The Strasburg obession: The story of a fantasy league idiot
With yesterday’s announcement of Through The Fence Baseball’s fantasy leagues, I figured no time would be better than now to put together a piece detailing the absurdity, bone headedness, and the lack of overall intelligence on my part during one of my fantasy leagues last year.
First, the league I’m speaking of is commissioned by the founder of this site, Jamie. The majority of the owners were coaches and staff members of the athletic department we worked for — it made for some memorable lunchtime smack talk. However, seeing as how my office was directly next to Jamie’s, it become a typical work day tradition to sit across from him at his desk and spend a solid hour working out trades to help boost the productivity of our teams.
This is the story of one of those trades — no, an obsession — gone horribly wrong.
I’m not sure how it started, or why it grew like it did, but a few weeks before the league’s live draft, I developed a major man crush on Stephen Strasburg. I was absolutely convinced that he was the next coming of Nolan Ryan. Or maybe just Jesus Christ. Either way, I had to have him — on my team, that is. Though recklessly devoted to acquiring his services, I remained rather logical in knowing that I could not spend an early draft pick on him. Many breakfast conversations with Jamie at the Cottage Corner (HANNAH!) equated to me becoming more and more convinced that I was going to go with Strasburg early in the draft. I didn’t want somebody else to snatch him up before I did. I knew that he wasn’t going to pitch in the Show right away — but I could place him on my bench and know that better days were coming for my team.
Come draft day, I decided to play it smart. First round, I went with Miquel Cabrera. Strasburg was still on the board. Second round gave me the opportunity to pick up Matt Holliday. Strasburg remained on the board. Kevin Youkillis and Jose Reyes went next in rounds three and four, respectively
I was getting antsy. Strasburg remained undrafted through four rounds. I convinced myself that it was only a matter of time before he would be gone. Dozens of my conversations with Jamie went racing through my head — one in particular. I had told him that I may not take Strasburg in the first round, but he’d be gone by the fifth. He called me an idiot. And then made fun of me for being Italian.
I had no other choice. I had committed myself to this decision. Directly after Ben Zobrist went to Team Joe Pockets as the 70th pick, team Your Congenitals (don’t ask) picked Stephen Strasburg as the 71st pick. The chat room said it all…
- Bahama Braves (Jamie): “You actually *explentive* did it. *Explentive*.
- Wood’s Rehab Counselor: “What the ****?”
- Team Joe Pockets: “This is fantasy baseball’s equivalent of Pearl Harbor.”
- Bridgeport Orioles: “Brad knows Strasburg is remaining in AAA right?”
- Team Your Congenitals: “Corndogs, mother ********, corndogs.”
Strasburg was officially mine. He would make his first appearance midseason and instantly lead my fantasy team to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, this saga takes a wild turn just around the midseason mark.
By midseason, my team was solid — but I needed more help. A HUGE overhaul was needed in order to prepare for the battles to come in the playoffs. To put into perspective the major change I did, only two players remained on my team from the draft — Chad Billingsley and Ryan Madson. After the mass shakeup, everybody else was either a free agent signing or somebody acquired through a trade.
After all my build up to acquire Strasburg, he was ultimately dealt away in a trade. On July 1st, at approximately 5:32am, Team Joe Pockets and myself reached a deal. In turn for giving away Jonny Gomes, Derek Lowe, and Stephen Strasburg, I received the services of Shane Victorino, Cole Hamels, and Freddy Garcia. I still think this was an excellent trade in terms of what my team needed — but seeing Strasburg go away broke my heart. Seriously.
Nonetheless, the trade helped solidify my team and I continued to win by minimal margins. The hole in my heart remained and I was dedicated to eventually receiving Strasburg back on my roster. Maybe a little too dedicated.
On Friday, May 14, I made the most idiotic, most boneheaded, most mind numbing trade in the history of fantasy baseball — all in order to get Strasburg back on my team. At this point, Jamie was the owner of Strasburg after receiving him in a trade from Joe Pockets.
I vividly remember the look on Jamie’s face when I watched him read his e-mail about the trade proposal. His reaction, I imagine, is what a killer whale looks like when it has a seizure. In hindsight, I guess he had the right to…
The trade gave me Ike Davis, Carlos Lee, and Stephen Strasburg. Not exactly a pot of fantasy elite players, but at least semi-respectable. Until you see Jamie’s end of the deal. For those three players, but mainly Strasburg, he received Matt Holliday, Miquel Cabrera, Shane Victorino, and Nelson Cruz.
Jamie went on to absolutely destroy the league the rest of the season on his way to the league championship. I somehow managed to hang on and finish in third place after making it to the semi-finals.
But I had Strasburg on my team. Almost no personal pride or dignity left, but I had Strasburg.