I remember when fantasy sports became a thing.
I really got into it during high school and my favorites were fantasy basketball and baseball. I felt it was a greater challenge to be good in leagues that required day-to-day maintenance.
It took greater knowledge of the players, their trends, understanding matchups. This was also in a world before Facebook, Twitter, or Bleacher Report. Hell, I still had a Xanga, MySpace, and my Friendster account was still active. AOL Instant Messenger (or AIM) was the easiest way we all communicated.
It was like understanding “Moneyball” before everyone knew what it was.
My league opponents and I would be huddled around a classroom computer during lunch and be fixing our lineups one at a time. It was also a time to discuss trades and figure out how to completely fleece our classmates.
As I got older, maintaining that sort of dedication to a fantasy team became grueling. It took more research and more time. I didn’t want to spend hours every day trying to find out the best matchup against the Braves’ rookie left hander or the shooting percentages of players on a back-to-back in Denver.
I started having a lazy attitude about my teams even if I was in a league. I was the guy that would set his lineup in the first few weeks, disappear for two or three months, and then return just in time for the playoff push.
I’d find gems in free agency, somehow come up with combinations that worked against the league’s best, and do some damage in the postseason. I felt this gave me a greater challenge. Play from behind and pull the upsets.
I got back into the fantasy football ring in the past few years and it is a bit more my speed. Set my lineup once a week and forget its happening (although getting updates from the ESPN Fantasy app does keep my attention, sort of).
But a friend (and you know who you are) has gotten me to essentially be his fantasy baseball consultant. He had a pretty good idea of what to do but bounced some ideas off of me to see what I thought. He was in the playoff hunt and needed an extra boost.
Some free agents here, lineup shifts there. He snuck into the postseason as the bottom seed (sixth), won his first round matchup, then beat the top seeded team, and is now in a neck-and-neck race for his league title.
It reminded me how fun this part of fantasy sports was and now that I don’t work in sports, this may have to be my new outlet. *Cue the wife death stare*
I don’t think it will get that bad but then again the NBA season is just around the corner…