February 2007

Those Guys II: Them Guys

In Part 1 of this developing series, we singled out 10 of the worstkinds of people to have at your fantasy draft, a motley crew known as those guys. Somehow, though, a few of those guys
managed to escape justice — until now. In Part 2, we make it right by
making light of six of those (other) guys who bring darkness to D-Day.
Call ’em them guys.

6. The Homer

Most people play fantasy to win at all costs, even if it means
picking a player on a rival team. I’m talking Yankees fans drafting
David Ortiz, Cubs fans picking Albert Pujols. But for many, a degree of
favoritism comes into play. And a select few take their hometown bias
too far. Blinded by passion and utterly delusional, the Homer thinks
that his love for the hometown team should transcend the fundamental
rules of fantasy — namely, that all available players are available
equally. He actually believes that he’s entitled to every guy on the
team he roots for (I’m warning you — stay away from my Cubbies!) and that those who infringe on his "territory" are violating some kind of unspoken fantasy code (How could you? D-Lee was mine!).
Charles Darwin was no baseball fan (he died in 1882), but he’d surely
agree that unnatural selection — and the Homer — have no place in a
fantasy draft. Doh!

5. The Jerk

Steve Martin has nothing on this guy, who has the audacity to
criticize the auctioneer whenever a sale doesn’t go his way. The Jerk
typically suffers from a severe inferiority complex and an overblown
ego, the result of which is none too pleasant for anyone in the draft
room. According to the Jerk, if he bids on a player and doesn’t land
him, the auctioneer didn’t close the deal fast enough (Aw, come on, while we’re young!). Either that, or he sold too quickly (Nomar has more patience than this guy!).
The Jerk’s behavior is so out of line, his allegations so absurd that
the auctioneer will usually dismiss his heckling as misappropriated
sarcasm before realizing what a jerk the Jerk really is. Commissioners
should, too, and save everyone the trouble of dealing with this guy on
D-Day.

4. The Lobbyist

When you sign up for a league, you tacitly agree to play by the
commissioner’s rules. And it’s your job — not anyone else’s — to know
exactly what you’re getting into. But the Lobbyist doesn’t see it that
way. Much like his meddling counterparts on Capitol Hill, this guy
believes that he can change rules retroactively to benefit his needs,
just by stirring up support from "the masses." Just watch. This year,
he’ll take can’t-miss prospect Delmon Young in the fourth round before
trying to drum up support for the institution of keeper rules. Then,
after he drafts Pedro Martinez (out until at least the All-Star break)
and Mark Mulder (inactive until at least June), he’ll lobby for an
extra injury slot. But the madness doesn’t stop there. When the
Lobbyist realizes he doesn’t know as much as everyone else in his
league, he’ll try to shorten the draft by a few rounds or suggest that
the rest of the picks be made on auto-pilot. Sports and politics don’t
mix, and fantasy is no exception. But if they must, do your part and
lobby against the Lobbyist on D-Day.

3. The Theorist

It happens: the guy you had your eye on all draft gets taken one
pick before you were going to pull the trigger. But for the paranoid
few among us, this occurrence is no coincidence. It’s a conspiracy. No
matter who you draft, no matter what the round, somehow, it was always
the Theorist’s next pick. (No way — that’s the guy I was going to take.)
As far as the Theorist is concerned, the draft is a much less a
competitive free-for-all than an immaculately conceived plot to destroy
his dream of claiming a fantasy title. The only thing that could keep
this guy from singing his refrain is the No. 1 overall pick.

2. The Fed

Your draft area quickly becomes a war room with the Fed in the
game. This guy guards his draft sheets with his life, handling them as
if they’re top-secret, government-sensitive documents. He’s like the
guy in third grade who shields the answers to his spelling test from
his classmates, only slightly less mature. Much like his much younger
counterpart, though, the Fed operates under the assumption that he has
something to hide, that the information in his possession is actually
worth something. And much like his governmental namesake, he’ll do
anything in his power to ensure that it doesn’t get into the wrong
hands. When it comes to choosing your next leaguemate, make sure the
Fed keeps his business to himself.

1. The Overloader

If winning is the name of the game in fantasy, a guy who ruins his
chances of claiming the title before the season even starts would be a
welcome member of any league, right? Wrong. Enter the Overloader, the
kind of loser nobody likes to play with. This guy monopolizes all the
key players at one position in hopes of using them as bargaining chips
down the road. Unfortunately for the Overloader, it’s impossible to
field a competitive team with 13 second basemen. And unfortunately for
you, your team has a gaping flaw in the infield. You don’t need to be
an efficiency expert to know that everyone’s a loser when the
Overloader’s involved — especially the Overloader.

The 10 Worst People At Your Fantasy Draft

Nobody likes that guy — especially at a fantasy draft.

Better to come in last in your league with some semblance of class than to be that guy. We all know him, the one who s … ucks the wind out of the draft, turning an otherwise friendly social event into a painstaking process.

With that (guy) in mind, let’s take a look at the top 10 worst people to have at your fantasy draft, a group collectively known as — what else? — those guys.

10. The Repeat Offender

This guy shares the same name as a Richard Marx album, and he deserves it. Wherever you go, whatever you do, the Repeat Offender will be right there waiting for you on D-Day, ready to kill the flow of your draft by trying to pick guys who’ve already been taken. He usually suffers from a poor attention span, a general lack of baseball knowledge and the undying belief that everyone around him is somehow more clueless than he is. Bad combination. Where it all leaves him is about three years behind on the sleeper scene. Just watch — he’ll try to take Jose Reyes in the third round this year. And after he does, don’t be shocked when he goes for Dontrelle Willis in round 17. He is, after all, the Repeat Offender.

9. The Crammer

A sheer lack of preparation plagues the Crammer, who always seems to be forgetting rule No. 1 of fantasy baseball: This is NOT a test. Instead of enjoying the draft process, this guy treats every pick like a final-exam cram session. You’ll find him blowing through preview magazine after preview magazine until the absolute last second of every pick he makes, like a 16-year-old kid who can’t remember the quadratic formula moments before a calculus test. A squirrel has more composure than this guy on D-Day, and so should you.

8. The Retroactivist

Like many real-life activists, the fantasy Retroactivist protests too much when the damage has already been done. Some things in life are better left undone, and fantasy picks are no different. Oblivious to the notion of consequence and just a tad oversensitive, the Retroactvist tries to re-pick when you make fun of his pick. What does he expect for trying to draft Francisco Liriano (injured) and Bill Mueller (retired)? You have to assume that this guy was in full support of the recount in the 2000 presidential election. Either way, when it comes to choosing your next league member, vote "no" on the Retroactivist.

7. The Crow

Being a braggart is stigmatic enough, but a fantasy braggart? Ugh. Watching amazing athletes perform is something to enjoy, not crow about. But the Crow is stuck in a fantasy fantasyland. He takes that false sense of accomplishment to a whole new level, bragging nonstop about his players before they’ve even done anything (You may as well sign your checks over to me, guys, because this baby’s over.), like Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, but without the cash — or the sense of self-deprecation.

6. The Editorializer

Fantasy drafts and socializing go hand in hand, but some guys have a tough time remembering that human conversation is a two-way street. Which brings us to the Editorializer, the self-appointed judge of all fantasy picks. This guy has a verdict about everything. Problem is, nobody’s asking for it. His criticisms are maddening (Too soon, tooooo soon), his witticisms infuriating (Sweet pick … not!), his compliments condescending (Great pick. Greaaat pick.). If we wanted a play-by-play of our fantasy draft, we would’ve asked Bob Costas.

5. His Lateness

Sadly, tardiness has become an accepted, often embraced part of American culture. But not when it comes to fantasy drafts, which can’t begin until everybody’s there. Which is why the guy who’s late is so mind-bogglingly inconsiderate. Making a few people wait is bad enough. But an entire league? Multiply the 20 or so minutes he’s late by the number of people waiting, and you have hours of wasted time. Clearly, His Lateness is anything but fantasy royalty.

4. The Cheapskate

It’d be one thing if people were forced to join money leagues, but thankfully, mob tactics don’t fly in fantasy. Which brings us to the guy who doesn’t pay. The Cheapskate’s refusal to pull out the checkbook takes us one step closer to the Fantasy Apocalypse, in which all money leaguers will be federally obligated to sign a legally binding contract on D-Day. Naturally, it’s not all about the money, but being the Cheapskate is just as bad as stealing a wad of cash from the winner’s wallet.

3. The Conspirator

There’s no fantasy rulebook, but there is an unwritten rule that says you’re in it alone. And for good reason. This isn’t Pictionary night at your neighbor’s house. This is fantasy baseball, every man for himself, winner — not winners — take all. But the Conspirator has a behind-the-scenes buddy doing his dirty work, a guy on the other end of those all-too-frequent cell-phone calls on D-Day. He’s a coward, the white-collar criminal of fantasy, too weak to take care of his own business, too afraid to disclose his dark partnership. If there were such a thing as a fantasy jail, the Partner would be the first to do time.

2. The Speaker

A silent voice on the other end of the phone line is usually pretty creepy. Think Ghostface in the movie "Scream." But in the case of the guy who’s drafting on speaker phone, it’s downright annoying. Inevitably, the Speaker is unresponsive when it’s his turn, he routinely picks guys who’ve been picked (see Repeat Offender), and he’s generally incoherent — all thanks to his poor mode of communication. Better to leave your buddy in Boise out of the picture than subject your league to the Speaker.

1. The Accidental Sniper

We’ve all played fantasy baseball with the guy who, quite literally, is out of his league, the extreme fair-weather fan who thinks there are still Expos in Montreal. But one way or another, the Accidental Sniper ends up snagging your top sleeper pick right before you were planning on pulling the trigger, displaying a clueless dominance not seen since the days of Inspector Gadget. For all you Yankees fans out there banking on taking Philip Hughes with your last pick this year, watch out for the Sniper. He’ll take a page out of the Crammer’s book, grab a random magazine, start flipping, locate the Yankees’ top prospect and pick him at the last possible second, obliviously ruining your master plan — and your draft.

There you have it, the worst of the worst. Quite the motley crew, eh?

But let’s not fool ourselves. There’s a little bit of the Repeat Offender, the Crammer and the Editorializer in everyone. We’ve all been guilty of making D-Day seem more like World War III than a civilized gathering of friends.

So give peace a chance. And please, don’t be that guy.