As you may recall, I am attempting to become a baseball fan this year. I took a big step in that direction by joining a fantasy baseball league on Yahoo. It’s a standard public league with 12 teams/managers and head-to-head scoring. My first real shock came when I found out that I was in a live draft league. I had actually thought that I’d signed up for a league with an automated draft because I knew that I wouldn’t have heard of enough of the players to pick my team, and I certainly wouldn’t know enough about the players that I had heard of to know which to draft and when. I was wrong, it wasn’t a auto-draft league. Here’s the story:
I signed up for the league while sitting here watching the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament on TV. After I had named my team and gone through that whole process it took me to my Fantasy Baseball ’09 home page which gave me a link to my team and said that I was waiting to be assigned to a league. I thought to myself “ok, cool. I wonder how long that takes” then exited out of that tab on my Firefox browser and went back to focusing the majority of my attention on basketball.
At some point about an hour later I thought “oh hey, I wonder if I’m in a league yet… maybe it will have already done the automated draft and I’ll be able to see who I have on my team” so I went back to the Yahoo Fantasy Baseball page and saw that I had been assigned to Yahoo Public League 235107. I clicked on my team to see if my roster had been set yet. To my surprise a little message popped up saying something along the lines of, “Your league is currently drafting. Click here to enter live draft.” What else was there to do? I clicked on the link to enter the draft, a little confused because I still thought I had signed up for an auto-draft league.
The draft window appeared and I saw that the first round was already over and I was almost on the clock for round two. It would certainly be an understatement to say that I was just a little surprised. But I thought to myself “don’t worry, just look at which positions you have vacant and then draft the players highest rated within those positions.” The computer had already picked my first round player for me. I had apparently taken David Wright, the third baseman for the New York Mets with the fourth overall pick.
My second round pick rolls around and since I only had a third baseman at this point I thought pitching would be important (NB: I was guessing. It sounded like it would be important, but beyond that it was nothing more than a shot in the dark.) so with the 21st overall pick I took Johan Santana, starting pitcher for the New York Mets. At this point I felt pretty good about myself. I had drafted a player that I’d heard of, which I figured had to mean he was at least decent because this meant that they had said his name enough times of Sports Center for it to stick in my head. I also had this David Wright character, who I hadn’t heard of before but I assumed that he must be pretty good if the computer took him fourth overall.
This is when things started to make me question myself quite a bit. My third round pick (28 overall) came up and I looked at the next group of highest rated players according to Yahoo and I said to myself “hey, I’ve heard of this Carlos Beltran guy, I’ll take him” and I was just about to click the “draft this player” button when I realized “oh (crap) he plays for the Mets. The only two players that I’ve picked so far play for the Mets. That can’t be a good thing.” I have absolutely no idea if it’s a good thing or not, but being used to playing fantasy football it certainly sent up a red flag in my mind. For those that don’t know, you typically don’t want too many of your starters on a fantasy football roster to be on the same team because they’ll all have the same bye week.
In retrospect, when I actually have time to think about it and don’t have a little timer counting down in the upper left part of my screen telling me how much time I have left to make my pick, I realize that I don’t think there is any equivalent to a bye week in Major League Baseball, granted I’m definitely not sure either way. So instead of taking Beltran, I grabbed another player that I had certainly heard of, Manny Ramirez, outfielder for the Los Angeles Dodgers. I knew that he was having issues getting a contract sorted out earlier in the off season, but that I had definitely heard since then that he had reached an agreement, signed a contract and had reported to spring training, and had even played some cricket recently.
But the seed of doubt had been planted. Should I have taken Beltran? Does it matter if you have a bunch of players from the same team? Is Manny better? I know I’ve heard of Manny Ramirez more than I’ve heard of Carlos Beltran. But being more in the spotlight doesn’t necessarily mean you’re better. At this point my head was spinning and my fourth round pick was approaching.
There was a ray of hope though. Brian Roberts, my new favorite player, was on the board and it appeared he was going to fall to me. He’s a second baseman, he plays for my Orioles (I’m still not real sure I feel comfortable calling them “my” Orioles yet, but I guess I have to start at some point) and he was one of the highest rated players left according to Yahoo. My fourth round pick was the 45th overall. Brian Roberts was taken 44th overall. The seed of doubt that had been planted quickly erupted into a Giant Sequoia.
I quickly looked at the group of highest rated player that I had left available to me according to Yahoo. I was hoping for names that meant something to me. I found two. The first name I saw was Alex Rodriguez and thought, “but I heard his name on ESPN recently and it had something to do with having surgery.” That’s not a good thing. The second name I saw was David Ortiz and thought, “he’s the Big Papi guy, right? The one with the funny hat commercial? And the other funny hat commercial?”
I had no idea. This all went through my head so fast and the little clock was ticking away the time left until the world would crash down around me! I quickly snatched up my cell phone, punched in the speed dial for Bryan, shared a few choice words with the phone for taking too long to ring and then he finally answered. Whew! I quickly blurted out, “Bryan, David Ortiz or A-Rod?” I of course failed to mention what round of the draft I was in, leaving Bryan to believe (and rightfully so) that I was in the first round and was simply looking at players whose names I knew. Bryan simply responded with one word.
“I think he’s been picked already.” (Of course he was picked already, he was taken with the second pick of the first round, but I didn’t know that. I was still assuming that Bryan would magically know I was in the fourth round.)
“Then take Hanley Ramirez.”
“I don’t see his name, man!” (At this point I’m frantically scrolling up and down the list of names, scanning for some name I’d never heard. *Gasp* Yeah yeah, I know. I caught on to the fact that I probably should have heard his name when I realized he was taken first overall in my league’s draft.)
“Who’s that?” (Another gasp. Yeah, I should probably know who he is too, he was taken third overall.)
“Dude, who’s been taken?”
“I dunno, man. I was going to take Brian Roberts but the guy right before me took him!”
“What? Why was he taken?” (Now I finally realize the mistake I’ve made in not telling Bryan what round we’re in.)
“We’re in the fourth round, he was one of the highest rated player left.”
“Oh yeah, Roberts probably would have been a good pick. I guess you should take Ortiz. A-Rod is hurt.”
I promptly drafted Ortiz. Bryan later second guessed himself on this because Ortiz “will be stuck at utility.” Whatever that means. The only time I have ever heard the word “utility” used in sports is when my dad explained to me what situation in golf you would use a utility wedge. Either way, I stayed on the phone with Bryan for the remainder of my fantasy draft and the rest of it went very smoothly because of it. The only part that was a little bit of a hitch was when my internet cut out right before I had to pick and the computer selected Matt Wieters in the 9th round with the 100th overall pick. This was a problem mainly because I had already taken Brian McCann in the 5th round and both of them are catchers. On the whole I think the draft went pretty well though, especially when I consider the fact that I wasn’t planning on doing a draft at all and one of my middle round picks was next to useless for me because my internet cut out.
I was originally planning on simply putting up my fantasy roster on here with a brief introduction. That was when I still thought I was in an auto-pick league. This probably worked out for the better. Here’s my roster:
C – Brian McCann, ATL
1B – Carlos Pena, TB
2B – Kelly Johnson, ATL
3B – David Wright, NYM
SS – Miguel Tejada, HOU
OF – Manny Ramirez, LAD
OF – Ryan Ludwick, STL
OF – Nelson Cruz – TEX
Util – David Ortiz – BOS
SP – Johan Santana – NYM
SP – Josh Beckett – BOS
RP – Matt Lindstrom – FLA
RP – Chris Perez – STL
P – John Lackey – LAA
P – Chien-Ming Wang – NYY
P – Jair Jurrjens – ATL
C – Matt Wieters – BAL
OF – Cameron Maybin – FLA
SS – Edgar Renteria – SF
SP – Manny Parra – MIL
SP – Tommy Hanson – ATL
Let me know what you think in a comment.
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