I’m in last place in my fantasy baseball league.
It’s a position I assume almost every year. There was the magic year when I finished something like sixth — out of 10.
I’ll take it.
Not because I worry about winning the league.
I worry about having fun. I pick players not because of their stat lines, but because they give great quotes, are a bit flaky, or have a certain pizzazz.
This last week my team did exceptionally well. It’s the best any team I have ever fielded has done in the 10-plus years I’ve been in the league.
One of the guys in the league e-mailed and said my stats were, “Fake news. You’re still in last.”
Thank you, Paul.
But I don’t care about stats.
Recently retired Washington Senators outfielder Jayson Werth recently said the game of baseball is being ruined by “nerds.” You know, front office types who care more about numbers (stats) than anything else.
And that’s kinda true. There are so many more stat lines attached to a player’s name than there ever has been. WAR? I have no idea what that means. But they figure a player’s WAR by calculating how many times he gets a drink from the water fountain during the seventh inning of any game played after 3 p.m. on a Thursday.
Unless it’s the second game of a double header.
There’s a plus and minus wins ratio thingy now that is somehow computed by a player’s batting average, his shoe size, and what he had for lunch on the second Tuesday of July, 2015.
Unless he’s a pitcher.
Then it’s the second Wednesday of October, 2014.
I miss the old stats, but they don’t carry weight anymore. Batting average, on base percentage, and errors are just the tip of the iceberg when determining a Major League Player’s ability anymore.
Hustle, clubhouse presence, intimidation no longer mean anything. There are no stat lines for Goose Gossage’s stare and moustache, for Bob Gibson’s glare, or Pete Rose and his hustle.
Or the fear the George Bretts, Mickey Mantles, and Ted Williamses of the world carried at the plate.
Or the chaos a Rickey Henderson or Jackie Robinson created on the base paths.
They don’t compute.
Grab a good WAR, pack in a good wins and losses ratio thingy and join the cookie-cutter baseball league.
Some day we’ll look back and say we miss The Game.
And the new generation will wonder what we are talking about? We have bigger and better and shiny numbers like we’ve never had before.
I’ll still be in last place.