Fantasy Baseball Enters Playoffs: Managers Cry Like Babies
Many people are understandably perplexed when it comes to the sudden change in behavior of some of their friends, family and co-workers during this time of year. This person you are suddenly concerned about is now displaying aggressive and/or self-destructive tendencies you have never seen before.
What is happening is this person you know is a "Savvy Manager." It is understandable if one does not understand this term, for one has to be a savvy manager to understand this terminology.
The person you are concerned about is involved in fantasy baseball, and this time of year is an extremely dangerous time for them. Many Savvy Managers are currently seeing an entire season’s work amount to nothing. This article will explain how they are feeling.
Mike Trout has made Savvy Managers look like geniuses all season. Hitting .324 with 27 homers, 77 RBI and 46 stolen bases, he has been a production machine. This is no secret. He is now an MLB superstar. He faced down the mighty Yankees, and would not be cowed. Impressive. Most impressive. But is he not a Jedi yet? He is not sitting on the waiver wire in any fantasy league with even one Savvy Manager. He was plucked from there long ago.
Then, of course, fantasy playoffs began.
Savvy Managers with Trout on their fantasy teams have relaxed when he is playing. He always improves the offensive stats and plays strong enough to carry struggling veteran superstars. Hunter Pence was carried by Trout’s stats in two leagues this particular Savvy Manager is a member of.
With fantasy playoffs beginning this week, Trout has slumped. In the past seven days, Mike is hitting under .200; .174 to be exact. Oh sure, he has three runs and a stolen base, but the sudden decrease in his stats have altered Savvy Manager’s strategy. Trout was supposed to be the given, not the doubt. Much tearing of hair and gnashing of teeth has resulted.
And so goes fantasy baseball playoffs.
Cold Week = Done for Season
Savvy Managers spend the entire baseball season preparing for fantasy playoffs. A lot of homework is required for baseball, arguably more than any other sport translated to fantasy leagues. The Savvy Manager must spend an hour or so a day poring over hitting and pitching stats for the season, the month and the week to get an idea of how their players are doing.
An average fantasy team can have anywhere from nine to 20 players on offense and the same again for pitching. Not all leagues allow live drafting of the players Savvy Managers covet—not that this is any guarantee. Even picks a Savvy Manager is sure will work out can still fail to produce.
This is at the same time the most exhilarating and frustrating thing about managing fantasy sports. So much work goes into preparing a team, and it is so quickly dismissed with the whims of Fate in only a week’s time.
It is no matter that Trout produced so well during the regular season. If his bad week coincides with fantasy playoffs, then all a Savvy Manager’s hard work and strokes of luck during the regular season have been for naught. If the player supporting your weaker players falters, then your offensive numbers collapse as well.
This plain and brutal reality can be very hard to swallow for some Savvy Managers.
Pitchers. Oh, pitchers. Savvy Managers live and die by their pitchers.
Unlike the offense in fantasy baseball, where one guy’s good week can cover a bad week from a few other guys, a pitcher can ruin your whole week all by his lonesome. If one needs an example, and one has been following the season: Tim Lincecum.
For those readers unfamiliar with how fantasy baseball works, most leagues are head-to-head, meaning statistics are divided into offensive and defensive categories. Offensive is hits, runs, average and so on. Defensive is one’s pitching stats, and this is much trickier. Generally, Savvy Managers face off in a head-to-head format every week, usually from Monday through Sunday.
Take, for example, Johan Santana. Savvy Manager may have snagged Santana from the dreaded free-agent pool early in the season. Johan then proceeded to make this manager look savvy. A no-hitter in June, the first in New York Mets history, was the proof.
Since then, of course, Santana’s ERA exploded, he piled up losses and was retired for the season. Rumors abound that he may now be retired, period. No Savvy Manager owns Johan Santana now.
Santana is but an example. His complete nosedive from ace to bust was sudden, and it had an immediate effect on the standings. Any one pitcher can have this effect on an entire team. Pitchers make Savvy Managers very nervous.
Cold Feeling Leads to Cold Desires
One player having a bad day can ruin the best savvy manager’s entire week. Even if this is a pitcher who generally performs well, like CC Sabathia or Roy Halladay, if one does not count this year’s season. Or a batter, like Mike Trout, who is taking a week off right now, of all times.
Even seemingly insignificant relief pitchers can do an insane amount of damage to a week. Savvy Managers who have owned Heath Bell know what this means. No Savvy Manager currently owns Heath Bell. Let us leave this statement at that for fellow Savvys. For non-players, suffice it to say that Heath Bell is having somewhat of a less-than-awesome season.
Imagine how one pitcher having a bad outing will affect the disposition of a Savvy Manager during this, the fantasy baseball playoffs. One player having a bad day can ruin the effort put into an entire season.
Conversely, one man, having a good day, can catapult a manager into the next round of the playoffs, whether they are savvy or not. This can drive a manager insane if they face this exact situation.
Empathize, Sympathize or Just Be Nice
This is why your friend, family member or co-worker may be suddenly disturbing you. Do not worry. If you do not participate in fantasy sports, you will not understand.
Imagine that you have spent all day making the most beautifully intricate sand castle that the world will ever see. Only to have it washed away in the tide. Imagine how the builders of the Titanic felt, the world's greatest vessel sunk by a random act of nature. Imagine Darth Vader's pain as some farm boy makes the luckiest shot of his life and sets your life's work back years.
Maybe they tried to tell you and you did not understand. Maybe you made an excuse because their story was boring you. At any rate, this article represents the barest tip of the iceberg of a Savvy Manager's pain. If you cannot empathize, then sympathize.
Should you will be sitting in your office, and your friend suddenly falls past your window screaming either a baseball player’s name and/or obscenities, this is why. All you need to know is that you can refer to this person in your eulogy as "Savvy Manager."