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Uncanceling A Baseball Season

July 31, 2008 - John Whittaker
Thoughts On The Farnsworth Trade

A quick kudos to our Web master, Andrew, who just e-mailed me the HTML coding to be able to post a sidebar with my blogs. You're the man, Andrew!

It's with sadness that the News Gal and I bid farewell to Kyle Farnsworth, who, despite his struggles in the last couple of years, was one of the News Gal's favorite players and who had developed this year into an integral part of the team. His numbers might not be astounding, but his solid handling of the eighth inning made moving Joba Chamberlain into the starting rotation a possibility - and that's a move that could have saved the Yankees season. 

I'll say this about Farnsworth - he'll be missed. It's nice to have that 98 mile an hour fastball for the late innings, and he was good for the occasional roller coaster ride. He is such an earnest, likeable guy that you always wanted to root for the guy and hoped he did well  even if the results weren't always there. I've heard a lot of Yankees fans say good riddance. But, Farnsworth, even if he struggled, was in front of his locker, answering questions. He never ducked the press, no matter how much he was booed that night or how bad the stories were going to be the next day. The Yankees could use more guys like him, at least from the standpoint of being a team-first guy.

He'll be missed, especially by The News Gal, who was really peeved about the deal.

It was a worthy price to pay to get Ivan Rodriguez, though, since Jose Molina, great defensive catcher that he is, can't his weight, which is around 270 pounds (actually, if he hit his weight, he'd be in the Hall of Fame, because that guy can flat-out catch)!

This Stewarts' Orange and Creme is for you, Kyle Farnsworth!

For the first time in 11 years, I had a fantasy baseball trade vetoed.

In hindsight, it ended up doing me a favor, since Jorge Posada is out for the rest of the season with a shoulder injury. When I made the trade, however, he was playing every day and was a significant upgrade over Brian Schneider, and I didn't need Joakim Soria, a closer for Kansas City, since a major league trade left me with only one closer. When I found out the trade was vetoed, I went a little nuts -- a short trip, according to some who know me.

Not having seen the vote of the people who vetoed the trade -- it only took four people, by the way, in a 12-team league -- I sent off two nasty posts to the league Web site, benched my entire roster, changed my team name to Season Vetoed and was fully ready to tell the league to kiss my hiney.

Put this in real-life terms.

The Royals trade Joakim Soria and Alex Gordon to the Red Sox for Coco Crisp, then, seeing the trade vetoed because Hank Steinbrenner, Omar Minaya, Pat Gillick and Billy Beane thought it hurt their respective teams too much since those players weren't going to the Yankees, Mets, Phillies or Oakland A's. Then, Theo Epstein responds by benching his entire team, sending out a nasty e-mail to the entire league calling the involved owners greedy, stupid morons for not allowing his roster move, telling them to butt out of the way he runs his team, and renaming the Red Sox the Red Martyrs before sending his entire roster to AAA so Pawtucket can win the AAA World Series.

Yeah, pretty absurd, when you take it out of a fantasy baseball context.

In retrospect, I was as wrong for the nasty posts and overreaction as the four owners were for vetoing a perfectly good trade.

I did learn a couple of lessons, however.

1. Don't fire off posts after midnight when you've gotten bad news. It only ends badly, and means Dennis, the league commissioner, has to spend five days working the phones between a bunch of ticked off people living 10 hours away from him.

2. Don't take fantasy sports so seriously.

Done, and done.

Lost in the lunacy of that week were two things. The artist formerly known as the Golden Thongs jumped four spots in the league - largely behind good pitching, but the bats have been good too.

And, the Yankees went on an absolute tear, culminating in the Joba's Gem (as blogged about on Sunday) and a big win Saturday against the Red Sox. In the midst of a fantasy baseball dispute, I almost didn’t enjoy an eight-game winning streak by my favorite team.

I'm amazed at how people, and I'm one of them, take sports way too seriously: conversations peppered with wes -- I can't believe we took two out of three from Boston -- and ours -- I can't believe people are complaining about our Super Bowl win because of this stupid videotaping thing; staying up until 3 in the morning to see if the Yankees won after driving to and from Canandaigua, watching replays of games the next day, even rearranging schedules so as not to miss the Patriots or Orangemen when they're on TV.

Should this really matter?

Of course it should - but only in its place. It's the same with fantasy sports. It's fine to care about your team, but probably only to certain levels.

It's amazing how a bunch of competitive guys can get so wrapped up in fantasy, a realm that DOESN'T EXIST, and let it louse up a perfectly good baseball season.

So, fellas, if you'll accept my apology, here's to a hell of a second half -- though all bets are off if the James Shields for Aaron Rowand and Elijah Dukes deal gets vetoed!


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