Did you miss me?
As noted by my snarky sister, things have been a bit quiet on the ol' Patio Boat the last couple of weeks. The blame can be set squarely on a combo platter of work, village business, travel, springlike weather, and a brief bout of illness -- with a side-order of two fantasy baseball drafts.
But are these feeble excuses good cause to deny you your (almost) daily dose of ... well, whatever it is that I dose you with? Eh, they'll have to do.
In any case, I'll try to catch back up with events of the last couple of weeks and get back to some more regular posting.
But first, it's the annual post that I know Susan has been anxiously awaiting: the unveiling of the rosters for my two fantasy baseball teams.
Let's start with your 2010 Adirondack Black Dogs. This is the keeper-league team that my brother Mike and I have co-owned for quite a few years in the New England Pine Tar League. The league is one that was started by the pharmacists in the Boston hospital in which he worked before he and Cathy moved out to Wyoming. That move has presented us with a logistical challenge for the last few years because you're supposed to attend the annual player auction in person.
Since there was no way Mike was going to make it to Boston from Wyoming to do our draft this year, I drove out to the draft from Detroit.
Yes, I drove all the way from Detroit to Boston to select players for an imaginary team. My geekiness knows no bounds. (I also took advantage of it as an excuse to swing by Glens Falls for a quick visit, but that's a story for a future post.) Alas, that didn't even win me the award for "travelled furthest to get to the draft" because one guy flew in from California.
Can I prove that I drove out to Boston for this thing? How can you the skeptical Patio Boat reader be assured that I'm not making all of this up, since any sane person born after 1875 or so would've just called in on the telephone?
I present you with photographic evidence, straight from the Dockside Bar in Wakefield, MA. (Curiously, the Dockside Bar isn't located anywhere near a dock, as near as I can tell.)
Indeed, we did have the Tennessee-Michigan State NCAA tournament game on a TV right in the middle of the rosters. As the only Detroiter in the room, I'm sure this was a conspiracy aimed directly at me.
Who says that fantasy baseball's a game for nerdy middle-aged men?
Your faithful bidder. I wore the "Approved by the Comics Code Authority" t-shirt, so that nobody would think I was too nerdy.
Equipped with laptop, cheat sheets, wifi access for the iPod Touch, I rostered ... um, some baseball players. Mike and I spent all of last year rebuilding this team after a 2008 disaster, so we expect to compete for the title this year. Here are the fine gentlemen who will be representing all things Adirondacky or Black Doggish in 2010 (at least until I trade them away for shiny trinkets and beads.)
Ladies and Gentlemen, your 2010 Adirondack Black Dogs:
C Napoli, Mike (LAA) - A power-hitting catcher.
C Shoppach, Kelly (TAM) - Another power-hitting catcher. A trend emerges at our catcher position. The discerning analyst will note that "a catcher who actually plays" isn't included in either description.
1B Cabrera, Miguel (DET) - Supposedly sober this year. I'm not sure if that will turn out to be a good thing.
3B Kouzmanoff, Kevin (OAK) - The alliteration of his name is probably better than his hitting.
1B/3B Wigginton, Ty (BAL) - Eh, we didn't pay much for him.
2B Izturis, Maicer (LAA) - If anybody knows how to pronounce "Maicer", please send us a note.
SS Pennington, Cliff (OAK) - Marginally faster than Cliff Claven.
MI Sizemore, Scott (DET) - A Detroit rookie that I paid too much for. This is why I couldn't afford any Red Sox for Mike. If he doesn't like it, he can stop using lame-ass excuses like "working 60 hours a week while completing his PharmD degree and taking care of a new baby," and haul his butt out to the next draft!
OF Crawford, Carl (TAM) - He's really, really fast.
OF Podsednik, Scott (KC) - Also really, really fast. Alas, that we usually only see his speed when he's running back to the dugout in shame after yet another strikeout.
OF Cruz, Nelson (TEX) - He's not really, really fast, but he is powerful.
OF DeJesus, David (KC) - He's not fast, but he makes up for it with a lack of power.
OF Sweeney, Ryan (OAK) - Like a slower, weaker David DeJesus.
OF Pie, Felix (BAL) - Mmmn ... pie.
P Baker, Scott (MIN) - A team with Pie needs a Baker.
P Hughes, Phil (NYY) - An utter failure as a starter in 2009. I had to find out if he could do that twice.
P Hochevar, Luke (KC) - Was even worse than Phil Hughes in 2009. Maybe that means he'll be better than Hughes in 2010.
P Price, David (TAM) - The Price was right!
P Porcello, Rick (DET) - A really good Tiger pitcher.
P Bonderman, Jeremy (DET) - Um ... also a Tiger pitcher.
P Gregg, Kevin (TOR) - I didn't really mean to get him, but ended up with him because I accidentally bid too much. Naturally, he's been our best pitcher so far this season.
P Valverde, Jose (DET) - Has already had his first blown save for the Tigers this year. The first of many, I'm sure. Man, I wish blown saves were a category in our league.
P Bailey, Andrew (OAK) - Within 12 hours of getting him, we found out that he had "tennis elbow." This guy is so bad that he's getting injured for the wrong sports!
We also pick some minor-league reserves in that league, too. So here's a list of six guys that you've never heard of:
1B Smoak, Justin (TEX)(R)
SS Beckham, Tim (TB)(R)
SS Triunfel, Carlos (SEA)(R)
C Tyler Flowers (ChW)(R)
LHP Mike Montgomery (KC)(R)
OF Ben Revere (Min)(R)
How is this motley crew doing so far? Five days into the season they're in first place by more than 25 points. This can only be seen as ironclad evidence of my superlative genius. Anybody who claims it's just an early season statistical anomaly is entirely and completely wrong.
But yes, dear reader, you noted that I said I had two fantasy baseball drafts, and no doubt you're anxious to know about the second team. The second team is in a league called the Baseball HQ Forum Masters league, which is made up of an assortment of guys who post on the forum boards at the Baseball HQ web site. What are we masters of? Mostly fast typing. But the other owners are pretty sharp rotisserie baseball players, and the league includes a few guys who have even been paid to write about fantasy baseball. That makes it about as close to an "experts league" as I'll likely ever get, so I'm inordinately proud to have won this league once and to have finished in the top-three in three of the four years that I've been in the league.
The draft itself is an online draft, so I could've done this one anywhere. I extended my wee visit in Glens Falls by another day, broke out my trusty laptop, and drafted from the dining room table at my folks house -- not ten feet from the porch in which we drafted teams for my very first fantasy baseball league back in 1991.
So, without further adieu, I present your 2010 Mirthful Mergansers
C Martinez, Victor (BOS) - Really, Mike should co-own this team not the Black Dogs, since I at least managed to draft a member of the Boston Red Sox for the Mergansers. By the way, if you're wondering how Mike views my failed attempts to secure a Red Sox for the Black Dogs? He has already classified my efforts in that league's auction as "an utter and complete failure" ... "a pox upon fantasy baseball and Red Sox Nation" and "a disgrace to all things Adirondacky or Black Doggish."
C Mauer, Joe (MIN) - My #1 pick. An injury-prone catcher. Oh sure, I could've gotten somebody healthy. But what fun is that?
1B Helton, Todd (COL) - First base is traditionally a power-hitter's position. Let's call this an untraditional pick. He makes me yearn for a return of the Steroid Era.
3B Rolen, Scott (CIN) - Kinda like an older and weaker Todd Helton.
3B Kouzmanoff, Kevin (OAK) - It's true. I loves me some alliteration at the hot corner.
3B Glaus, Troy (ATL) - Hasn't played a big-league game since 2008. I like to think he's well rested.
2B Roberts, Brian (BAL) - Is already injured after four games. That certainly reduces the stress I expected to feel this year while I waited for his inevitable injury.
SS/3B Tejada, Miguel (BAL) - Yes, my middle infield consists of two old Baltimore Orioles. This can't possibly work out well for me ... or for Baltimore.
SS/3B Peralta, Jhonny 3B (CLE) - Every team needs the son of dyslexic parents.
OF Lind, Adam (TOR) - May actually be good. Obviously has no place on this roster.
OF Victorino, Shane (PHI) - I thought "Victorino" would evince thoughts of "victory". Then after I picked him I found out it means "little victory." Maybe this means we should aspire for third place.
OF Damon, Johnny (DET) - Well, he used to be good when he was younger.
OF Jackson, Austin (DET) - I figured I had already taken one Yankee cast-off with Damon, so why not go for two?
OF Hunter, Torii (ANA) - I thought this pick meant I had drafted several players named "Torus". It turns out I just got an injury-prone Anaheim Angel.
SP Baker, Scott (MIN) - That's right, his frequent pitching meltdowns are going to cause me double indigestion because he's on both teams.
SP Duchscherer, Justin (OAK) - Best known for having a name that is very difficult to spell. Usually Duchscherer's frequent injuries leave his fantasy owners depressed. Last year he was so injured that he got depressed, too, and so missed the second half of the year with clinical depression. We have a word for that sort of pitcher on our team. We call him our "ace."
SP Halladay, Roy (PHI) - Is actually good. I must have pressed the wrong button.
SP Hughes, Phil (NYY) - Another pitcher on both of my teams. The Yankees decided to keep him active, but to not let him pitch for the first two weeks of the season. This may be a good thing because it limits the damage he can do to my statistics.
SP Kennedy, Ian (ARI) - Joining my Yankee castoff batters, a Yankee castoff pitcher.
SP Pavano, Carl (MIN) - Not so much another Yankee castoff pitcher as he is a "Yankee upchucked and violently ejected with the vomitous sounds" pitcher.
SP Wilson, C.J. (TEX) - Has yet to pitch well enough in the major leagues to earn a name, so he has to make do with initials until he does better.
RP Frasor, Jason (TOR) - The winner of the "closer most likely to get traded to some other team, where he will get demoted to a setup role" competition. When I found that out I thought, "I just have to have THAT guy."
RP Bailey, Andrew (OAK) - Yes, the same injured pitcher that I have on the other team. After I picked him for THIS team it was revealed that he had microfracture surgery and artificial cartillage injections over the Winter. The only reason that I can think of for picking him on both teams is that I must have great faith in Obama's health care reform.
These other guys probably won't play much, but I thought I'd comment on their stinkiness, anyway.
1B Branyan, Russell 1B (CLE) - Hit 31 HRs last year, and then got hurt. He's starting this year hurt, so I figure the principles of reflectivity mean that he'll hit 31 HRs after he comes back.
3B Gordon, Alex 3B (KC) - Look, another pre-injured corner infielder!
DH Thome, Jim DH (MIN) - The guy who isn't injured. He also isn't playing very much. But at least he isn't injured.
SS Pennington, Cliff (OAK) - Having him on both teams means that it'll hurt twice as much when he gets sent back down to the minors.
SP Kawakami, Kenshin (ATL) - Has so far proven that he's a bad pitcher in Japan and in the United States.
SP Liriano, Francisco (MIN) - Was really good back in 2006. I mean, he was really, really good back in 2006 ... before the elbow surgery.