Here were are again, a mere seven days after the most recent update. Doesn't time fly? Well, not really at all. In fact, I'm not sure which moves more slowly: the passage of time as Casey McGehee “runs” to first or Casey McGehee “running” to first. See, its some type of bizarre conundrum there – it might seem that the answer is that they both move at the same speed but once I'm sure that time moved so slowly that I once saw McGehee reach first base, went to the kitchen and poured myself a beer and, then, when I returned to watch the match he was still on first base. Of course, it might have just been that Casey had successfully beaten out the throw and was just waiting on first but when was the last time that happened? Actually, I think it might have happened once or twice in the last couple of days but I , for one, will be delighted when Casey finally returns to form. Anyway, perhaps its not so much of an “X-Files” moment as a “What-on-earth-is-he-waffling-on-about-now-Files” moment. Still, its been a good week in the fantasy baseball world including the mammoth daily total put up by NGGYU and the fact that so many teams are still in the race for finishing in the top two.
Week Eleven Review
Little Lebowski Under Achievers (216) beat The Team That I Refuse To Name (173)
I'm not the type of guy who particularly has any heroes. Sure, when I was a kid I idolised various sports stars for a while but then when I grew older and ended up seeing a few of them in local pubs I realised that a high proportion were complete idiots. If I had to choose someone as a hero now I might choose someone like Hiroo Onoda. Not so much for the fact that for seven months no-one in Japan was allowed to use the letter “o” as he'd used up the entire quota for 17 years, but because of the entire futility of the action that made him so well-known. To be honest, until he emerged from the jungles of Indonesia in 1972 and finally stopped continuing his own personal World War Two he was completely unknown but then when you've spent the previous 27 years living off coconuts and bananas and hiding in the undergrowth before the odd skirmish with locals that's hardly surprising. Until the last few months he had at least one fellow soldier with him and he refused to believe the war had ended until his commander came to order him to stand down. Its a bit like how I will refuse to accept that the opening day disaster against the Reds happened until John Axford himself comes to my house to admit it. Of course, the whole story is actually remarkably sad when you consider the loss in human life that was involved in the episode, but at the same time heroic when you take into account the sheer determination and fortitude he showed. Of course, this whole tale is a mere bagatelle compared to the unlikely heroics of Ty Wigginton whose 27 points top-scored for LLUA in a narrow-ish victory this week with Norris (23), CJ Lewis (22) and Holliday (20) also helping secure victory. TTIRTN dropped to second (ha – take that!) in the divisional standings as Swisher (29), Hanrahan (25), Chris Perez and JJ Hardy (both 21) failed to get enough support from elsewhere.
More Than A Feeling (245) beat Social Anxiety All-Stars (204)
Back in the days of Euclidean geometry everyone was quite happy with such self-evident truths as the common notions that “things that equal the same thing also equal each other”, “the whole is greater than the part”, “if equals are subtracted from equals then the remainders are equal” and a whole list of similar type axioms or statements that you probably had to learn by heart if you were at school in the 1930s and didn't have the good sense to get sent to borstal instead where you'd be whipped by cruel nuns and changed into an emotionally starved sub-human with little potential for love (or so reading countless Dave Pelzer-type books has taught me). Nonetheless Euclidean geometry seemed pretty self-evident until it was pointed out that it only really works on 2-dimensional shapes. As an example, draw a triangle on a sphere and you'll find the angles add up to more than 180 degrees whereas one drawn on the middle of a Pringle (a hyperbolic shape) would have angles of less than 180. As if fantasy baseball isn't nerdy enough, I've ruined many a party by discussing geeky geometric facts by drawing shapes on snacks. Well, its better than my usual party-ruining tactic of talking to people. Anyway, SAAS will doubtless have to resort to some mathematical trickery to explain how he lost this one by a good 40 points despite leading with a couple of days to go. Ultimately the answer will be some geometrical equation or something involving the fact that Mark Teixeira (30) only got support from Casey Kotchman and Gio Gonzales (both 21). Actually, The Teixeira Axiom sounds like quite a good made-up equation – well, its either that or an appalling Portuguese thriller that ends with the completely predictable “twist” that the evil character guy turns out to be the long-lost Dad of the hero character. Yep, in my mind all films from the Iberian peninsula are somehow based on Star Wars. That explains why I never understand any of Almodovar's films. That tangent aside, MTAF had Victorino (35) and Pedroia (23) leading his hitting and some excellent pitching from Hamels (27) and Vargas (26) – who, coincidentally faced each other last night – Morrow (23) and Kennedy (21). Ultimately, if that Seattle vs Phillies match had ended up like some our slog-fests vs the Red Sox SAAS might have won this one...
The Braun Supremacy (105) lost to MSKM (289)
Looked at from an anthropological point of view, the idea of slavery is a bit strange. The concept that certain humans would group together and willingly enslave another human is clearly wrong on so many moral levels, despite the fact that it continues today in various parts of the Third World (and, allegedly, some really expensive apartments in Manhattan). It's not like there's even any biological excuse for it. Apart, that is, from the slave-maker ant who are the main other species in the world to exhibit this behaviour. Actually, they're really really hardcore about it, with slaves being bred solely for the purpose of taking over other ant colonies, get food, feed their hosts and groom the larvae and queen. In fact, this has led to a high level of dependence, with regular ants dying if the slaves don't get them food even if food is made available to them another way. And you thought HamRam failing to leg out another grounder was being lazy. Anyway, it might be a bit unfortunate, but I'm making TBS my personal slave after the beat-down I gave him last week. None of my hitters scored over 20 but Arroyo (36), Scott Baker (31) and Bedard (26) more than made up for it. In response, TBS merely offered Kinsler (25), Cain (22) and V-Mart (21). Nolasco (-32) and Porcello (-21) didn't help matters and have made me wonder whether there was a particular curse on pitchers whose surnames end in -o given the difficulties YoGa had the other night. Of course, I'll have weightier matters on my mind such as how long its going to take TBS to strip the wallpaper in my room, whether he can mix a decent Pina Colada and whether he has time tonight to fix the oil leak in my car (answer: yes, of course...).
Craig Counsell's Steakhouse (201) lost to Harvey's Wallbangers (267)
If you're going to go out you might as well do it in style. Recent research has uncovered numerous fantastic ways that Tudors died from shooting yourself with an arrow, being bitten by runaway bears, drowning in sewage and, errr, a testicle injury caused by “playinge Christenmas games”. The particular “Christenmas game” which caused said rupturing remains unknown but it wouldn't surprise me if it was the little-known December-time game of “Mallet-balls”. Or perhaps that should be “Mallette-bals”. Mind you, I'm not exactly sure how you can die from a testicle injury but doubtless in those days having an injured testicle was the sign of being the devil incarnate and he was summarily stoned unto death. Well, whatever the precise nature of the entirely made-up game might have been, CCS is certainly going out in style, having managed to lose ever single match-up so far. Again, he was a bit unlucky as he'd have beaten six other teams with his score this week but unfortunately came up against a solid performance from HW. CCS's hitting was pretty good, with Miggy (33), Cano (29) and Arod (23) scoring well but his pitching was non-existent with Jeremy Guthrie (13) being top-scorer. Yes, Jeremy Guthrie! In contrast, HW had good pitching from Wandy (41), Livan Hernandez (31) and Danks (22) while Curtis Granderson (20) was his top hitter.
Phoenix Fire (174) lost to Chin Music (248)
Back in 1957 a psychologist called Leo Festinger decided to investigate a religious cult who believed that the world was about to end and had been proselytising to that effect for a while. Careful study of the Bible had revealed to the group that the Bible was due to end on a specific date due to the arrival of a huge flood which would envelope the earth. Of course, Festinger knew that come the stated day the flood would not arrive but the big question is his mind was how the group would react to what would appear to be a devastating refutation of their rigidly-held views. What was really interesting, and formed the cornerstone of Festinger's theory of cognitive dissonance, was that while those on the fringes of the group came to accept that they had been in error those at the core took the view that the fact the flood had not happened simply proved that they had been so steadfast in their faith that the Lord had decided to spare the world. According to cognitive dissonance, the core group's need to keep cognitive consistency gave rise to irrational and ridiculous explanations as the alternative would have been the collapse of their entire way of thinking. Given this theory, I am concerned as to the possible explanation that PF can have for his defeat this week and, in particular, the fact that Jay Bruce, Roy Halladay and Chad Billingsley combined for a grand total of -10 points. OK, so Pelfrey (33), Chris Young (23), Jemile Weeks and Konerko (both 20) didn't do too badly but was nowhere near enough to beat CM whose hitters contribution of 259 more than made up for a mere 37.5 from his pitchers (mainly Jordan Zimmerman with 20). Morse (36), Espinosa (35), A-Gon (31), Lind and Reyes (both 32) all more than made up for a mere 25 from some guy called Ryan Braun.
Bringing Home the Bacon (311) beat Bumpin' Ugglas (199)
I've recently began paying a slight bit of attention to astronomy. Its gaining popularity over here in the UK due to a couple of popular TV programmes and now it seems like every third or fourth person you meet is happy expounding on ideas about the Hubble telescope or the life-cycle of nebulae or something similarly dorky sounding. I wouldn't go so far to see that I've got a particular interest in astronomy or really know anything about it but its something that my son's asked questions about so I've ended up feeling obliged to buy a couple of books in an attempt to seem knowledgeable. Anyway, there's loads of interesting facts and theories in astronomy, even if the science behind them can get remarkably complicated and use obviously made-up words like “quark”. My favourite fact at the moment is that a year on the planet Venus last longer than a day on the planet Venus. How come? As a year is the time that a planet takes to go around the Sun and Venus is quite close to the Sun it's year is relatively short (225 Earth days), but as a day is the amount of time a planet takes to rotate on its axis and Venus is slow to rotate it's day is really long (243 Earth days). Also, with the possible exception of Uranus, Venus is the only planet to rotate clockwise as all the other planets rotate anti-clockwise. This means that on Venus the Sun rises in the West and sets in the East. Although its pretty counter-intuitive it is pretty cool, huh? Mind you, when all is said and done, the respective length of days and years on Venus is not quite as counter-intuitive as Bumpin' Ugglas complete non-performance this week. Its not so much that he lost, but that such a powerful team laid down like the proverbial dog (and even like the non-proverbial dog) and took such a beating. Boesch (29), Daniel Hudson (27), Castro (24), Pagan and Cordero (23) scored well but he was let down by Ogando (-20) and Cahill (-15). BhtB had a superlative week from his pitching, primarily in the form of Big Game James (59) ably assisted by Romero (29, Chacin (22) and Marmol (21). Choo (21) and Rolen (19) had the most noticeable hitting performances of the week for his side.
Stinky Cheese (197) lost to Never Gonna Give You Upton (428)
Much of the way we watch modern baseball is due to Sir Francis Galton. Every time we talk about the chances of a certain team winning a match, regression to the mean or anything to do with probability we're building on the insights of Galton, the father of modern probability. Most important was his work on the “bell curve”, measuring a huge range of issues to show the extent to which the curve was a “natural” part of the way societies work – plot loads of different issues on graph paper, from the height of humans to crime rates or number of car crashes and you'll find that there's lots of examples in the middle and, as you move to either edge of the graph, the occurrence tails of leaving a graph in a bell-shaped curve. Now, Galton took his measuring rather to the extreme, often keeping a piece of paper and a needle in his pocket so he could surreptitiously rate females in terms of attractiveness (finding women in London most attractive and those in Aberdeen least so - something that could have been proved merely by speaking to anyone who has ever visited Aberdeen), but is most notorious not for this wackiness but for his views on eugenics. The human race could be developed through eugenics if those pesky people who could be identified as sub-standard through his tests (including the first mass-usage of questionnaires) would not breed. Actually, eugenics was a relatively common view to have in Victorian times but that doesn't make Galton's views seem any more acceptable. Anyway, perhaps Galton would have had to rearrange his views on the bell curve and come up with some new schema if he'd had to take account of NGGYU's monster day where he scored 141 points in a single day. Put it this way, after four who days of competition this week 10 out of the other 15 teams had scored less than this. That's some serious pointage there, folks. Funnily enough, NGGYU didn't even have the highest scorer in this match, with SC's Justin Verlander getting 64 points but being backed up solely by Vernon Wells with 23. It was a complete desert after that. NGGYU got significant points from loads of players, Justin Upton (36), Alcides Escobar (35), Rollins (34), Beckett (33), Wolf (28), Cuddyer (25), Cueto (23), Sipp and Weeks (both 22), Tomlin and Miguel Montero (both 20). Hoo! I'm not keeping any records, but I reckon that his 428 points this week is the highest score in the history of any game in the history of the entire world ever in a single day. Perhaps.
Gold Glove Gamels (177) lost to Poughkeepsie Footpickers (236)
It's interesting how views of certain people or positions change. Back in 14th Century England faith in the King was at such high levels that a large band of armed peasants who had rampaged through London in protest at tax levels could be turned around by the presence on horseback of King Richard II demanding their obedience, despite the fact one of his followers had just stabbed the rebel leader to death in front of them. And despite the fact the king was a callow youth of only 14 years old at the time. Fast forward 300 or so years and much of the belief in the “divine right of kings” had vanished as they got King Charles II to lie down and have his head chopped off in front of an expectant crowds. In Pujols terms we're not quite at 1649 yet but its fair to say that his lacklustre first couple of months of the season had let to some serious disbelief that he was beyond doubt the best player in baseball. Perhaps we're more in 1630 where there's doubt over Charles move to get rid of parliament, the obsolete tax of Ship Money has been reintroduced and there are grumblings over Archbishop Laud's religious views but still a fair amount of belief in the monarchy as an institution. No matter which precise year of King Charles I's reign most neatly mirrors the position of Pujols as a baseball player (and the intense debates over this on FanGraphs will continue to run) his performance for Poughkeepsie this week showed he's not completely done yet (23 points) even if he might be out for a few days due to his recent injury. PF's win was mainly due to Pujols and his pair of Yankee pitchers, Burnett (28) and Sabathia (24) while Cliff Lee (28) and Youkilis (20) were the only players at twenty or more for GGG who is beginning to slip back in the race for the West...
Power Leagues (anyone remember when the South Division was rubbish?). Back to music – I picked five albums (totally at random) from my collection and ranked them for this week's selection. Actually it bizarrely ended up being a relatively decent cross-section of my musical taste (despite the absence of any punk stuff) although none of my hideously embarrassing albums managed to get in there...
League 1 (Hmmmm. Am in two minds about this one. I don't really like the album that much and certainly I find his Mr Loverman image when he sings these songs fairly repulsive, but denying the quality of the man's voice is like denying that rain is wet. Plus, the story behind the title for one of his best known hits is quite surprising)
Never Gonna Give You Upton – 886 (3-8, South)
Poughkeepsie Footpickers – 827 (5-6, South)
MSKM – 824 (7-4, North)
League 2 (Not a classic album title, but has to be better than the original title of “Happy Go Bye Bye”))
Chin Music – 799 (5-6, North)
Bumpin' Ugglas – 777 (9-2, South)
More Than A Feeling – 758 (9-2, East)
League 3 (You can't go wrong with an album that includes the mighty Guns of Navarone by The Skatalites...)
Bringing Home the Bacon – 743 (8-3, West)
Harvey's Wallbangers – 739 (6-5, South)
Social Anxiety All Stars – 706 (3-8, North)
League 4 (Deliberately offensive album cover? Radical politics? Anti-US government sentiment? Rapper who used to be a stockbrocker? Yep, its this album). In fact, the album concept is so dodgy it has, by its own volition, deliberately screwed up the numbers for the teams in League 4 as if writing 10-11-12 meant that the Bilderburg Group (secretely a super-race of Giant Spiders) will devour everyone having first twisted them limb from limb using a bizarre threshing device from Corey Hart's Amish home in 19th Century Pennsylvania. Mind you, given that I've written those particular numbers in the sentence above, If it happens now you'll know who to blame...
Stinky Cheese – 693 (8-3, West)
Gold Glove Gamels – 691 (6-5, West)
Little Lebowski – 639 (5-6, East)
League 5 (Soft Bulletin was my favourite album for a while, but I never really got this one)
Phoenix Fire – 639 (4-7, East)
The Team I Refuse to Name – 601 (6-5, North)
Craig Counsell's Steakhouse – 544 (0-11, West)
The Braun Supremacy – 544 (3-8, East)
Next week's match-ups
MSKM vs Phoenix Fire
Chin Music vs More Than A Feeling
Social Anxiety All-Stars vs Little Lebowski Under Achievers
The Team That I Refuse to Name vs The Braun Supremacy
Never Gonna Give You Upton vs Gold Glove Gamels
Poughkeepsie Footpickers vs Craig Counsell's Steakhouse
Harvey's Wallbangers vs Bringing Home the Bacon
Bumpin' Ugglas vs Stinky Cheese