Jonathan Gangi

Outside the Boxscore

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When It's Over

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

This week I'll give you my ideas for minimizing fantasy baseball withdrawals, then we'll hear from readers on their "lowlights" from this season.

Topic of the Week: When It's Over

The end of the fantasy baseball season can be exciting and depressing at the same time. For those who aren't in contention, mostly it's just depressing. For those who are in contention, this is what you've been waiting 11 months for. However, you also know that, even if you take home the title, the fun ends in less than a month. Then you have four and a half months until pitchers and catchers.

However your season may end, look on the bright side. This is a chance to catch up on all the non-fantasy aspects of your life (assuming there are some). It's kind of like that Simpsons episode when they remove the violence from Itchy & Scratchy, and all the kids go outside to play.

So, with that in mind, I've compiled a list of suggested activities to help you stave off your fantasy baseball withdrawals. Mostly, it's just stuff I'd do, but I figure if you like my column, maybe you'll have some shared interests. So here it is….

  • Get some practical stuff done. Mow the lawn. (By this time, you'll probably need a brush cutter.) Prepare your 2006 income tax return. Hang up those shirts your wife washed two weeks ago.
  • Take your wife out to the Olive Garden. Get the breadsticks with alfredo sauce. Trust me.
  • Rent Blades of Glory. I don't care what the critics say, anyone who doesn't laugh heartily at the sight of Will Ferrell skating around with Napoleon Dynamite's sock-enhanced package in his face needs to join Tight Asses Anonymous.
  • Download some comedy from John Heffron for your iPod. I downloaded stuff from this Last Comic Standing alum and Chris Rock, and I can tell you that Heffron is a hundred times funnier. He talks about stuff like the "suck ass" swing his dad built with the pole that always came out of the ground, the bath mat that's never supposed to get wet (according to his wife, of course), and how he longs for the days of living with his old roommate Rob who just used a sweatshirt for a bath mat.
  • Check out the following shows:
    • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (premieres on September 13 at 10:00 pm on FX). Just to give you an example, in one episode, one of the characters joins a pro-life rally so he can score chicks.
    • The Flight of the Conchords (season just ended but I assume you can get in through On Demand). New Zealand wannabe rockers try to make it in the music industry with ridiculous songs like "Business Time" about getting it on in the sack. Here's a sample lyric:

      When I'm down to my socks it's time for business
      That's why they're called business socks
      It's business
      It's business time

    • Curb Your Enthusiasm (premieres September 9 at 10:00 pm on HBO). Please don't tell me you're not watching this yet! It's the funniest thing on TV since Seinfeld (coincidentally brought to you by Seinfeld co-creator Larry David). It's one of those shows that constantly prompt you to wonder, "How did they think of that?" Like the episode in which a local deli names a sandwich after Larry, then Larry tries to trade sandwiches with Ted Danson, because Larry's sandwich is made with unfortunate ingredients like whitefish, sable cream cheese, capers, and onions. Or the time when Larry's wife and in-laws go off on him because an obituary he ordered got printed with a typo in "beloved aunt." (Hint: The "a" got replaced.)
    • UFC Unleashed (airs on Spike TV at various times). Why pay $49.95 when you can see all the great UFC fights for free? Most episodes show three fights, and you almost always get to see big stars like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, Georges St. Pierre, and BJ Penn. Also, I have to say that Joe Rogan might be the best sports commentator alive. I was never a fan of Fear Factor, but the dude shines when calling mixed martial arts fights. He really knows his stuff. Like he'll say, "He's gonna soften him up with some punches then try to get his right leg over {the opponent's} left leg and pass to full guard." Then the guy does exactly that.

Well, I hope that's useful. If all else fails, there's always fantasy football, hoops, and hockey!

The Trash Dump

To submit a question or comment to the Trash Dump, email

I don't understand these people who put their time and effort into leagues that have quitters and cheating commissioners. What the hell is the point? I also don't understand 10-team leagues that use both the AL and NL and then waste the time of people like yourself asking questions like, "I already have Vlad but Carlos Beltran looks like he's out of his slump, should I pick him up?" Christ, 12 teams AL only, straight 5 x 5 Roto. Grow a pair.
- Jim

Lol. Seriously, though, not everyone gets invited to join multiple leagues…and even if they do, they may prefer to play with a certain group (close buds, for example). So, they end up getting stuck in a sucky league, because even a sucky one is better than none.

Allright, so I saw the banter in your "Trash Dump" and had to weigh in on player rentals, or as we like to call them in our league, "short-term acquisitions." Anyone who feels that MLB does not allow "rentals" is fooling themselves. Every year, there are a number of teams who find themselves in a selling or buying position, and a lot of those are for 1-year contracts. With the trade deadline so early, a lot of players end up having to go through the waiver wire to be dealt. So the idea that we came up with in our league (head-to-head, 16-team league) was to duplicate essentially what happens in MLB, with both an early trade deadline and a waiver-trading process. The early trade deadline is Week 11….From the beginning of Week 12 to the end of Week 17, we have what is called a WATS (Waiver-Auction-Trade System) process. Any owner can list up to one player per week on WATS, and an owner outside of the league is designated to run it. It is just a simple email auction and bid system, with the following year's draft picks being the ransom. The system has two different categories; Conditional and Non-Conditional. In Non-Conditional WATS, an owner just places a guy on WATS, and the owner who submits the best claim (highest draft pick) for said player gets him. The Conditional WATS gets a bit tricky, but essentially it allows owners who want to build for next year the ability to pick up significant DP's while also giving those owners who are trying to win this year a chance to bulk up. We've been running the WATS system for three years now, and it has been a huge success.
- AP, Sacramento

Man, that is hardcore. Probably too hardcore for a lot of leagues, but I love it. Somewhat like FAAB, but the waiving team gets something in return. For the past few weeks, I've been essentially posing the question, "But what if player renting could be conducted in a fair, regulated manner?" Your system does exactly that. Well done.


The following are in response to last week's column on "lowlights."

June 22, Col at Tor: I have Brain Fuentes and Jeremy Acciardo in a league that counts blown saves and subtracts losses from wins. Game tied 6-6, top of the 10th. Acciardo, in relief, gives up two earned runs in two-thirds of an innings on a walk and three hits to set himself up for the loss. In the process of getting raked, Acciardo fails to last the inning, so he cannot get the win, even if the Jays rally. No problem. I have Fuentes, who now comes on for the save, with an 8-6 lead. Fuentes gets one out then gives up three straight singles, the last two of which are bloops, to load the bases. He then gives up another single to John McDonald (the John McDonald), a hit which scores two runs to tie the game. Matt Holliday's throw to the plate is late, and catcher Chris Ianetta throws the ball to Garrett Atkins at third, trying to get Chris Thigpen, who is already arriving at the base. The throw is wild and goes into left field, allowing Thigpen to trot home with the winning run. In the space of one inning, I lose a win and give up four earned runs and take on a WHIP of 72.00, a loss, and a blown save.
- Anonymous

My low light was-- after having already lost BJ Ryan, Miguel Tejeda, Hank Blalock and host of to injuries early in the season and before Al Reyes established himself as the TB closer--I traded Kevin Millar for Juan Salas. Before the was day is over he was suspended for 60 days. Then one month later, I traded Josh Fields for Justin Duchscherer, as all reports indicated he may take over closer duties for the A's as soon as he came off the DL. Of course, the day after the trade they announce season-ending surgery. So I gave away Millar and Fields for nothing. That pretty well summed up my season!
- Steve Rockwell, Mesa, AZ

Losing half my team to injury and a trade in a two week span was a lowlight for me. On July 23, I was in 3rd place of a 12-team NL only league, four points behind first, and 12 points ahead of 4th. (Top three spots are in the money.) Then the following players all got hurt: Hunter Pence, Chase Utley, Carlos Beltran, Shane Victorino, Michael Bourn, Ryan Madson, Chris Young (SD), Edgar Renteria, Renyel Pinto, and Chris Sampson. And Wilson Betemit was traded. I know not all those names are All Stars but in a competitive and shallow league you just can't replace that many bodies with anyone who's worth a damn. Today I'm in 4th place, five points behind 3rd and 20 points behind 2nd.
- David Kaleida

Every single update about Chris Carpenter after the pre-season is a lowlight. (Guess who built his pitching staff around Carpenter this year? Yup. ME! ) One lousy game, and then under the knife.
- Anonymous

Desperate for a middle man and some offense, I dealt for Tejada. He promptly went out and broke his wrist. I dealt him a couple of weeks later, only to see him come back early and find his power stroke again. This is the same team that nursed Mark Teixeira through his injury and slow start, only to see him jump to the NL and catch fire for Atlanta.
- Anonymous

I also had a couple of tough spots this year: I dropped Dustin Pedroia on the same day that he went five for five with a HR with five RBI. (I then changed my team name to Mighty Bad Timing.) Two weeks ago, I dropped Garrett Anderson on the day that he had two HR and 10 RBI.
- Mike

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