Win or Lose, Mainly Lose: My Fantasy Sports Retirement Manifesto

About a decade ago, I had a brief love of auto racing, and by brief, I mean a matter of a weekend or two. At the same time, Yahoo! Sports had just started to run the fantasy sports field, and I was intrigued

by what Fantasy Sports were all about: at that point mainly spreadsheets and dropdown menus. So I signed up for a NASCAR fantasy driver league. Well, my infatuation with NASCAR lasted all of two weekends, and so did that fantasy league.

A few years later, a couple of fraternity brothers and I joined a football league that was based in Gainesville, Florida — as the Commissioner and most of the players attended the University of Florida. This was my first foray into the “real” smack talking, chat room using, relationship-destroying world that is fantasy football.

I still didn’t get it.

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t do terribly for my first time, finishing mid-pack in the 10 team league. I just didn’t really have a clue what I was doing. I didn’t understand how the waiver wire worked, or why I couldn’t drop certain players. So, I plodded along making after-the-fact moves, and not really wanting to break my team up (after all, I was their coach).

After 6+ years of fantasy football, all I can really say is that I am terrible at it, and still haven’t really learned how work the waiver wire, use my IR spots, and use QB/WR tandems to your advantage. Why is this, you ask? Well, mainly… I just don’t care. I am not one to spend all of my time watching SportsCenter for all the latest news. I have no desire to get up and watch NFL Network at 8:00am central time on a Sunday.

It’s funny though, my last year in that Florida league? I actually won the thing. How? I really couldn’t tell you.

There were also short affairs with fantasy hockey and fantasy baseball. I know nothing about hockey, and I really don’t care to learn. That’s not to say I dislike the sport, but I’ve never been one for cold weather. Baseball on the other hand, I played at a fairly competitive level, coach at the youth and high school levels, know plenty of the game’s history and roots, traditions, strategy, and superstitions. I can explain the infield fly rule in depth, and argue the strengths and weaknesses of small ball, to the power game. I can talk about arm slot, blocking techniques, and hitting drills. In other words, I consider myself pretty knowledgeable on the game itself.

Despite all this, I’m still terrible at fantasy baseball.

I’m going to say something heretical here: Fantasy Baseball is BORING. Baseball itself is nuanced and filled with tension. Fantasy baseball is filled with… you guessed it: spreadsheets and dropdown menus. For all those guys that are so fanatical about fantasy baseball, this is my advice. Go to a batting cage and hit some balls, play catch with your kid (hell, anybody).

Back to my point, I am retiring from fantasy sports. I will no longer be sucked in by the digital version of my friends sitting at a sports bar berating them for starting Bradford over Flacco, or get pissed that I lost by .5 on a recount Tuesday morning when the final scores come out. I will not care if Yadier Molina takes the sure out at first on a bunt instead of initiating the double play. I am going to sit back and enjoy my sports and watch when I want, and not watch when I don’t, not feeling obligated to do research on a 2nd string catcher from AAA Durham because some guy on the Big Club goes down.

And hockey? I guess I will watch, when they are not locked out, boycotting, or doing whatever it is the NHL does to keep hockey from actually going on.

Joe LaMonica lives in Saint Louis

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