I’m currently playing fantasy baseball for the first time in five years, and I gave it up for a reason. Not only is it just a meaningless hobby that I do in my spare time, but it can also be a miserable, soul-crushing experience. It’s a lot of work preparing for your draft, then drafting completely on the fly because your plans go awry, and then spending the next six months making sure you remember to set your lineups for the next day every night before you go to bed. It was too just too exhausting for me, especially when my team was terrible.
So I ditched fantasy baseball and just stuck to fantasy football for a few years. Much more laid back, and much easier to keep up with. I usually played in just one league with a group of friends each year, but then I started enjoying it so much that a few years ago, I decided to expand my horizons and join three different leagues.
(I know that’s probably nothing for some of you, but for me, that’s a truck load of fantasy leagues.)
And you know what happened? I got burnt out on fantasy football too. So I swore off fantasy sports entirely for about a year, then I realized that I missed it. As frustrating and exhausting as it can be, it’s also addicting. Once you’ve done it once, it’s darn near impossible to give it up forever. When I have kids in the future, I’m going to make sure they know two things: never do drugs, and never play fantasy sports. Both of them will ruin your life.
So anyway, I got sucked back into the whole idea, and I even decided to give fantasy baseball another try. Now that I spend most of my time writing, I’m home a lot more often and have had extra time to commit to my fantasy team. I set my lineups every night, I follow the games throughout the day to see how my players are doing, and I’ve rediscovered just how much fun the whole experience is.
But at the same time, my team is teetering on the edge. I’ve spent the last month scratching and clawing to stay above the .500 mark. In a way, this is a good thing, because it’s kept me active and interested. I’m constantly making new additions to my team, picking up unsigned players who are in a groove, cutting players who are slumping, the whole shebang. Whatever I have to do to stay above .500 and keep my season alive.
My most recent move to keep the Stallions afloat was by adding Red Sox pitcher Eduardo Rodriguez. As any fantasy baseball nut knows, your starting pitchers are the players that can make or break your team, so I’ve always chosen my starting pitchers very carefully. On draft day, I handpicked both Chris Sale of the Red Sox and Luis Severino of the Yankees – two of the most dominant starters in the American League, and plus the whole Red Sox-Yankees thing adds a fun little wrinkle.
But it was time for some new blood, if nothing else, to shake up the team a little bit. So I added E-Rod, who has been in a nice little groove on the mound lately, with the hope that he can give the Stallions the extra push they need to get over the .500 hump. On Wednesday night, Rodriguez made his first official start as a member of my fantasy team. My nerves were completely out of control, because I was almost positive that I inadvertently cursed him by adding him to my team.
But fortunately, E-Rod was still riding his hot streak. He tossed 5.2 innings against the Tigers at Fenway Park, holding them to just one run on five hits with five strikeouts. He’s not a guy that is going to pitch deep into ballgames, but for the Red Sox, that’s not really something they need from their No. 4 starter. They just need a guy that can go out there and put the bullpen in position to finish the job.
Rodriguez did that for the Sox on Wednesday, as they beat the Tigers 7-1 to maintain their one-game lead on the Yankees in the AL East. And in the process, E-Rod also garnered 19 fantasy points for the Stallions – enough points to get the win for the day and give them a sizeable lead for the week.
For the time being, it looks like picking up Rodriguez wasn’t a bad decision. If he can turn in a couple more starts like this, he might just help get the Italian Stallions back into contention.
No pressure, E-Rod. No pressure.