Well, being that we’re just a few days away from Spring Break — a nine-day period which, when all is said and done, is only remembered through hazy flashbacks, unremitting sun burns and awkward interactions with certain members of the opposite sex — we’re knockin’ on March’s doorstep. And while the month is defined by an assured madness on the college basketball front, March spawns a second sensation that breeds excessive sports nuttery across the land of the free: fantasy baseball.

Jess Cox

Although the beginning of February boasts the Super Bowl, overall, it is without a doubt the worst month in sports. And the forefather of all fantasy sports, fantasy baseball, rejuvenates any sports fan after these dire days.

But fantasy baseball is not all fun and games. The fantasy baseball season — which spans seven months including the draft — is the ultimate test of a sports fan’s will and dedication to America’s pastime. It can be a very grueling time period for everyone involved. So, as a seasoned veteran of the game (and columnist searching for any legitimate subject matter during a month that is highlighted by two effort-optional All-Star games and the Westminster Dog Show), I’m here to provide a few words of advice to any prospective fantasy baseball player.

Now, this isn’t a rundown of the potential “sleepers,” “busts” and “must-haves” in the draft pool — you can shell out a king’s ransom for one of those draft-guide magazines if you desire advice of that sort. But rather, I intend on providing you with a few basic suggestions that will help you fully enjoy the game and make it through the upcoming season without having a fire-sale of your team for an under-the-table payment from a shady contender.

(Yes ladies, if you’ve made it this far, I’d advise just flipping back to the crossword puzzle.)

Admit to yourself that you’re pathetic: This is the first step to becoming a master of fantasy ball. I mean come on, look at what you’re doing — it’s the sports fan’s answer to Dungeons and Dragons and Magic: The Gathering. Once you just acknowledge that your actions — such as spending four hours on a Saturday night to work through a “blockbuster” trade — are laughable, everything will run much smoother. A girlfriend’s chiding only persists when you’re in denial. Once you accept that your obsession is a bit curious, she accepts … or leaves. Regardless, she’s out of your hair.

No drinking and drafting: Despite the fact that the draft lasts upwards of three hours, refrain from the juice. The biggest consequence of making a Bud your bud during the draft is unnecessary homerism. Although it’s nice to have a slew of hometown boys on your roster, is this really smart? Maybe a better question would be: Are you a Yankees fan?

Also, you’re allotted 90 seconds for each pick and time flies at Concorde speeds when you’re having fun of the drunken sort.

Avoid Junior like the plague: No, this is NOT Ken Griffey Jr.’s big comeback year, and, no, he is NOT going to avoid injury this season. He’s Penny Hardaway on the diamond.

Nothing’s off limits in trade proposals: Whether we’re talking about a six-player blockbuster or Jorge Julio for Craig Biggio, no transaction should ever be complete without a variable. Personally, when I feel like I’m giving up a bit more than I’m receiving, I ask for “future considerations” — meaning that the person I’m dealing with will tilt a future trade a bit in my favor. But, I advise incorporating items that have absolutely nothing to do with the game. Lyle Overbay just doesn’t seem like enough compensation for C.C. Sabathia … how about Lyle Overbay and a 40? You’re nervous giving up Kevin Millwood for Shawn Green … what if Shawn Green includes a side of Red Hot Lovers cheese fries?

Don’t be “That Guy” in your league: “That Guy” is notorious for a laundry list of shenanigans that includes pimping the system through incessant waiver wire action, using the message board as a political forum, attempting to trade an injured player seconds after he has gone down, repeatedly proposing a trade that has already been rejected due to its unbelievable one-sidedness and ultra-hyping a less-than-average player in an attempt to up his trade value before just dropping this player once no owner bites. Just don’t be him.

Well prospective fantasy baseballers, those are my words of wisdom. Eh, I guess there is one more thing …

Disregard everything you’ve just read: Having never finished in the top-3 during any of my numerous years in fantasy baseball, I’ve never entered September with my eyes anywhere near the prize.

Usually they’re on one of those under-the-table payments.


Gennaro Filice can be reached at gfilice@umich.edu.


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