On the clock: Eternal optimism of fantasy baseball
DENVER – I wish I could say I took advantage of the warm spring and spent all of Saturday outdoors. Instead I spent five hours in a Denver bar.
No, I wasn’t drinking – at least not all the time. I was attending the annual draft of the Colorado Baseball Confederacy, a fantasy league celebrating its 29th year. It’s got some sharp team owners, guys who know more about baseball than I’ve got the patience and aptitude to ever ascertain.
The league once was exclusively the domain of Denver guys but eventually got diluted as participants lost interest, moved away and even, in a couple of cases, died. One of the original members moved to the Roaring Fork Valley in the late 1980s and is now directly or indirectly responsible for bringing four other teams from Basalt, Carbondale and Glenwood Springs into the fold. We Roaring Fork Valley folk now have five of the 12 teams in the league. The owners of another team drive down from Wyoming to attend the draft in Denver every year.
I reckon the crew is glad to have me involved. I’ve never won. I might have finished a distant second one year, and I managed third place once. But, hey, for $150 it’s cheap entertainment.
And like every year, I come out of the draft Saturday thinking I “done good.” We have to draft 23 players – nine pitchers and 14 position players. It’s wonderfully complex. You not only toss out a name when it’s your turn in the draft order – you then open the bidding for that player. You have $65 to compile your team. You can never keep more than 15 players from year to year, and you can only keep a player for three years, generally.
Anyway, the strategy is tantalizingly torturous. You have to figure out a way to compile a team that’s good in batting average, home runs, runs batted in and steals on the offensive side. Your pitchers must be marvels at wins, saves, earned run average and the ever-dangerous WHIP category – walks and hit per innings pitched.
I rarely have figured out how to cover all my bases, so to speak. But hope is eternal in the spring, just like on the real diamond and in the dugouts. Three days into the 162-game season, I think I’ve got a winner.
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