Fantasy baseball adds to diamond lust

April 27, 2004|by TIM KOELBLE

If I ever questioned that my interest in baseball might be waning these days, all I have to do is thank fantasy baseball for keeping it at the level it is right now.In our Herald-Mail league, we have 20 teams split into two conferences, each with two five-team divisions, and we've started the year with non-division play.

While my team, Golden Dome, rolled in its first two games, I was having a tough one last week and really worried about the outcome against Julie Greene's Greene Machine.

I wasn't getting much pitching and the bats were relatively weak with the team I selected to start for the week. Most of all, I was not saying kind words about my shortstop, Derek Jeter, who gave me negative-seven points for the week.

I was in fear that once again I had to hold Florida's Dontrelle Willis in the highest esteem as he went against Atlanta Sunday night, hoping for something similar to his first two outings.


I feared I was in jeopardy of losing my perfect start, based on poor Friday and Saturday games and an unstable Sunday-afternoon production.

Fortunately, Willis' failure to produce victory didn't hurt as the Golden Dome prevailed, and I let out a huge sigh of relief Monday when the updated results were posted.

Now, all I have to do is worry about my next opponent, Bob Parasiliti's Italian Stallions, and I know he's gonna be ready to do some whippin' on my Domers.

And it looks like we're going to have to do something about Mark Keller and his Antietam Armadillos. He is rolling smack just short of a 300-point-per-week production. And down the road there'll be a stern test from Andy Mason and his West Washingtons as the two of us are tied at 3-0 in our division. Those editors will try and get you all the time.

Then, take a look at Tri-State editor Bill Kohler. His Blue and Gold Tornados are luckily wimping their way to a 3-0 start and in the three games he has outscored his opposition by the grand total of 15 points.

At any rate, you gotta love fantasy baseball. And Jeter, you better get it together!

NASCAR trash

I guess you could say Jeff Gordon has been on both ends of the deciding stick in the past two weeks.

Last week at Martinsville, Gordon couldn't repair his car under a red flag and went without a victory.

Sunday, in the Aarons 499 at Talladega, Gordon got the nod over Dale Earnhardt Jr. when NASCAR officials decided he was out front when Kevin Vickers' crash forced a six-lap finish under caution.

That's the way NASCAR has set up its races, but Earnhardt's fans certainly didn't like it as the Talladega track became littered with pop cans, beer cans and whatever other garbage could be hurled.

To all the player fights in sports, fans-charging-onto-the-field problems and many other obstacles professional leagues continue to face, NASCAR's fans can now be added to the classless list.

No doubt, it was a small minority of fans that littered Talladega, but it was that small portion that probably had too many portions of petrol in their tanks.

NFL draft winners

I'm sick of these whiners that masquerade as professional players.

Eli Manning is drafted first by San Diego, threatens to sit out a year because he doesn't want to play for the Chargers, but then gets his way and goes to New York for Phillip Rivers, who I think is far above Manning as a quality quarterback.

The NFL draft as a whole Saturday was in a state of confusion. Teams were being surprised with first-round choices and were taking nearly 10 minutes to make their selections.

As the first 10 went by the board, one of my most hated teams came through with what I think is the "steel of the draft" with the 11th pick, when Pittsburgh snatched up quarterback Ben Roethlisberger of Miami of Ohio.

It had been since 1980 when the Steelers last took a QB as a first-round pick (Mark Malone) and now they'll have a product that should be around for quite some time.

Conversely, my Cleveland Browns left us all scratching our heads once again with the first-round selection of tight end Kellen Winslow Jr.

I certainly disagreed with the Browns trading a simple draft spot, along with giving up a second-round pick this year and their first-round pick next year to have a shot at getting Winslow, who will now be reunited with Butch Davis. The Browns must be hoping Winslow will be the second coming of Ozzie Newsome.

If Davis doesn't get off to a fast, winning start in Cleveland in 2004, they won't be reunited for long.

Tim Koelble is a staff writer for The Herald-Mail. His column appears every other Tuesday. He can be reached at 301-733-5131, ext. 2311, or by e-mail at

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