Oh yeah, the BCB Fantasy League III review is back to conjugate verbs and constipate nerds again with an exciting review of last week and an even more exciting preview of the next week's action. And, as promised, I've kept this write-up to only approximately the length of a Craig Counsell at-bat so you can't complain too much.
Last Wednesday you were all on the edge of your seats awaiting the Greinkemas Greinkepocalypse (little knowing that Greinkemas Greinkepocalype was actually a little known phrase in the Schwabian dialect of German that means "distinctly dissapointing start that will necessitate rapid alcohol intake") and doubtless you're in a similar state of anticipation awaiting the remainder of this post. I would call it the League III-pocalypse but that sounds about as dismal as Carl Crawford's slash line. Actually, "Carl Crawford's Slash Line" sounds to me like a cool baseball-related band name. Still not as good as "Warning Track Out" which is by far the best baseball band name yet to exist. In fact, I defy you to come up with something better. Are you feeling lucky, punk? Come on, calling yourself "The Baseball Project" is just lame and geeky. But not geeky in a good way. Anyway, you'd better not call them "THE Warning Track Outs" though because you're only allowed to have "The" at the start of your name and be cool if you're a 70's punk band. And don't start quoting me supposedly cool bands starting with "The" because I'll just deny they're any good even if its obvious that they are. Kinda like the same way my little brother once denied he was eating chocolate despite the fact he was sitting in the back of the car with a chocolate bar wrapper next to him and chocolate all over his face. And a half-eaten chocolate bar in the other hand. To cut a long story short, don't tell blatant lies or you too, like my brother, may grow up to be the mascot of a dodgy Scottish ice-hockey team. Or, more accurately, the moral of the opening paragraph is probably that if you want insightful baseball commentary rather than a collection of vague ramblings about nothing in particular you're best off skipping to straight after the jump where the talk is 100% fantasy baseball. Straight up, no chaser.
MSKM (265) lost to Social Anxiety All-Stars (316)
Legend has it that on the day of his 1649 execution King Charles I of England asked to wear two shirts in case the crowd saw him shivering on his way to the chopping block and thought he as shivering due to fear. Now, if it was me getting executed I'd like to think that a) I'd be thinking about other things rather than the exact thickness of my upper garments and b) I wouldn't really give a toss about the thoughts of anyone who was freakish enough to turn up to see me get my head chopped off. Anyway, in my darker moments when I'm all alone, the rain is battering at the window and my only comfort is a tumbler of whisky (which covers about 90% of the time for the average Scottish male) I like to think that similar fears and concerns about mortality are embedded in the brain of my head-to-head opponents each week. That's why I tried to lighten the mood last week in the match-up of the week section by making out that I really liked SAAS and was hoping he might beat me. I wasn't feeling particularly kind or benevolent towards SAAS, you see, more that I was worried that another defeat might send him over the edge like he was a new to baseball in 1993 and had decided that the Pirates looked a pretty dependable team to start supporting. Of course, I wasn't expecting SAAS to accumulate as crazy a pointage as Madonna's 1990 bras. As an indicator of SAAS's new-found fantasy genius here's a little quiz. Which of the following got more fantasy league points: Jason Bourgeois or any single Brewers position player. Yeah, you're right, its Mr Bourgeois with 27. OK, there's a slim chance there was a Brewer hitter with more points but, after our last week, I didn't really feel the need to check. Up until now Mr Bourgeois has mainly made his name by the classic tactic of combining a crazy surname with a ridiculously non-descript first name and that's almost good enough for me. However, If I had the surname Bourgeois I'd make sure I gave my kid a cool first name like "Shifty". Yeah, Shifty Bourgeois would be a killer name and would probably be worth an extra 2 or 3 fantasy league points per week. You wouldn't want to risk pitching inside to Shifty Bourgeois, would you? I bet he'd pitch spitballs too and sharpen his spikes prior to mad slides into second. Anyway, I only got remotely close because some of the scrubs on my side (Floyd 27, Farnsworth 24, Walker 24, Baker 22) decided to put in some effort and because SAAS seemed to have 2 or 3 guys on the DL each day. Mind you, Brian Wilson scored a scary 51 points for SAAS, combining with Buchholz 35 and CJ Wilson 34 to give him 178 pitching points in total and the highest overall total this week. Yep, a team that was 0-4 scored more points just from its pitching than five other teams in this league did across their entire sides.
The Braun Supremacy (283) lost to More Than A Feeling (314)
Man, I was so ready to complain about whacking up a huge total and, yet, getting beaten until I saw this one. TBS put up the third highest score this week but was unlucky in coming up against MTAF. He even had a nice lead going into the last day and scored a reasonable 37 points only for MTAF to go ludicrous with 94 points. The odd thing is that it wasn't like MTAF depended one one or two big names getting crazy scores as apart from Hamels (32) and Victorino (27) no-one got over 25 points for him. Sure, if you're looking for gaps you might look at an outfield with Kubel (14), Damon (16) and Ibanez (11) in it or question Homer Bailey (yet to start) and Ian Kennedy (4) but they're all "problems" most other teams would love to have. Getting Longoria just makes him team look pretty sick at the moment and the only way he can possibly lose the title is if Billy Butler's moobs grow so large they envelope and suffocate his entire squad. TBS falls to 1-4 despite his mashing last week as Hudson (32), Lincecum (28) and Liriano (24) pitched very effectively and were matched by solid, if unspectacular, hitting from Danny Valencia (21), Stubbs (18), DeJesus (18), Prado (17), Kinsler (16) and Alex Gordon (13). Saying that, you can see why TBS has struggled this season as you can't see those hitters being consistently good and healthy through the season. Knowing that your team's performed at its peak and has still been crushed by the mighty juggernaut of fantasy baseball power that is MTAF is a very sobering thought.
Never Gonna Give You Upton (132) lost to Harvey's Wallbangers (235)
In the last week's comments Yar Nivek remarked that the Scots stay awake due to a fear that Nessie will eat them if they go to sleep (thereby misunderstanding the well-known fact that Nessie, being a good Scottish beast only devours Sassenachs. Of course, for years the famous Surgeon photo were claimed as proof of the existence of the Monster until it was revealed later it was simply a toy submarine with a fake head stuck to it. At least it looked vaguely realistic. Very much unlike the infamous Cottingly Fairy pictures of fairies which, somehow, had thousands in the early 20th Century believing that fairies may be real despite the fact it clearly looked like someone had cut out some pictures of fairies and stuck them on a tree. Only recently was the entire UK forced to face the shocking truth that someone had actually cut out some pictures of fairies and stuck them on a tree. Even this, however, was a better attempt to defraud the public than NGGYU's attempt to pass off his side as a fantasy baseball team. It's not nice pointing out someone flaws but, really, Mark Kotsay (7) an Alcides Escobar (1) on the same side? At least Rollins (26), BJ Upton (24) and Derrek Lee (21) weren't too bad. Harvey's Wallbangers could have won this game comfortably by using just the following players: Carmona (35), Granderson (31), K-Rod (24), Michael Young (20) and any two out of Big Papi (19), Wandy (17), Maicer Izturis (17) or Soria (16).
Stinky Cheese (233) beat Craig Counsell's Steakhouse (121)
In my marginally less misanthropic moments I like to think that there is some good in everything. You might have to try really really hard to find it, but search hard enough and you can find it somewhere. Of course, this is just crazy hippy talk as some things are just pure unadulterated evil such as the troughs in Wrigley, but you get my drift. Still, in the reams and reams of pish that was Glam Rock you could find something unsullied such as Mott The Hoople's "All The Young Dudes", among the detritus at Manchester United there's the likeable Chicharito and sitting quietly on the roster at the Astros you can find Michael Bourn. Of course, All The Young Dudes is merely marginally less crap than anything else that's glam and Chicharito turned down a perfectly serviceable name in Javier Hernandez Balcazar that makes him sound like an Antonio Banderas character. Bourn in comparison is, well, a player for the Astros but he's still a touch better than the other roster-filler you find slumming it in Texas who have, by my own unique way of calculating, recently proven themselves completely inferior to the Brewers. Well, in everything apart from baseball perhaps. Anyway, I kinda quite like Bourn and he contributed a nice 10 points to SC this week but was hugely outscored by Verlander (33), Lester (26) and Arrieta (25) in a formidable pitching line-up and Vernon Wells (24), Alex Gonzales (21), Hanley Ramirez (18), Polanco (12) and Carlos Santana (11). CCS's points total got nowhere near due to a pitching total of 20 points (having Guthrie, -18, and Myers, -14, will do that to you) but did achieve my "Whoa! He did what?" moment of the week with Erick Aybar scoring 33 points. Normally if you were to be told that Erick Aybar got over a quarter of your team's points you'd be looking at an overall score still miles lower than the number of wins the Padres will achieve this year but not this week. PS How come Michael Bourn is 5 foot 11 inches? He always seemed to me to be was about 4 foot tall...
Bumpin' Ugglas (245) beat Poughkeepsie Footpickers (217)
OK, for those of you struggling to wade through this week's report I'll keep this one relatively short, using just one line from a recently-discovered notebook of Albert Einstein's which was found wrapped carefully in a scorecard from a 1934 Chicago Cubs vs Brooklyn Dodgers match (bizarrely, recent handwriting analysis has proved that the numerous insults towards the Cubs scrawled on the scorecard did indeed come from Einstein's own pen):
"Jurrjens (32), Storen (29), Hudson (25) > Ellsbury (32), Morton (20), Pujols (18)"
Don't ask me what it means though, I was always crap at physics.
Bringing Home the Bacon (171) lost to Gold Glove Gamels (237)
It seems like every week I write these reports there's the opportunity to make a cheap joke about some big-shot player getting caught for DUI. First there was Miggy Cabrera, then Derek Lowe and now Shin Soo Choo. Not that I'm in the habit of predicting DUIs for baseball players (but my money is safely on Casey McGehee or Nyjer as Brewer most likely to booze and drive) but I'd no way have guessed Choo would do that sort of thing. Anyway, it didn't seem to help BHtB and his fantasy league as Choo scored only 5 points this week, but does give me the chance for a bit of one-upmanship by recalling the story of legendary Scottish footballer Jimmy Johnstone who famously after a training session with the national team got so ridiculously drunk he had to be rescued by the coastguards after starting to drift across the Atlantic in a rowing boat. Ha! Beat that drunken Choo! Anyway, this was meant to be one of the best match-ups in the week but was more disappointing than every world heavyweight title fight since about, errm, forever. Only James Shields (21) scored over 20 for BHtB with GGG's performance being anchored by some exceptionally lucky performances from Lance Berkman (25) and Jaime Garcia (33). Perhaps when the latter has to face a batting line-up that is most potent than the crap, tasteless cider my parents used to buy me at restaurants when I was younger to try to "ease" me into adulthood his team might not do so well. Picking up Rays guys David Price (33) and Ben Zobrist (20) has also begun to pay off.
The Team That I Refuse to Name (160) beat Chin Music (140)
Way way way before Freakonomics became a huge publishing success the only previous attempt I was aware of to mix a number-related subject with another word to create something that sounds cool but is basically just maths trying to seem "cool" (in much the same way as, after a couple of pints, your Dad tries to seem cool by slagging off Jeff Suppan and asking how Brian Braun has been playing) was the song
"Nigganometry" by supposedly cerebral-lyricist Canibus. Now, I loved Canibus (who, incidentally, lived in London for a while) when he started but basically he was hip-hop's version of Mat Gamel - meant to be the next big thing, seemed promising at first but then didn't get the right opportunities and looks like he might fade away into obscurity - and not half as clever as he thought. For example, in amongst the crude fellatio related lyrics of Niggonometry he seriously posits the theory that the planet cannot be three-quarters water because if you "remove every living animal out of the sea, then wouldn't the world's ocean water level decrease?". Now, either he's got secret information from oceanographers that there is a truly truly mammoth giant squid or two out there or perhaps he should stick to the sex-and-hoes type stuff. It's a bit like TTTIRTN. To all intents and purposes he's a fantasy baseball genius and is now 4-1. His side has some really nice pick-ups there like Humber (8) and Hanrahan (16) on his side. But then, if he's so smart what is Chone Figgins doing on his roster? OK, he got you 12 points last week but, c'mon, it's Chone Figgins! He might help you scrape a victory over CM but will that really cut it when you reach play-off time? CM ran things close in this unentertaining embarrassment of a fantasy baseball match-up but needs to really strengthen his pitching (20 points). Yeah, who'd have put money on Dempster (13), Venters (16), Pineda (3), Richard (0) and the rest being worth less than Jason Bourgeois. OK, when I tell you that the rest of his pitchers included Jeff Francis (-7) it all becomes slightly less murky but still...
Little Lebowski Under Achievers (196) beat Phoenix Fire (174)
I've never seen The Great Escape but a co-worker has a picture of Steve McQueen on his Triumph motorbike and I'd seen it referenced so often as a legendary film moment that even I, an avowed film novice, felt obliged to watch. Perhaps it because we see so many neat special effects and examples of CGI wizardry that, when I watched the clip it seemed kinda lame. Yeah, it seemed a bit tense but, at the end of the day, the fence he jumped looked about 3 foot tall at most. Not so much The Great Escape as A Slightly Large Bunny-Hop (although the latter does sound like a good film). Its a bit like the performance of LLUA in beating PF. Sure, he came from behind to win this one when not many people would have expected him to manage it, but when we examine it in detail, his week looks a bit, errr, weak. Matt Holliday and the ghost of Derek Jeter both scored 22 points but not a single pitcher scored more than Brandon Beachy's 16 points. Plus, the man has a bizarre fetish for St Louis Cardinals relievers with Boggs (-9), Motte (0) and Sanchez (5) all having done time on his team this week. Phoenix would have won this comfortably but for his schizophrenic pitching. Sure, Halladay, Lowe and Gorzellany (24, 23, 20) all blitzed it but he was also saddled with Lackey, Kuroda, Fister and Moseley (-25, -16, -10, -12) who were entirely underwhelming. Don't worry, Fister did the same to me a couple of weeks ago so throw him back on the waiver wire and see which fool bites next. Actually, I'm editing this to state it was actually Jason Vargas I had for a short while which kinda proves what a non-entity Fister and the non-King Felix/Pineda pitching of the Mariners really is.
Power Rankings (or, the "How on earth am I only 3-2 when I'm third in the ranking and the other teams in my division are down the bottom?" rankings)
1) More Than A Feeling - 896 points (5-0 East)
2) Bumpin' Ugglas - 818 (4-1, South)
3) MSKM - 815 (3-2, North)
4) Gold Glove Gamels - 810 (3-2, West)
5) Steenky Cheese -777 (4-1, West)
6) Phoenix Fire - 741 (2-3, East)
7) Bringing Home the Bacon - 733 (3-2, West)
8) Harvey's Wallbangers - 729 (3-2, South)
9) The Braun Supremacy - 717 (1-4, East)
10) Little Lebowski - 694 (2-3, East)
11) Poughkeepsie Footpickers - 632 (1-4, South)
12) Team I Refuse to Name - 616 (4-1, North)
13) Social Anxiety All Stars - 612 (1-4, North)
14) Craig Counsell's Steakhouse - 563 (0-5, West)
15) Never Gonna Give You Upton - 526 (0-5, South)
16) Chin Music - 515 (2-3, North)
This week's match-ups
The Team I Refuse to Name vs MSKM
Little Lebowski Under Achievers vs The Braun Supremacy
More Than A Feeling vs Phoenix Fire
Bringing Home the Bacon vs Stinky Cheese
Craig Counsell's Steakhouse vs Gold Glove Gamels
Social Anxiety All Stars vs Chin Music
Bumpin' Ugglas vs Never Gonna Give You Upton
Harvey's Wallbangers vs Poughkeepsie Footpickers
Match-up of the Week: The Team I Refuse to Name vs MSKM
I know I went for my match last week but its going to have to happen again. Last time I faced up to TTIRTN I underwent a pain I had not experienced since the time I was 15 and had an accident in the men's changing room after a basketball game that involved my zip and a very personal part of my anatomy. This time I'm out for revenge after a 0.3 point defeat last time we met and it is, as they say, a dish best served cold. Unlike the time my Mum cooked up a dish called "Chicken Custard" (dredged out of a Victorian cookbook) which was a chilled dish as disgusting as it sounds and could not be "best served" in any way. In fact, if they ever market it the small section on the container that has a picture entitled "serving suggestion" (normally just a picture of the contents with a sprig of parsley on the side) would legally have to be left blank. Anyway, this week I'm bringing the pain.