I love being sick. Not! It seems like every other day this winter, I’ve come down with something. It’s starting to wear me out. But like the doc says, dealing with the public every day, what do you expect? I guess no one is immune to the effects of the masses, not even this guy! (What has two thumbs and is named after the Pope?)
Hopefully, this will all make sense, but then again, has it ever?
The consumption of my Fantasy sickness (not related, I think) is reaching a fever pitch. That’s always the case during an overlap period. Currently I’m trying to fend off any challenges to my second place cash in my first basketball league ever. The amount of time looking at team stats to figure out how to protect any weakness is hard to justify but no less fun, kind of like a real-life Rubik’s Cube or Sudoku. The similarity being that any move I make has many good or bad repercussions. So it’s important to be very sure that you make the right move, or don’t make one at all. So you analyze, over and over and over and over…
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Now add to this the fact that my baseball draft is in 11 days and my head is spinning. Baseball is by far the hardest draft of any fantasy sport. In fact, it’s the hardest to play, period. We were looking for another player, so I asked a few regulars at the bar who I know are huge baseball fans, and they looked at me like I had doubled the prices. Why would I want to play that? It takes a unique individual to get on board the seven-month hell ride that is fantasy baseball, but then you already knew that.
A big change in my league is that for the first time, we are going to use both AL and NL. That did not come without a lot of consternation, but with Houston moving to the American league, evening out the teams at 15, we did not have much of a choice with the amount of players (10) we have. Thus, we wanted to expand our team pool to 12 and use players from each league. Additionally, we went from a 7x7 roto that was a little power-heavy to a radical (for us nerds anyway) 6x6 that does not include wins, strikeout totals or batting average.
This has changed my strategy on how I play -- or should I say draft -- quite a bit. I have been studying with what little free time I have and keep printing out reams of stats and mock drafts to use as study guides. This, of course, has gotten me plenty of eye-rolls at the house. So what else is new? Actually, my biggest concern is that, thanks to AT&T, my internet goes out at least twice a day and I have to reboot the router. (All this after two service calls and two new routers.) If it goes out in the middle of the draft, I think I will lose my mind. (I heard that!) I still have time. As an added bonus, come into the bar to hear daily status updates, they kill! At least I’m not the only one. I’m semi-amazed at the computer/technology horror stories that folks at the bar then tell me. Yikes. You can put a man on the moon but…
Anyway, I was glad to see the good people at Sports Illustrated took my blog from last week to heart and finally put the Blackhawks on their cover. They proved they have been watching by selecting a great shot to convey what’s been going on here in the new center of the hockey universe. About time. This story, I think, is only going to get better and better. What a fun team to watch. But did you notice: As good as the Hawks have been that the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim in Los Angeles are right on their heels in the standings? No worries now, since it’s all about the chase for Lord Stanley’s Cup, but a No. 1 seed would be nice.
[MORE: Frankie O -- Seeing red with the Blackhawks]
And I don’t know about you, but the Derrick Rose conversation every minute of every day has me wanting to pound my head on the bar. This is way past jumping the shark. This has entered Brett Favre territory. Honestly. Is there any angle that hasn’t been pursued? I cannot remember the last time that I have entered any room where I haven’t been asked about it, have an opinion on it given to me, or have it on the TV so I can listen to others about it. Ugh.
The Bears seemed to have made a couple of nice moves at the beginning of free-agency. The two needs everyone was on agreement about were addressed, but as always, we’ll have to wait and see. The Brian Urlacher situation is next up and I really can’t see him going anywhere else. Minnesota? Honestly? And not be able to play for a title? That doesn’t make much sense. His value is greatest here. And even if that isn’t reflected monetarily, his payoff would be during the first week of February, and wouldn’t that be worth more?
I’m really trying to get into the World Baseball Classic, but the only fun I’m getting from it is the “Larry Bowa cam” during the team USA games. He’s priceless. Of course that’s the Philly in me coming out but something has to keep my interest. The only time it was noticed by anyone in the bar was for the Canada-Mexico brawl. Nice way to sell the game internationally. I understand that for other countries this might be a big deal but for fans here it’s a big yawn. It’s kinda like World Cup soccer. I guess we have to get pounded by other counties and then get a “Dream Team” together to save the day until folks here will take notice. Wake me when that happens.
By now, we should all be working out the wagers for our Cubs-Sox bets. One sight I saw had the Cubs' wins over/under at 72 ½ and the Sox at 81. Call me a homer (or delirious!!) but I like the over for both. The Sox scare me right now. I can’t quite figure them out, but who has all the answers this early. I would put them at 85 but I wouldn’t feel great about it. The Cubs should be at the bottom of their division again, but I don’t see them at 61 wins again. At least right now, if they start trading again it could be a different story. I would set their number at 76. I don’t know how they will replace the eight wins against Houston but they can’t be 15-36 bad again versus Cincy/St. Lou/Mil can they? They still get three against Houston in interleague, but that is tempered by 14 games against Oakland, Texas, the Sox and the Angels. Last years’ 5-10 against the AL might look good. Still the Nyquil has me feeling good about the 76.
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And I can’t help but notice the uniforms being worn by Notre Dame in the Big East tournament I have on the TV while I’m typing this. They are hideous. Do you think Manti Te’o has one in his closet? I guess they are fitting for the last Big East tourney as we know it. I remember when that was the one conference tournament I looked forward to the most. Oh well.
What I am looking forward to is the action today in the Big Ten tournament. This has been the best conference top-to-bottom all year and hopefully the level of play will reflect that. Illinois won a big game on Thursday on the Brandon Paul jumper at the buzzer, which should ensure their dance ticket, but it would be fun if they had another win over Indiana left in them. That would be awesome. If not, it will be fun to watch the top seeds bang it out, setting up the path they will each have to take during the NCAA’s. For as we know in the NCAA’s, some paths are easier than others, and it will benefit one or two of these teams if they end up a number one seed. And as a side note, I’m glad the games are back in Chicago. This isn’t always a crazy college town, it’s a pro one, but when any tourney games are played here, be it conference or the Big Dance, the bar is always buzzing. Nice!
Well, it’s time to get back to the fantasy. Once again, I’ve been cursed with the first pick. In football, that decision, and position, blew up in my face, but with baseball, as always, hope springs eternal. Trout? Braun? Cabrera? I can’t go wrong, can I?
I’ll soon find out and hopefully, just as soon, I’ll be able to sleep without some Nyquil.