Razzball is hosting this week’s Fantasy Roundtable. Aw yeah. Scroll to the end for my post. Feel free to add your story in the comments.
THE TOPIC: Who do you consider your biggest fantasy baseball rival and describe your most gratifying victory and most painful defeat involving them?
Tim Dierkes – RotoAuthority
A former coworker of mine, Matt Richards. He talked a ton of shit in our office H2H league last year, and I just had to win. Many of the other teams quit on the league toward the end but Richards and I were going toe to toe. There were no innings or transaction limits, so it became a stream-a-thon. We’d both pick up any warm body who was starting the next day. It got to the point where I would set my alarm for 4am just to pick up the following day’s starters before he woke up. I did beat him. That was the only time I played him in a league.
Patrick Dicaprio – Fantasy Baseball Generals
Without naming names, I was in a high stakes league a few years ago where the commissioner was not only a colluder, he threatened to sue one of the owners in the league for emailing around a portion of the league’s constitution, which he had allegedly copyrighted even though it was written by the league itself (!)
Easily my most gratifying victory was being a new owner in that league and winning three years later. We developed a three year plan that included a complete rebuild in year one, cashing in year two and winning in year three. Over his cavil on this strategy, this plan worked like a charm, and it was my first victory in a high stakes league. Sadly though my worst defeat was two years later, my last in that league. We made the mistake of trading Johan Santana after a slow start for Mike Mussina. Santana promptly went on a ten game winning streak, and we fell from first to third. Ugh.
Pete Abbate – MLB Front Office/RotoNomics
My biggest fantasy baseball rival has to be my co-blogger at RotoNomics, Zach Piso. I got him into fantasy sports (football first, I had played with family and started talking to him about it), but he really has surpassed me in knowledge in many regards. We played in a head-to-head league with friends last season, and I started off the year with a nice victory over him. His team was definitely better coming out of the draft (I was playing with Ryan Shealy in my utility spot, that basically sums it up), but I still managed to beat him thanks largely to a Roy Oswalt complete game. He got the last laugh, however, because only the top three teams got into the playoffs, and he ended up beating me for the last spot by one victory. If there hadn’t been collusion amongst my friends, we would’ve both been in, but as it was, I was forced to watch the playoffs from home. This year, in a Roto league, I’m holding down second place with an underwhelming roster that includes David Wright, David Ortiz, and CC Sabathia. I’m hoping I’ll be able to catch him for a true victory by season’s end.
Mike Muschiano – Poughkeepsie Journal
Although I have it out for several friends in my longtime keeper league, only one person can be considered a true rival. That person happens to be in the family- my brother, Nick. Every match-up has a little bit more meaning than the rest. Granted, he used to live in the same house as me- there has to be a little more pride involved. Fortunately, last year was a special year for my team (league champ) and wins came a little bit easier. However, the year before was not the same story. That year was the first official season of our keeper league. It also happened to be the first season my brother became a
part of our league, as the new tenth member. After being blown out during week 1, I had a chance to bounce back with a win against my brother. However, I suffered an agonizing defeat by a good margin, 9-4. Besides facing his verbal abuse and smack talk about his win, my team would then hit rock bottom and find itself in dead last almost until the All-Star break. But Week 11 was a turning point. Week 11 marked the second match-up between my brother and my squad. Prior to the match-up, my brother spent that Sunday at dinner at my grandmother’s house running his mouth. However, I remained confident in my team and did not consider having any kind of fire sale. My team answered the call – thrashing my brother, 9-2, and evening the score. Since my team didn’t give me much to talk during the first half of the season, the win was very gratifying on more than one level. I became confident that my team was playoff-bound and more importantly, my brother would shut his mouth for the time being. That “time being” became almost a two year period, as my team would beat his all three times during the 2007 season. It is a new year and as brothers, this rivalry will certainly only continue to get better over the years.
Mike Sessa – Fantasy Phenoms
By far, the most painful experience I’ve had in my fantasy career (if it can be called a career) came at the end of the 2006 season. In my NL only, head to head points auction league, it came down to the last week of the season. Not only the last week, but the last game of the last week. And to take it one step further…it came down to the last inning of the last game of the last week of the season. Here’s the backdrop: going into the week, it was down to just me & the defending champ. He was 1 game ahead of me & we happened to be facing off against each other in the final week. The first tiebreaker was record in head to head matchups, followed by overall points. We had played 3 times before and he was up 2-1 on me. So if I won, it would have evened the season series at 2, meaning the tiebreaker would be points. I had a comfortable 500 point lead heading in, so it was win the week & I win the league. We were neck and neck and after all of the early games were finished, there was just one game left on the schedule – St. Louis at Milwaukee. Huge, because I had Carlos Villanueva throwing (it’s a weekly league and Villanueva was a nice 2 start option at the end of the season). A win from him would have put me up by a few points and sealed the deal on the title, and Villanueva came out pitching great. He had a shutout after 8 innings and even if he didn’t throw a complete game or a shutout, I would have won the week by a few points. Then…in the bottom of the 9th, Chris Duncan & Albert Pujols hit back to back HRs. Allowing the runs alone would have been fine because Villanueva was still in line for the win, but my opponent had Pujols. The positive points for Pujols combined with the negative points for Villanueva caused me to lose the week and the league, all with one swing of the bat in the last regular season game of 2006. It hurts me just to write about this even to this day. I had the best team but just couldn’t pull ahead. And in case you don’t believe me about how that game went down, here is the boxscore.
So how did I avenge this painful loss? It wasn’t an immediate strike, but it was effective. The next year I came out on a mission, won the league by a comfortable margin and prevented my nemesis form pulling off a three-peat. It’s a painful game sometimes, but the high from winning far outweighs the misery of losing…I think. Maybe not.
Jason Collette – RotoJunkie
My biggest rival is one Andrew Smith. Use his name, he’ll enjoy it. The guy has been the bane of my fantasy existence from the get-go as he is the first guy I made a trade with as I took over an abandoned team midway through the 1994 season. The pitching staff on this team was in shambles, and so when he offered Steve Trachsel for an injured Larry Walker, I took it. After all, I had just seen Trachsel throw a gem on WGN and Walker appeared to be out for the year. I follow that up in 1996 by trading him Ken Caminiti for Jeff King about two days before Caminiti went on the tear that earned him the NL MVP that season and I lost the league title that season by three points.
Rudy Gamble – Razzball
My longtime fantasy baseball nemesis is my blogmate Grey Albright. It’s like the equivalent of Yanks-Sawx + Cubs-Cardinals + Giants-Dodgers + some crazy European soccer rivalry.
It started maybe 10 years ago with a public 4×4 ESPN league. I won the league the first three seasons. Was it skill or luck? Both. Did I rub it in? Of course. So much like Yanks-Sawx fans, our rivalry began out of a storm front of success and resentment . The most gratifying victory was the 3rd one where, after a 2-year hiatus, I can back and whooped his ass on a team fueled by breakout seasons from Gagne and Soriano.
Bored by all the success, we changed things up. We added two other people we knew and moved to 5×5. All of a sudden, Grey started kicking my ass and won two seasons in a row – one that I faintly recall being a rout. Was it skill or luck? Both. Over the years, we’ve added friends who’ve served to add more drama to the proceedings. One season I trounced Grey only to have the season marred because another friend has a miracle stretch of streaming pitchers to beat me.
This all built up to last year where my team took an early lead. Grey’s team lurked in the distance making shrewd trade after trade where he was paying 80 cents on the dollar for players. As the season wore on, my team went to shit based on frustrating underperformers like D-Lee, J-Bay, Furcal, and Bonderman and he rode the wave of trade pickups + Peavy + Holliday to contention only to beat another friend on the luckiest single-day ever seen. Streamed 7 pitchers – none of them good – and ended up with like 5 wins and a sub 3.00 ERA.
If all this wasn’t bad enough, reviewing his friend DW’s role in last year’s victory drove me off the deep end. This guy 1) drafts Carpenter and Webb, leaving a gift-wrapped Peavy for Grey, 2) ‘Accidentally’ picks up Brandon Phillips the pick before me even though he’s got 2B/SS/MI and fucks me out of a monster season, and 3) Goes MIA for 2 months, won’t return any trade offers, and then suddenly agrees to trade Reyes to Grey for Vlad. WTF? You take this guy out of the equation and I win in a rout.
Ah, rivalries. The more bitter the better…