitter at @rotobuzzguy or for more direct questions or comments, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org