My fantasy this season: Don't lose to the chick

March 31, 1998

Tim Rowland

Perhaps you have not heard of Roderick Myers. If you haven't, I envy you. Unfortunately, I'm well aware that he is an outfielder for the Kansas City Royals. He bats left, throws left, was born in 1973, is in the first year of a two-year contract and is battling Jermaine Dye for the third outfield position.

Last year he missed half the season with a broken wrist. Right now he has a bruised thigh. If you would like, I can probably tell you what he prefers on his pizza.

Why should you care, you're wondering.

You should care because it significantly alters my mood about this time every year. Because I am an unwilling slave to that demon known as fantasy baseball.


Fantasy baseball is where about a dozen guys plus my colleague Julie get together to draft our own baseball rosters. Based on their statistics at year's end (RBI, stolen bases, saves, etc.) we calculate the winner.

The draft is this weekend. So on a week when I would normally be helping old ladies across the street or otherwise contributing to charity, I am instead locked into all those agate reports under the heading "transactions" to see whether a fellow such as Abraham Nunez has finally made the team.

Actually the pressure has gone up ever since Julie joined the league. None of us baseball-cap-wearing, two-day-growth sporting, carton-drinking guys wants to be the one who loses to the chick.

Sadly, I've made it a habit of losing to her. I've talked to Scott, the commissioner, about kicking her out of the league, but he says we need the dues.

So this year I vowed it would be different. Last month I went to Florida to do some "scouting" during spring training. I thought I could get the low-down from some of the players, which I probably could have if only I spoke Spanish. Raul Mondesi, for example, was very nice although he could have been calling me a green son of a lizard and I wouldn't have known the difference.

Somehow "Yo tengo deep thigh bruise" doesn't translate.

And by the way, while I'm on the subject of sports, permit me this gripe about NASCAR.

Why is it that any time a person gets good they change the rules?

The only thing, and I want to stress that, that I share with County Commissioner Ron Bowers is that we are both fans of Dale Jarrett. But he has the disadvantage of driving a Ford, which basically means that NASCAR is out to get him.

The racing people determined that the Fords were going too fast, so they hacked a few square inches off what is known in racing parlance as a "spoiler." For some reason this is a big deal.

I don't understand this.

Maybe NASCAR aficionados can answer this, but isn't the goal to go fast? This is like penalizing the Green Bay Packers for scoring too many touchdowns. Or sawing two inches off Michael Jordan's legs.

Maybe if they would pass a law that made them crash more often I would be in favor of it. (Or, like radio talk show hosts Don and Mike suggest, every 50 miles they release a deer onto the track).

But back to baseball. Sunday I went so far as to drive to Camden Yards to scout out the Mets in a pre-season game. I forget who won. I was too busy studying the swing of Bernard Gilkey.

I think he put on a little weight this year. Such is the problem with fantasy baseball. You don't pay any attention to the actual game.

But it makes no difference. After the end of a long, hard season the only thing that matters is whether or not I beat Julie.

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