Friday, June 29, 2007


When Fantasy Meets Reality

When things aren't going right for the Giants (think the past three years), the one thing that I have to fall back on and keep me checking box scores every day is fantasy baseball. You see, I play in this keeper league (or a "dynasty" league), and keeper leagues, as opposed to regular one-season leagues, turn the obsession dial up a few notches. Just think of your typical, run-of-the-mill roto league, only with the insanity increased like a thousandfold.

You see when managers get to keep every one of their players from year to year, some of them turn into rabid, player-hording bastards, and their definition of the words "player value" gets all thrown out of whack. Managers try make moves that will build up their team for the future, while at the same time keeping it competitive for the present. Naturally, anybody under age 25 becomes a hot prospect, while anybody over 35 becomes trade poison.

This of course means that trying to make trades turns into a kind of retarded chess match, where you're trying to negotiate a fair deal with a lunatic who is ridiculously overvaluing his players. It's the kind of thing that leads to inevitable demands of Barry Bonds and Gary Sheffield for Elijah Dukes.

Anyway, my team is in a sort of Sabean-esque bind of pseudo-contention. I'm sort of at the point where at any moment I could either make a heroic charge toward the top, or fall completely on my ass and start the rebuilding process. Much in the vein of our fearless leader, Mr. Sabes, I'm trying to ignore the writing on the wall as long as possible.

I recently acquired Matt Morris to help bolster my pitching (as part of a larger deal; he was actually pretty much a throw in), and this of course gives me another incentive to watch Giants games, as I was discussing the other day.

The thing is, I don't really think Morris is any great shakes (and who does?), and I don't think he will continue to perform as well as he has, but all I ask for are some reasonably good innings. You see, innings pitched is one of our categories, and if you can just find guys who can toss up about 160-200 innings a year without completely messing themselves, you've got value (I have Kyle Lohse on my team for this reason, for God's sake).

Well, as it so happens, there's a chance for sick irony tonight's game, as Morris makes first start as a member of my team. You see, two of the guys I traded in that deal are Conor Jackson and Carlos Quentin, two young guys with some potential. I like both guys a lot, but I felt that Jackson won't amount to much more than a better version of Doug Mientkiewicz, and I'm just too impatient to sit and wait for Quentin to turn his season around.

Wouldn't it be horrible then, if Morris got beat around tonight and it was those two guys doing the beating? Given my luck in trades over the years, it'll probably go down that way. Jackson will suddenly learn to pull the ball and smash two homers, touching off a tear where he rips 25 more bombs. Quentin finally discovers himself with the help of a hanging Morris curveball and turns into an All-Star. Meanwhile, Morris turns into the 2006 version of himself, kills all his trade value, real- and fantasy-wise, my team sinks to the bottom of the league, and various profanities emanate non-stop from my mouth for the next five years.

Ok, it probably won't happen like that, but really, if it did, I wouldn't be surprised in the least. You're looking at a guy who traded Mark Teixeira for Jose Hernandez and Raul Ibanez in 2003. So let's go Matty Mo, for the Giants and my fantasy team!

-Speaking of Quentin, I don't think he'll be any kind of threat this series. Why? Check out these splits. In Arizona, maybe the NL's leading bandbox now that Coors Field has been reborn under the humidor, Quentin has been one of the best hitters in the league, at .284/.372/.529.

On the road? Eegads. .131/.229/.167. That's a line that shouldn't keep you in the major leagues. Hopefully he doesn't suddenly learn how to hit away from the desert this weekend.

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