I have never been a good fantasy baseball/sports player. I play too much with my heart, and not enough with my head...and usually that comes back to bite me in the end. It's my Achilles Heel when it comes to fantasy sports. Mike Maroth is a perfect example of playing with my heart, not with my head.
You may remember Maroth as the young pitcher on the 2003 Detroit Tigers who challenged the record for losses in the season. He refused to sit out down the stretch, battled through the rest of the season, and finished with a 9-21 record for a team that lost 119 games.
I had Maroth on my team that year, and the next. I think my big rationale was that we weren't punished for losses, and I liked the fact that he went out and pitched every fifth day, and considering he lost 21 games, he didn't pitch horrendously. Maroth, if I remember correctly, was often the victim of one bad inning, where things would fall apart, and his ERA would rise as a result. But over the course of the season, Maroth improved, and on a better team he would have done much better. I was working in the TV sports business at the time, and there were times when Maroth would be taking no hitters into the sixth or seventh innings, and it would cross the wires as such...before he would implode (but the AP Sports Wire would alert when a pitcher had a no-hitter after about six innings). So I saw promise in Maroth, and I rewarded him by always making sure he was on my fantasy team.
I think most people do this - they develop a loyalty to a certain player who doesn't really help their team, but who they feel like they can reserve a spot on their fantasy team's bench for, just to say he's on their team. For me it's Maroth. For Dave in Brighton, if his blockbuster strategy allowed it, it would be Oliver Perez.
I think my loyalty, and my pulling for an underdog like Maroth, stems from a life of rooting for underachieving baseball teams and football teams. Sure, the Mets and Jets are doing well now, but the majority of my life has seen them struggling. I've stuck with them, though, and it's made me more loyal, more likely to block out the bad stuff and focus on the good. That's the way it was with Maroth.
Last year, he was pitching as well as anyone on the Tigers' staff as they made their dominant run through the American League, off to a 5-2 start with a 4.19 ERA...then he got hurt. I think he showed what kind of a pitcher he could be. And I think the St. Louis Cardinals saw that. And I think they made a great trade on Friday, acquiring Maroth from Detroit for a player to be named later. Unfortunately, with Maroth a Cardinal, my days of pulling for him may be nearing an end. I will, though, be keeping a close eye on his starts.
ANOTHER TRADE: On the radio show Thursday (www.blogtalkradio.com/johnnymets, I talked about how this weekend the Mets would be getting the A's' lineup at full strength, because Milton Bradley had just come back from injury. Well, I didn't realize there have been some issues between Bradley and the A's, and now he's been dealt out of Oakland - to the Royals, in exchange for pitcher Leo Nunez.
COMMENTS/E-MAIL: Hilarious comment by the Southern Bureau. I've not deleted Rodrigo's comment just so the Southern Bureau's stays relevant. And then there's this e-mail from Justin from NYC - always entertaining when Justin's in the inbox:
"time for another addition of "Justin was just as screwed up as johnny when he was a kid"
As far as the baseball card situation...
I can tell you the exact date of this occurrence.. cause it was the night Letterman debuted on CBS: August 30, 1993.
I slept at my friend Izzy's house that night, so we could watch the big show. (Billy Joel was the musical guest, by the way) But at about 9 o'clock we started leafing through his baseball cards. Both of us had boxes and boxes of cards.. as well as albums completely filled up. We decided to draft teams. So we grabbed a handful of random cards, spread them out on the floor, and drafted our teams. I have no idea what we were gonna do to determine which team was better, but we picked anyway. Well, that took about an hour.. but we wanted to keep going. So we grabbed another handful.. and started adding to our teams. 25 guys on the major league roster, and 25 on the minor league roster. Well, soon.. we each had a major league team, a AAA team, a AA team and three A teams. Then the trading began. All i remember is that he held me up for hours as I tried to acquire Mike Myers, cause i needed a situational lefty for my AAA team.
(Myers was a tigers farmhand at that point).
So.. we got so into it.. We barely watched letterman. It was background noise while we wheeled and dealed..."