I was sitting there, sweating, almost biting my nails, staring intently at the computer screen. After nearly three hours, J. J. Putz was gone. So was Yoenis Cespedes. But maybe, just maybe, I could steal Zack Cozart while no one was thinking about him.
Why, oh why, would I immerse myself in this madness? Neither you nor I would know any of these players if we passed them on the street. Yet one of these people I’d never heard of could make or break me.
Yes, I somehow got suckered into my coworker’s fantasy baseball league, the total time suck wherein one picks a team of major league ballplayers, then pits their stats against the stats of another team picked by someone else with too much free time. The coworker had become convinced I knew something about baseball, and there was only one way to prove her wrong: actually join the league. This was the draft, held shortly before the season started.
Her boyfriend, she said, was obsessed with this and had been planning his team for months. Others in the league had been doing about the same thing since last year’s ended. I had prepared with two things: a book (which was not about fantasy baseball; it was, instead, about its close relative, rotisserie baseball) and the season preview issue of Sports Illustrated.
And it wasn’t like I had spent a lot of time with those, either. Instead of poring through every baseball-related thing I could find, I instead came up with a creative team name after my favorite baseball-related “Simpsons” episode and wasted time trying to find a picture of Dancin’ Homer that I could squish into ESPN’s image guidelines.
But suddenly here we were, the 23rd round (of 25). I had picked up a lot of good players, made a few mistakes, and imbibed a lot of water. And my turn was again coming up.
This time, I was prepared. Was Cozart hurt? I asked Google. No. Was he terrible in spring training? I asked Google again. No. Do the experts like him? Mixed reviews.
There was the music signaling my turn. I drafted Cozart faster than a drag racer who switched his fuel to napalm. Then I sat back, relaxed, and wondered how long it was going to be until I had to get rid of him.