This is my confession: despite being in last place in my roto baseball league - my spot for the 2nd year in a row - and despite racking up more dollar cost transacations than a small country's GDP, I am hopelessly addicted to roto baseball.
I know, it's not as eyebrow-raising as David Duchoveny's recent admission. Baseball rarely causes such pause for thought, unless it's your first time hearing Manny Ramirez's nickname. And roto baseball, by law, generally isn't viewed with tremendous excitement except by baseball geeks like myself.
My league, the Capital City National League, is a keeper NL-only pool that counts 13 lucky souls as managers each trying to outsmart and outplay each other for the grand prize of approximately $1500. Not as exciting as that teaser mortgage you considered a couple of years ago, but not chump change either.
So, why am I in dead last again? Like last year, my pitching blew up, plain and simple. Last year it was bad luck, this year it was bad gambling.
Last year, Brad Penny was my ace by default when the Chris Carpenter Fiasco hit me square in the scoresheet after his first start. The quality in pitching experienced a sharp drop-off after him. To put my pitching squad in perspective, let's just say that Josh Hancock was one of my better pitchers. We all know the tragic ending his story had.
This year, I took a gamble on some highly-touted rookie pitchers, as well as a couple of old hands. Some have worked better than others, others not so much. Here is my current squad of pitchers, with those obtained by me in the auction draft in bold, and the dollar/point costs associated with each (free agent pick-ups and players obtained in trades are identified as such):
Johnny Cueto, 10
Chad Gaudin, 1 (trade)
Jair Jurrjens, 10
Clayton Kershaw, 5 (minor league draft last year)
J.C. Romero, 10 (free agent)
Jeff Samardzija, 10 (free agent)
Chris Volstad, 10 (free agent)
Kerry Wood, 2 (trade)
Barry Zito, 10 (trade)
At one point or another, I also had Pedro Martinez until I couldn't take it anymore. Homer Bailey also caused major conniption fits. Dave Riske lived up to his name. Bob Howry was just disappointing.
The obvious question is whether or not these players are worth the dollars/points they now possess in a 270 dollar/point draft. I'd say most are mispriced. Some, like Wood, are obvious bargains.
My hitters aren't too bad, either:
C Brad Ausmus, 1 (free agent)
C Josh Bard, 12
1B Rich Aurilia, 7
2B Luis O. Rodriguez, 10 (free agent)
3B Omar Infante, 10 (free agent)
SS Felipe Lopez, 16
MI Kelly Johnson, 5 (keeper from last year)
CI Yunel Escobar, 5 (trade)
OF Jim Edmonds, 2 (trade)
OF Geoff Jenkins, 1 (keeper from last year)
OF Jason Michaels, 10 (free agent)
OF Skip Schumaker, 1
OF Jayson Werth, 5
U Josh Anderson, 10 (free agent)
My minor leaguers consist of Cameron Maybin and Jordan Schaefer, whom I see has already started to shrug off the effects of his season-starting 50 game ban for HGH.
For a keeper league, it's really not a bad lineup. Missing some power (I used to own Matt Holliday, Chase Utley, and Garrett Atkins), but a decent base for next year.
And what makes it all addictive is the dynamic nature of baseball: the call-ups, the injuries, the trading, the plethora of what ifs, each of which could possibly set me on the path of respectability, payoff deliverance and roto salvation. The number-crunching and statistical analysis are just an added bonus.
So, without delving into the deeper world of psychoanalysis, this is the current state of my roto world. It's not for everyone, but for the guy in the middle of it all, it's awesome.
Feel free to share your roto anecdotes, teams, misfortunes... We're all in this together.