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Anatomy of a Fantasy Disaster

June 4, 2008 - John Whittaker

More than a quarter of the way through the fantasy baseball season, and The Golden Thongs are in 11th place in a 12-team league.

Some would say it's just bad luck. Some would blame such a start on a bad start by a few players.

I'll tell you it's hard work to put together an 11th place team. Here are the top 10 things you can do to duplicate my fantasy ineptitude, with a little help from Ron Bergundy and the rest of the Channel 4 News Team.

I'll warn you right now, this is a long post - it's tough to chronicle all that went wrong with my fantasy team this year without it becoming a leather-bound volume that sits in my den, which smells of rich mohogany.

Without further ado, 10 things I love about the Golden Thongs.

1. Ron Bergundy: You're so wise. You're like a miniature Buddha, covered in hair.

I'll pat my own back for a few of my good picks. I was a little annoyed with myself when I got Geovany Soto for $11, but it's worked out well. I grabbed Mike Jacobs and his 12 home runs in the bench draft and was able to turn Ryan Theriot, another of those bench draft guys, into Jon Rauch, who will close while Chaz "Burrito" Cordero is out. I'd like to think turning Carlos Beltran, who I can't stand but seem to buy every year, into Daisuke Matsuzaka could be a good move. And, getting Felix Hernandez at a keeper value for Carl Crawford could be good. Those moves are just good enough to make me think there's a light at the end of the tunnel. Like Wile E. Coyote, that light is actually the headlight on a train.

2. Brian Fantana: Take it easy, Champ. Why don't you sit this next one out, stop talking for a while.

If you spend weeks on the draft list to end all draft lists, why would you end up relying on Baseball Weekly's draft guide? Because your laptop gives you the finger halfway through the draft, crashes and won't reboot. Goodbye list! Is it at all surprising that some of my most disappointing players - Jhonny Peralta, Ryan Garko, Chad Cordero, Eric Gagne - were purchased shortly after my computer died? I think not. It didn't help that I spent at least 20 minutes screwing with the computer, then had to regroup with other materials, which led to about 40 minutes of the draft where I was about half paying attention. It wasn't quite Dennis waking up in the middle of the draft one year shouting, "Where's my shoes?" but it's close. Next year, I go back to my three-ring binder. It's safe unless I mistake it for toilet paper during the draft.

3. Brian Fantana: They've done studies, you know 60% of the time it works, every time.

Before our draft, I read dozens of articles, saw dozens of different sets of 2008 statistical projections and spent at least three weeks working on my list. Every year, I tweak my formula and rankings to reflect what I think I've learned in previous years. Still, studies show my list, 60 percent of the time, works none of the time. Previous league finishes -- seventh in 2007, eighth in 2006, ninth in 2005, seventh in 2004, sixth in 2003. I think I need the News Gal to pinch-draft for me next year. What's the worst that will happen, a fifth-place finish? In fairness, the News Gal did tell me to keep Wang (DOH!), and did tell me to get Giambi (THANKS BABY!). Yep, I think the News Gal's in, and the Whitless Wonder's out! 

4. Ron Bergundy: Everyone just relax, all right? Believe me, if there's one thing Ron Burgundy knows, it's women.

We all know how that turned out. Apparently, I don't know as much about baseball as I thought. How else can you explain a team that can't hit, can't pitch, has big names at nearly every position yet is terrible? Ironically, my name is not Brian Cashman. In the last month, when my team really hit the skids, catcher Geovany Soto is hitting .247, Conor Jackson is hitting .235 with 1 home run, Mike Jacobs is hitting .224, Brad Hawpe, a keeper player for me, is hitting .163 with 1 home run and 5 RBI! Matt Cain has a 4.72 ErA and 1 win, Andy Pettitte has 2 wins and a 4.50 ERA, and Ramon Ramirez has put up a sterling 6.17 ERA. Ladies and gentlemen, your 2008 Golden Thongs!

5. Ron Bergundy: I'm gonna punch you in the ovary, that's what I'm gonna do. A straight shot. Right to the babymaker.

This one goes to Laura, who outbid me for Chien-Ming Wang and at least two other players I really wanted during the draft. I also had my eyes on Alex Rios and Lastings Milledge. While neither of those guys is setting the world on fire, they're heads and shoulders better than Mark Kotsay, Jack Cust, Franklin Gutierrez and Shannon Stewart, three of whom are starting this week in my outfield. So, to you Laura, a swift punch to the babymaker.

6. Frank Vitchard: [after having his other arm ripped off by a bear] Aw, c'mon! It's getting to be ri-goddamn-diculous.

A little bit of good luck has to hit you to be this bad. I traded Carlos Beltran straight up for Daisuke Matsuzaka, who is now on the disabled list and after posting one win, a 4.66 ERA and 1.66 WHIP for me. I got Felix Hernandez for Carl Crawford and J.J. Hardy, only to see King Felix turn in a 3.88 ERA and a 1.44 WHIP. Andy Pettitte and Matt Garza were on the bench for good starts and in my lineup for shaky ones, including Pettitte's 4 earned runs in 7 innings on Monday.

 7. Ron Bergundy: [after jumping into the grizzly bear pit at the San Diego Zoo] I immediately regret this decision.

After the great laptop crash of 2008, I found myself searching for a catcher late in the draft. For $1, I picked up Yorvit Torrealba, who was to start for Colorado. After he lost the starting job in late April, I took a flyer on Brandon Inge, who promptly didn't play for six days. I dropped him and made a waiver claim on Brian Schneider, who hits a little worse than Schneider from One Day At A Time. The Brad Hawpe fiasco has been covered above, but let me tell you I kept him over Kevin Kouzmanoff, who is hitting .269 with 8 homers, Micah Owings, who has 6 wins and a 4.17 ERA, plus hits better than Brad Hawpe, or Joe Crede, whose back problems made me shy away from keeping him for $5. His back hurts so bad this year that he's hitting .265 with 9 homers and 29 RBIs.

And, don't forget Cleveland, who kicked the snot out of the Yankees last year in the playoffs. I loaded up on young, up-and-coming players like Jhonny Peralta and Ryan Garko who are hitting a combined .137 with 8 combined homers and 18 RBI in the last month. Thanks guys. Appreciate it.

8. Ron Bergundy: What? You pooped in the refrigerator? And you ate the whole... wheel of cheese? How'd you do that? Heck, I'm not even mad; that's amazing.

Here's to amazing inconsistency. Soto was great the first month, Joel Skinner-esque in May. Giambi was horrible in April, put on the gold thong and started killing the ball like the Giambi of old. Conor Jackson looked like the first-base version of Paul O'Neill in April, now his average has dropped 40 points and he has no power. He's still hitting like Paul O'Neill -- a 46-year-old Paul O'Neill. Mike Jacobs killed the ball early, was put in my starting lineup, and is a .220 hitter.

9. Ron Bergundy: [after smelling the Sex Panther cologne] It's a formidable scent. It stings the nostrils. I'm gonna be honest with you, Brian, that smells like pure gasoline.

How did I not see this one coming? Eric Gagme (his name's misspelled for a reason .... Got it? Good!) and Chaz Cordero aren't reliable? They're injury risks? What's this you say? When you try to put together a bullpen on the cheap, this is what happens. Thankfully, I lucked into Joakim Soria and got Joba Chamberlain, even though I got bid up on him. Derrick Turnbow turned in an 18.56 ERA before the Brewers forced my hand and released him. Ramon Ramirez had a 0.00 ERA when I picked him up and a 6.17 ERA on my team.

10. Ron Bergundy: Don't act like you're not impressed.

Actually, on second thought, I think I have managed to put together a team just like Brian Cashman would. Look at the comparison between the 2008 Yankees and my team. One good closer -- Mariano Rivera and Joakim Soria. Jason Giambi. For the last month, catching -- Jorge Posada and Jose Molina for the Yanks, Geovany Soto and Brian Schneider for me. Underperforming second basemen -- Robinson Cano for them, Aaron Hill for me. Want to talk about back of the rotation? Matt Cain and Andy Pettitte for me, the Phil Hughes/Ian Kennedy experiment for the Yanks. How bout those bullpens, huh? Mine, which was turrble in Charles Barkley speak, and the Yanks, where everybody except Mariano Rivera, Joba Chamberlain, and, until the last week, Kyle Farnsworth was pretty much crapperific.

So, when Cashman gets fired after this year, I'm putting my name up for consideration. Call me in for an interview Hank. I'll bring my laptop and my list!



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Only Brian Fantana, Ron Burgundy, Champ Kind and Brick Tamland can properly tell the story of what happened to my fantasy team. I have an urgent and frightening news bulletin - WE STINK!