Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald

Independent Student Newspaper Since 1969

The Badger Herald


Around the bases with fantasy hints

So the Wisconsin basketball team's semi-magical season is over. What is there to do now?

You could watch the rest of the NCAA tournament, but it almost certainly won't be the same — sort of like staying at the prom after your date went to dance with someone else… for good.

You could move on to the NBA. But then again, just because you could pour an entire jar of mayonnaise into your shoes before going to class doesn't mean you should.


So what is there left to do? Study. Study hard. Study like there's no next Tuesday, but not for zoology, botany, yoga or that killer political science class (with the professor who always wears Cosby sweaters and shuns all words containing less than 17 syllables). You need to study up for your fantasy baseball draft.

Believe it or not, the MLB season is only two weeks away. And while baseball is America's pastime and as much a part of summer as mowing the lawn or getting stuck to hot leather (or pleather) car seats, it's hard to argue the season doesn't tend to drag a bit. That's where the miracle of fantasy baseball comes in, keeping even the mid-August Devil Rays-Royals matchup of interest — though admittedly mostly in the way that a 24-car pileup in the opposite lane on the interstate is "of interest."

So here is your step-by-step guide to forming a fantasy baseball juggernaut so that it might compare to the successes of The Big Red Machine or the late '80s/early '90s Hulk Hogan. You just need to follow the "Four R's."

Step 1: Research

Pick up a fantasy baseball magazine or two, like ESPN magazine's preview and stash it in your backpack. Then, instead of wasting time on a crossword puzzle or Sudoku (Satan's game of choice), yank it out during the next lecture that has you about ready to count sheep.

You don't have to be an expert by any means to excel at fantasy baseball. You just have to stand on the shoulders of giants… or nerds, depending on how you view those who accurately rank players' fantasy prowess. Try and get a player ranked in the top 10 as your starter at each position and then pick backups based on your biases. For example, if you are a big Sopranos fan, pick up Paul Lo Duca later, since with a name like Lo Duca, he's at least related to an Italian mobster, if not one himself.

Step 2: Ruin

Now fantasy purists are going to cringe at what I'm about to tell you. Create a FREE competitive team account online, and then create a fake account to scout how drafts are running.

Note: Sure, there are true mock drafts out there and you could try and minimize league trashing by joining a "just-for-fun" league, where opposing managers are unlikely to care if you ignore your team. But the fact is the draft won't be as realistic with goofballs like you diluting the draft accuracy.

Create a team name like "Cardinal Sin" and then only draft St. Louis Cardinals, or "His Name Is My Name Too" and only draft players named "John." You get the drift. The important thing to do, though, is to carefully watch the first three or four rounds to see where exactly the key players are going, so you don't reach for picks or so you know when to grab your favorite player (For you Brewer fans, Derrick Turnbow is expected to be gone by the 12th overall pick, so don't wait on him).

Step 3: Rally cap

When it comes time for your draft, remember the most important piece of equipment in any baseball player's arsenal. No, not the jockstrap, but the rally cap.

The good fortune that comes with donning the backward, inside-out headgear can mean the difference between polishing up your championship trophy or washing your bud's car for finishing in last place in your league.

Stick to your guns, just like James Bond or Dirty Harry and trust your research, because in truth, the draft is the least important part of fantasy baseball, paling in comparison to the magnitude of…

Step 4: Revise

Players get hurt, go bad, get suspended and get beaned by Roger Clemens often enough that in the end, the one who wins the baseball league is the last man standing in terms of paying attention to his or her team. Those who revise their rosters every day almost always beat out the tortoise and the hare in this race.

That's right — fantasy baseball is the fantasy sports equivalent to the old department store/carnival "Who can keep their hand on the washing machine longest to win said appliance" contest. So if you can simply remember to update your team right after checking your e-mail, then make room next to the spelling bee trophies for some new hardware.

Just remember to follow this Bob Wiley-style baby stepping program to fantasy dominance. Research, ruin, rally cap and revise.

Dave McGrath is a senior majoring in English and journalism. He will be choosing all Marlins under the team name "MadTown Fish Fry" in a Yahoo draft near you soon, and if he happens to trash your league's draft, he apologizes. Should you want to chastise him, you can reach him at [email protected].

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