Mark St. Amant

Fantasy Man-Crush Index

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Pregnant Pause

Tuesday, June 23, 2009


Last October, at a party in Philadelphia, my wife and I were chatting with a woman we didn't know too well, a friend of a friend's wife.

She was an austere, humorless, preppy little debutante, and pregnant with her fourth child, a progeny count she mentioned no fewer than 33 times in the span of five minutes after we mentioned we "only" had one daughter, as if her apparently BALCO-enhanced eggs were things to be praised by less virile strangers.

Oh, and by "little" I mean she was ginormous. She looked like Octomom . . . with a Galapagos tortoise jammed under her blouse. So even though the whole bar was abuzz with Phillies World Series fever, I, not wanting to be rude, was sucked into hearing her unsolicited theories on pregnancy and motherhood, feeding, and how to properly raise a child. And the whole time, in case we hadn't yet noticed and/or praised her for how great she looked despite being 19-months pregnant, she kept rubbing her own belly and smiling down at it as if to say, "I am the nurturing Earth Mother and you, sweet child, are yet another one of my wondrous miracles." So when we mentioned that we weren't sure whether we were going to have a second child, she looked at us with a weird combo of horror and pity, and with a derisive, pregger-than-thou tone, smiled and concluded, "Well, some people aren't up to it . . . and, anyway, you're not a real parent until you have more than one child."

Celia, far kinder with a much higher tolerance for frigid imbeciles than I, just nodded politely, fighting the urge to burst out laughing. But I, (A) having had several dozen drinks more than my patient wife and (B) being annoyed that this opinionated troll had stolen attention I should have been devoting to Carlos Ruiz's walk-off dribbler that just won Game 3, pointed at her gargantuan belly and asked, "I'm sorry, I forgot to ask: do you know who the father is yet? The Phillies have a 40-man roster and it's sometimes hard to be sure after so many Goldschlager shots." As her tight little smile dropped and she turned and walked away, I added, "My money's on Burrell."

The reason I recall this moment is we're on the cusp of having our second child. A boy. He could literally come any moment now. (I apologize in advance if this column ends abruptly.) And when little Mordecai "Three Finger" Brown St. Amant does arrive, I've promised myself not to be one of those smug, know-it-all, parents-of-multiple-kids that preaches unsolicited gospel to people, strangers or otherwise.

These types, sadly, are also inevitable in your fantasy leagues. Holier-than-thou armchair GMs who get up in everyone else's business, question every minor roster move, offer countless "Are you too #!$ing stupid to see that I'm trying to help your team?" trade offers, and basically suck the fun out of roto baseball for everyone. So, as we approach the midway point, please take a moment to pause and reflect on what type of owner you are and what you're adding to the league. And if you've recently written a three-paragraph home page posting mocking someone's "Add Kurt Suzuki, Drop John Baker" move, please, back away from the laptop and bash yourself in the skull with a ball-peen hammer.

And with that, which players have been especially virile (or impotent) lately?

RISERS

Kevin Slowey/Nick Blackburn: Much like Jason Marquis in the NL, Slowey is that "guy you'd never guess has as many wins as he does" guy. But after beating Houston on Friday, he notched his 10th victory (tied with Roy Halladay) against two losses, while upping his K/9 from 6.4 to almost 9. As for Blackburn, while he'll never K many guys (39 in 93 IP), in his last eight starts he's gone 4-0 with a 1.84 ERA lowering his season ERA from 4.32 to 3.09.

Geovany Soto: Clearly, all it takes is a little taunting and a recommendation last week -- "His upside is worth buying low if his owner has had enough" -- to get a guy going: .437 with 2 HRs his last six games. It's a start.

Corey Hart: A notoriously streaky hitter, Hart was hitting .239 on June 10. Now, after a 15-38 (.394)/3 HR/10 RBI/9 R streak, he's up to .263.

Scott Rolen: June's been kind to Rolen. Already at .308 to start the month, he's raised his average to .329 with a 24-60 (.400) stretch, chipping in 13 Runs. The HRs (1) and RBI (6) have been modest at best, but the average is a nice bonus for the career .284 hitter.

Cole Hamels: Coming off a 10 K performance that should have netted him his fifth win (had the Phils not scored just one measly run), Hamels seems to have put that brutal April – 0-2, 7.27 ERA, 1.79 WHIP, .365 BA against -- behind him. In nine starts (59 IP) since May, he's gone 4-1 with a 57/10 K/BB ratio, 3.31 ERA, 1.24 WHIP.

Jose Lopez: Like Tulo, here's is another young middle infielder who struggled out of the gates but turned it on recently: last ten games (de-railed, unfortunately, by a bereavement leave), Lopez hit 5 HR, knocked in 13 and raised a crappy .227 AVG to a still-kinda-crappy-but-better .248.

Troy Tulowitzki: Last 10 games: .413/3 HR/8 RBI/10 R/4 SB.

David Ortiz: Hey, it's only fair that we give the big fella credit for fighting out of his funk (and by "we" I mean me, as I'm the one who oh-so-hilariously called him Big Popup throughout April and May). And thanks to a .308/5 HR/12 RBI June wherein he's also nearly doubled his OPS (.520 to 1.054), he's back on the roto radar. That said, I'd immediately sell high to your league's Sox homer, especially if Papi doesn't gain 1B eligibility (in some leagues) in NL parks this week.

Alex Rios: Pedro Cerrano must be passing Jobu around the Jays' clubhouse. Like Rolen, Rios has enjoyed June, hitting .357 with 2 HR and 9 RBI over his past ten games. Better yet, he's finally running: 7 SBs this month, after just 4 in April and May combined.


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For two seasons, Mark St. Amant was the fantasy football writer for the New York Times.com. He is also the author of Committed: Confessions of a Fantasy Football Junkie and Just Kick It: Tales of an Underdog, Over-Age, Out-of-Place Semi-Pro Football Player, and has written for New York Times, Boston Globe Magazine and Salon.com.
Email :Mark St. Amant



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