When I first sat down to write this week’s column, I was all set to spend my time bashing Adam Dunn. You know, talk about how I built up the rest of my infield with the first two picks, grabbed King Felix in the third round and then, when all the other first base mashers were off the board, swoop in and steal Dunn and his 40 bombs in the fourth. It was the “perfect” strategy right up until the part where Dunn decided he couldn’t hit anymore. But then, as I was wrapping up my introduction, I got a text that changed my whole plan. You know the text I’m talking about — the one from that guy in my primary league.
“Espinosa hit on hand with a pitch. Could be broken”
He wasn’t being sympathetic. He wasn’t being opportunistic and offering me up a deal for a replacement second baseman. No. He was needling, something he had the tendency to do all of the time. Always there to chime in at the time you least want to hear it. Always stirring the pot. Always causing trouble within the league. Always the first to suck the joy right out of playing fantasy baseball. And if there’s one thing I’ve learned in my time spent playing this game, it is that every league has one. Look around your list of owners. You know who I’m talking about.
That guy, who is always the first to send you a text or an email to tell you that a player of yours is hurt. I don’t know if he wants to prove that he’s on top of all the news available on the internet, if he thinks you don’t follow it enough, or if he’s just being a jerk. Whatever the case may be, when I see a text from him, I know that there’s a hole in my roster that needs patching.
That guy, who throughout your draft was the first to negatively critique everyone else’s picks while purporting all of his as the steal of the round. “Yeah, Jose Bautista in the 5th round is ok, but he’ll never duplicate last year. Maybe 30 HR this year, but a crappy average. But I can’t believe I just stole Jayson Werth here at the end of the round. You guys just let me have a 30-20 outfielder for nothing.”
That guy, who when you submit a trade for a league vote, is the first to call you up to tell you why he voted no. Every single time, he verbally assaults the players coming from your end and tells you how you’re getting back way too much in return. Doesn’t matter if you’re giving up Miguel Cabrera in a keeper league and getting back Joel Hanrahan and Justin Smoak . He’s there to tell you that Cabrera’s done as a result of his drinking problem while Hanrahan is the top closer in the game and Smoak is a player quickly on the rise.
That guy, who lobbies for a rules change in the league each and every year. It’s usually a different request each season and usually something that will give his current team some sort of an advantage. He’s also there to dissect the league constitution searching for loopholes that he can try to exploit. As a commissioner, you just want crush up some Xanax in this dude’s oatmeal and get him to ease up a little.
That guy, who is vehemently against keeper league dump deals and emails the league annually berating the practice, but then constantly submits ridiculous 5 for 1 deals of his own. And it’s not like he’s doing it just to keep up with the Joneses…he actually believes that his players are actually worth it. No one else’s….just his.
That guy, who either starts or perpetuates an email war in your league and then always takes it a step too far.
Each year can be more nightmarish than the next. You know there’s always going to be something with him. He takes the game far too seriously and makes you wish that you never invited him to join in the first place.
But the biggest problem is that you can’t get rid of that guy. You can’t just kick him out of the league. He’s part of your crew. On the friendship scale, the guy ranks a solid 8. Cool guy, funny, intelligent. However, get him in a fantasy league and he’s suddenly that annoying kid from the neighborhood who took competition to a whole new level but grabbed his ball and ran home whenever things didn’t go his way. It makes you wish that he found a new hobby, a wife, a girlfriend, something….anything to distract him from the fantasy racket. Unfortunately, so long as the gang is playing, that guy is right there in the mix.
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