Mark Richards

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Thursday, October 06, 2005

Tearing Down the Walls

For years I have played fantasy baseball. For years I have struggled to be successful. For years I have never been able to finish higher than 5th place. For years I have been frustrated by bad drafts and players having "down years". But that has all finally come to an end, as I Mark Richards, General Manager, Owner, and Manager of team Anal Leakage, have won the Dick Hertz 2005 fantasy baseball championship.

The story begins 7 years ago while I was still in college. The league was created by a few fraternity brothers of mine. I believed that I had more baseball knowledge than all of my competitors, but that is not that wins fantasy leagues. What wins fantasy leagues is not big name players. It's about having the best team assembled that will give you the most amount of points in all statistics...balance if you will. A player with 50 homeruns can win you as many games as a player with 50 steals. Unfortunately, I did not realize this at the time. Subsequently, I finished in 10th place out of 10 teams.

As time passed, some of my fraternity brothers were kicked out of the league for "fixing trades" and for not playing the season out to completion. In their places, UGA law students were added as they were in school with one of the elder league members. They added to my struggles as they were intelligent and knowledgeable sports fans. It is not necessarily that they were smarter, but they grasped the game better. I never fully understood the finer intricacies of fantasy baseball until this year.

The season started out perfectly. I had the best draft I have ever had by a longshot. My infield was easily the best in the league and there was actually quality pitching to support those stats as well. I even took a chance on old, broken down Ken Griffey Jr. who turned out to be a star most of the season. I knew it was going to be a good year. But then reality settled in. My first half was marred by inconsistent pitching. And once that came around, my luck ran out and the injury bug hit. After starting in the top half of the league, I had fallen to 8th place. Here we go again. I contemplated trading my top pitcher, Johan Santana, in a desperate move to change my luck, but decided that it was in my team's best interest to keep him because the law of averages said that his numbers would get better. And they did. And I picked up some surprising quality free agents. And then the season started to turn around.

A few weeks from the end of the season, I had clawed back into fifth place with my re-tooled lineup. And then the injuries hit again. I lost 4 starters for the season and despite being playoff eligible, I thought I was done for. I has season-long backups shouldering the load down the stretch. There was no chance of winning like this.

I entered the playoffs as a wildcard team needing 3 wins to bring home the championship. That is when the light clicked on for me and I understood how to win games in the league's scoring format. My position players were never the problem. All season long they were stars. My pitching is what cost me games. If I could get good starts out of my guys during their first outing of the week, I didn't have to pitch them again that same week. This would keep stats like ERA, WHIP, hits, walks, and hits low. The strategy worked. I tore through the playoffs beating the other wildcard team, the regular season winner, and finally, the third place team to win the championship. The games were not even close. Anal Leakage did some butt kickin' (pun intended obviously)!

This is my proudest fantasy sport moment. I have won league titles in football numerous times, but this is slightly different. Not only because it's my first time winning in baseball. Nor is it the fact that I have been in this league longer than any other. It comes down to the fact that I have struggled mightily over the years. But the struggle has ended and the final wall has been torn down.

Anal Leakage
Dick Hertz 2005 League Champion

3 Comments:

  • Excellent team name.

    By Blogger bobafred, at 3:56 PM  

  • Well not sure about excellent.....but I like it....hehe

    By Anonymous Tommy, at 1:00 PM  

  • I knew that team name would be right up your alley...pun intended. ;-)

    By Blogger Mark, at 1:37 PM  

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