Man, welcome back to the Fantasy League III update, the league that is so far ahead of the rest we're past bringing our T-Game and are well onto our Z-Game. Or should that be A-Game? Whatever, we're bringing some type of game and the type of game that we're bringing is the type of game that even Tony Plush can't bring. That's what we're bringing. Anyway, with the awesomeness that is
me the Brewers (sorry, I seem to be channelling Hyatt at the moment...) making it into first place all is well in the world. The sun is shining, birds are tweeting and, from the standings, just about every fantasy team in our league has a chance of making the play-offs. Onwards and upwards!
Week ten review
Stinky Cheese (321) beat Little Lebowski Under-Achievers (108)
If you're looking for a reason to support the Padres there's not all that much to go on. There's the old uniforms with perhaps the worst use of brown in a sports uniform since Coventry City decided to wear this. There's the fact that Anthony Rizzo might well become better known as a legitimate power-source rather than his current claim to fame of being the best player named after a Muppet since Rowlf McAtee patrolled the outfield for the 1990's Dodgers (an award Scooter Gennett will doubtless soon hold). And the only other interesting reason to watch the Pads is Heath Bell. One of the reasons I really like Heath Bell is the fact that it is almost impossible to refer to him by his surname alone despite the fact he's just about the only Bell in the majors (apart from Trevor Bell of the Angels but I don't even think his parents are aware he's in the big leagues and his girlfriend still reckons he's just popped down the shops to buy some cornflakes and the morning paper). It is as if it is a law that he has to be called “Heath Bell” rather than just “Bell”. Perhaps it is something to do with his first and surnames just having one syllable as there was a tricky winger for Norwich City a decade or so ago called Ruel Fox who every single commentator always referred to by his full name. Presumably in case he was referred to as just “Fox” and dimwitted East Anglian in-breds assumed that an actual member of the Canidae family of animals had miraculously shown enough ability at football to be picked by the excellently nicknamed “Tractor Boys”. Plus I think “Heath Bell” is possibly the only name in major league baseball that could conceivably be the official name of a type of butterfly. Although I'd guess you could spy a “Prince Fielder” daintily flying across a patch of bluebells. This week Heath Bell wasn't up to much as he cost LLUA 13 points. However, that was actually a damn fine performance when set alongside Colby Lewis and the fact he lost LLUA 47 whole points! Norris, League and Adam Jones all got his side 20 points but that wasn't enough as the odorous power of Stinky Cheese continues on. SC cashed in on huge weeks from the aforementioned Brewers first baseman (54 points) and Lester (41) with some decent assistance also from Verlander (28), Rubby De La Rosa (27) and Bartolo Colon (26) as he romped away with this one.
Bumpin' Ugglas (390) beat Social Anxiety All-Stars (226)
In this week's exciting biological facts I'm going with the information that humans coughs travel at about 60 miles an hour but a sneeze goes at about 100. That means that while Hussein Bolt can outrun a cough only his good friend Tony Plush can outrun a sneeze. Of course, that's given rise to many of Nyjer Morgan's best party tricks but the less said about those the better. They're kinda disgusting. Not as disgusting as the fact that your feet can produce a pint of sweat a day but its sort of up there. Its also not nearly as disgustingly sick as Bumpin' Ugglas win/loss record which now goes to 9-1 as he destroyed SAAS. It was mainly BU's pitching that was crazy, with Tommy Hanson scoring 52, Storen getting 34 and Daniel Hudson 31. Mr Onomatopoeia Brandon Boesch got 34 with other solid scores from CarGo (31) and Angel Pagan (28). SAAS had no chance against those type of scores and, unfortunately, his response was to lie down and die like a dog (harsh, but fair). Saying that, Adrian Beltre (30) and Austin Jackson (28) weren't too bad and Clay Buchholz an Brian Wilson each contributed 23 but it was never really going to be enough.
Poughkeepsie Footpickers (230) lost to MSKM (264)
You know when you were young and your parents repeatedly told you not to stick a knife down the toaster to get the toast out? And remember how you repeatedly ignored them until that day you got a mild electric shock and decided never to do it again (or, if you're like me, continued to tempt fate by still doing the same thing)? Well, it wasn't all that smart a move, but certainly not as stupid as standing next to a bloody-huge cannon in the 15th Century despite being warned over and over by experts that the cannon is still an unrefined weapon and has a big chance of exploding. That's what James II of Scotland did in the split seconds before his right leg was blown off when a huge cannon next to him exploded and he died of blood loss. If there was a mediaeval version of the Darwin Awards he'd have been one of the first to be nominated. Still, at least dying meant that he didn't have to be around any more to hear people call him “Fiery Face” in mocking tribute to the large birthmark on his face. Well, if my decision to carry on playing Ubaldo Jimenez (-1) is pretty much like James deciding to go and stand next to that cannon it was made even more stupid by also starting Westbrook (-3) against the ridiculous talents of the Brewers hitting line-up the other night. Still, I escaped with a relatively easy victory thanks mainly to, of all people, the man with the most non-descript name in the whole of baseball, Mr Scott Baker (42 points). Huston Street (30) continued to play well but my highest ranked hitter was McCutchen with only 22. Poughkeepsie would have won this had his pitching done a bit better than scoring -8 points as Morton (-18), CC (-8) and Harrison (also -8) all scuffled. His hitting, though, was majestic mainly due to Ellsbury (37) and two of the more surprising performances of the week from Melky Cabrera (31) and Todd Helton (33).
Never Gonna Give You Upton (227) beat The Team That I Refuse To Name (201)
Hmm, he's only averaging just under 2 points per game (a number of points Mark Kotsay would be devastated to get) but I've always been a fan of TTTIRTN's Nick Swisher. OK, so the whole “Is he a true Yankee or not?” rubbish is, errr, rubbish and his Dad played for both the Cards and the Cubs but I think he's quite an engaging type of guy, he was in Moneyball and he once donated his hair so that wigs could be made from it so he's all right in my books. Given the fact my receding hairline is fast becoming an actual non-existent hairline I'd have to grow my hair for about 12 years to have enough to make a wig from it and even then there might only be enough wiggage for a small child with leukemia or perhaps a couple of children's dolls or something - perhaps I really need to go down the Wayne Rooney route. Anyway, my main reason for liking Swisher at the moment is his new commercial with Papelbon. I wouldn't really call it hilarious unless you're a fan of the no-method approach to acting that Papelbon has obviously taken, but Swisher most definitely has the most expressive eyebrows in commercials ever. You know that breakdancing move that everyone tries where you lock your hands in front of you and then get your arms to kinda rhythmically wave? Well, Swisher's brows look like they're doing that continually throughout the advert to the extent they appear as quintuple-jointed as Josh Collmenter's delivery. Its especially impressive given that they're relatively long and not bushy which is the normal shape of particularly impressive brows. At least they should make his significantly more easy to recognise. They're certainly more interesting that his current slumpy (yeah, slumpy!) performance this season, a poor hitting record which continued with 13 points this week. In fact, apart from JJ Hardy's 22 points the only other contribution was a humungous 40 points from Phillip Humber. NGGYU cruised home with a relatively balanced performance, thanks to 28 from Cuddyer, 26 from Cueto and other nice scores from Alcides Escobar (21), Weeks (20) and Beckett (20).
Bringing Home the Bacon (252) beat More Than A Feeling (242)
Unfortunately no-one knows the exact view that 17th Century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza (I'd sooo love it if there was a baseball player called Baruch...) took of baseball or any other sport but I'm guessing he never really got the point of it. When he could be bothered to look up from his day job of grinding lenses, a job which eventually killed him (and you think your job is bad) he'd probably state that there wasn't really a lot of point in all the excitement. For Spinoza there was nothing in nature that was contingent but everything was predetermined so, as a result (and no doubt dreadfully butchering Spinoza's ideas), there wouldn't really be any point in getting too excited about whether one team can hit a ball with a stick better than another team as it was all foreordained. Ultimately, it isn't Casey McGehee's fault that he's in a slump at the moment – his best option is to find “freedom” by understanding that its an entirely necessary part of the universe that he can't really hit a baseball at the moment. And as far as excuses for McGehee's slump go this year that's a pretty breathtaking one, with McGehee contributing -3 points for BhtB this week, whose hitting was basically solely down to Tulo (35) although his pitching was decent, led by Chacin, Marcum and Scherzer (29, 26 and 25 respectively). That helped him beat MTAF whose new owner arrived just in time to see them lose this one in the final three days. His hitters scored just under 200 points as Pedroia (34), Lee (30), Damon and Victorino (both 25) did well, although his pitching scored a mere 44 points – Hamels (29) and Anibal Sanchez (20) helped out although Sergio Sanchez (-16) and Brandon Morrow (-11) let him down somewhat.
Interestingly, Spinoza was also a sort of pantheist (and was pretty much excommunicated from Judaism as a result), believing that the world was a subset of God. To translate that into modern baseball terminology, he's basically saying that we've all got a small bit of Craig Counsell in us. And I can't work out if that is just freakishly bizarre or downright obscene...
Harvey's Wallbangers (297) beat Chin Music (293)
There's that common story out there about wasps being the only animal that there is no point in having in the world. The annihilation of every other animal on the planet would have at least a minor repercussion in the world's ecosystem from the minor (a few shed tears if all Giant Pandas die) to the major (the devastation that would ensue if there were no more beetles). Well, it sounds to me very much like an urban myth (and I'm sure Brandon Boesch, who majored in etymology as well as Hebrew Studies, would be able to confirm this) but if there's no point in wasps then there's even less point in parasitic wasps. The parasitic wasp is particularly disgusting because it effectively impregnates a living caterpillar with its eggs hatching inside its body until they are sufficiently grown to bite their way through the dying caterpillar's skin. As noted in this relatively disgusting link its all a bit like a weird insect version of Aliens. Given all this, I'm really seeing some potential parallels with Jose Reyes. Not so much due to the fact that Jose Reyes was born in the form of a large maggot bursting out of a Lepidopteral larvae (which is actually true) but due to his parasitical relationship with the Mets. I'm convinced that the worse the Mets get the better Reyes gets, almost as if he is sucking the very life force out of the rest of the team – he's currently averaging around 3 ½ points per game making him one of the best hitters in fantasy land at the moment and the rest of the Mets are about as effective as trying to have a successful political career as a party leader despite giving yourself the nickname “The Quiet Man”. Reyes got 29 for Chin Music as part of a decent batting line-up where Adrian Gonzalez (31), Braun (27) and Lind (25) also helped out. His pitching was mainly led by Stauffer (40), Jordan Zimmerman (38) and Venters (31). However, it was not enough to edge out HW, who got some serious points from his hitters. Big Papi crushed 43, with Kemp (36), Quentin (33) and Granderson (28) doing well. His pitching was a bit less powerful, although John Danks scored 42 points.
Craig Counsell's Steakhouse (135) lost to Phoenix Fire (233)
Now you may love Noam Chomsky or hate Noam Chomsky (although I think both sides would unite on the fact his writing style is to lucid prose what Tony Plush is to understatement) but, even if you're one of the many who don't like his political viewpoints, you've got to admire the sheer intellectual capacity of someone who can have revolutionised modern day linguistics and, in a completely different field, become one of the most quoted modern political commentators and critics. In fact, the story goes that there were some academics in Bulgaria a couple of decades ago who were convinced that there were actually two people called Noam Chomsky, one a linguist and one an anti-establishment thinker, as they presumed that no-one could be so smart as to do both things. In much the same vein, I was speaking to my next-door neighbour the other day (obviously something I try to avoid unless I can help it) and, after discussing the fortunes of various teams in the National League at present it slowly became apparent they seriously thought that there were two baseball players called Dan Uggla, one who was a mashing second-baseman who played for the Marlins and has mysteriously gone missing, and the other also a second-baseman who has just come up through the Braves system but has no power whatsoever. This week one of the Ugglas contributed 12 points in Phoenix's winning effort which isn't bad for him considering how things have been going. Konerko (34) and Halladay (27) were the highest scorers for PF while A Rod (23) was the only player for CCS to get over twenty. Plus Nyjer Morgan (9) scored more than CCS's entire pitching line-up which, when you consider it has Pineiro (-6), Guthrie (-2) and Penny (-3) in it isn't all that surprising.
Gold Glove Gamels (279) beat The Braun Supremacy (174)
Last week I reminisced about crazy Dan Osman, one of the rock climbing fraternity who believe that safety devices are for wimps and there's nothing better than scaling huge cliff faces with merely a small bag of chalk attached to your ass for protection. Well, Dan Osman has absolutely nothing on Kirk Jones. Absolutely nothing whatsoever. Kirk Jones looks Dan Osman straight in his eyes, spits in his face, calls him pathetic and challenges him to a blind-fold fencing duel. Why? That's just the way Kirk Jones rolls, baby... Actually, Kirk Jones is probably a remarkably well-adjusted guy these days but he hit the headlines in 2003 for being the first guy ever to go over the ludicrously dangerous Horseshoe Falls section of Niagara Falls and survive. Using no safety devices whatsoever. He was wondering about committing suicide and decided that going down the Falls would be some ridiculous Dice Man like test of whether he deserved to die. Or, as some claim, it was all an elaborate publicity stunt. But, then again, there's not many people who would undertake a “publicity stunt” where there was a 99% likelihood they would die without them having some slight psychiatric “issues” are there? There's three neat things about the story (if you exclude the whole crazy surviving Niagara Falls thing). Firstly, I remember when the incident happened some tourist who saw the event casually remarking about how they saw someone floating down the river on their back straight towards the waterfall as if they didn't have a care in the world. That's some mad-ass image. Secondly, the fact part of his fine was the $1,408 that the park lost due to being closed as a result of his escapade. I'm sure they could have calculated it down to the cents if they were reeeaaallly bothered. Third, the fact that Kirk Jones looks like “My Name is Earl” will in about 20 years, although if anyone from that series would miraculously emerge unscathed after swimming down Niagara it would have to be Randy. Anyway, GGG was doubtless as nonchalant as Kirk J was as he rolled on to another victory to keep within touching distance of the top two in the West division. Greinke scored 38 and Ben Zobrist 30 as he won convincingly with the small matter of a measly 51 points from Cliff Lee. TBS did very little in reply, although Liriano (37) and Cain (31) did well on the pitching side and V-Mart got 27 on the hitting side. Still, when you consider that Drew Stubbs (18) and Ian Kinsler (15) were the only three hitters to reach double figures it is clear where his side is being let down.
Power Leagues. I've done music a fair bit and haven't really touched on films at all. Its gonna be pretty simple this week with a great film for League 1 and an appalling one for League 5 and all types of nonsense in between. To make it slightly more complicated for myself each film has to be from a different country. Feel free to criticise as you see fit!
League 1 (Why can't someone playing for the Brew Crew be called Rocket?)
Poughkeepsie Footpickers – 867 (5-5, South)
Bumpin' Ugglas – 850 (9-1, South)
More Than A Feeling – 793 (8-2, East)
League 2 (Rick James has never sounded so good)
MSKM – 784 (6-4, North)
Gold Glove Gamels – 762 (6-4, West)
Social Anxiety All Stars – 748 (3-7, North)
League 3 (Hmmm. I really really wanted to like this and it was fairly serviceable as far as films go but was just expecting a little more. I guess its a bit like how a White Sox fan must be thinking about their team)
Chin Music – 743 (4-6, North)
Stinky Cheese – 726 (8-2, West)
Harvey's Wallbangers – 705 (5-5, South)
League 4 (Not quite sure why this film didn't get higher ratings – any film based around murderous ovines gets my votes)
Never Gonna Give You Upton – 682 (2-8, South)
Bringing Home the Bacon – 670 (7-3, West)
Phoenix Fire – 640 (4-6, East)
League 5 (Actually not all that bad a film as far as family films go but is penalised heavily for not using the delectable genius of Kelly McDonald in every single scene. The bastards)
- The Team I Refuse to Name - 632 (6-4, North)
Little Lebowski – 618 (4-6, East)
The Braun Supremacy – 529 (3-7, East)
Craig Counsell's Steakhouse – 521 (0-10, West)
Next Week's Match-Ups
The Braun Supremacy vs MSKM
Phoenix Fire vs Chin Music
More Than A Feeling vs Social Anxiety All-Stars
Little Lebowski Under Achievers vs The Team That I Refuse To Name
Stinky Cheese vs Never Gonna Give You Upton
Gold Glove Gamels vs Poughkeepsie Footpickers
Craig Counsell's Steakhouse ve Harvey's Wallbangers
Bringing Home the Bacon vs Bumpin' Ugglas
Match-up of the week
Bringing Home the Bacon vs Bumpin' Ugglas
Yeah, BhtB seems perpetually to be in the match-up of the week but that's solely because of the sick skills his team brings and the fact he's one place from first but one from third as the West shapes up to be the tightest league. Bumpin', however, has the best record in the league and is 4 games clear in the South so if he wins this one he'll be very confident of finishing in first place and will be celebrating by chilling out in Cancun for the rest of the regular season with scantily clad ladies who just luuurve his crazy fantasy baseball ways pouring him repeated cocktails and frolicking around him while us mere mortals struggle for points in front of our laptop screens as the monotonous rounds of fantasy action continue. This one should be close, with BhtB's Tulo, Choo, Marcum, Chacin, Scherzer, Shields and Marmol up against BU's McCann, Hosmer, CarGo, Jurrjens, Tommy Hanson, Daniel Hudson, Dillon Gee, Ogando, Cahill and Storen...