I play fantasy baseball.
There, I said it. Out loud. In public.
For those of you who don’t know what fantasy baseball is, basically it means I watch a computer screen as flesh-and-blood major league baseball players play the game. I myself don’t play, either live or on the computer. I watch. Apparently, I’m one of about 15 million people who engage in fantasy baseball (including the guys in that famous scene from Knocked Up.)
Sounds passive, I know, and kind of dorky. The art is in managing your team, which is comprised of players from all the various baseball teams. This setup breaks down your one-team allegiance. It’s as though you assemble a United Nations of players and then root for your squad (i.e., peacekeeping force).
I have two favorite fantasy baseball stories. The first involves a colleague’s husband who used to play fantasy years ago – maybe in the mid-80’s – before it was computerized like it is today at Yahoo and ESPN.com, where players’ stats are compiled in real time, as games progress, and you can see your team sink or rise in the standings instantly. At that time, USA Today was the holy grail of stats. Each Wednesday, every player’s batting or pitching numbers were posted. So, he and his office buddies would take turns each week during their lunch hour entering the players’ numbers into a Lotus 1-2-3 spreadsheet. And only then would they be able to see who was in the lead.
Now that’s a group of guys who loved the game.
The other story: My former boss and dear friend, Marci Resnick, was a big Philly sports fan. I mentioned to her once that I played fantasy baseball and she had no idea what I was talking about.
“You play what?” Marci asked. “Fancy pants baseball?”
When I told her, no, FANTASY baseball, she exploded in laughter at her own misunderstanding. But decided fancy pants sounded better anyway.