One Out of Three: the Ultimate Fantasy

David LeneyCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2009

DETROIT - MARCH 31:  Miguel Cabrera #24 of the Detroit Tigers stands on the field against the Kansas City Royals during their game on Opening Day on March 31, 2008 at Comerica Park in Detroit, Michigan. Royals won 5-4 in 11 innings.  (Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)

In most areas in life 1/3 is bad.  For example if you make one out of every three shot attempts (33 percent) in a game of basketball you are not warranting significant playing time at any level, unless you’re labeled as a “defensive specialist.” 

The same goes with pass attempts in a football game.  If you took an exam and got one out of every three questions right, well that means your name is Vince Young and you just completed your Wonderlic Test.       

However, with April soon upon us, it brings a game where 1/3 is more than adequate.  That’s right Baseball, the game where it’s all right to fail, well kind of.  The game where a 1/3 or a 330 percent batting average gets you a first ballot Hall of Fame induction—granted you didn’t lie about using steroids, weren’t an intolerable jerk to the media, and didn’t gamble on games.

This isn’t so much about my love for America’s old-favorite past time, but more about America’s New-Favorite Past time. That’s right, I’m talking about fantasy sports.

Baseball season presents yet another reason to get together with friends on a random, or as I like to call it “football-less Sunday,” to draft a new team for a fresh season and do a little day-drinking in the process. 

I’ve played three fantasy sports every year for the last four years, which include: football, basketball, and baseball. 

The reason I brought up 1/3 is simple not because it is ironic in baseball that 1/3 is great, but it happens to be the last sport of the trio for the 2008-2009 fantasy fiscal sports year.

I feel, if for no reason but by accident, I have to have a serious contender since I know I drafted well enough in both my football and basketball leagues, yet came up so inexplicably and miserably short in both.  To properly put this in perspective I have to go back to the “Mike Vicks Best in Show” draft, the F.F.L. I’m in.


Getting the ninth pick wasn’t on the agenda, but the wraparound is usually nice so I drafted the duo that, no matter how I looked at it, could not get me less than 36 points each week combined.

I selected Randy Moss and Terrell Owens. 

When you’re done laughing remember the seasons these guys had just come off of just one-year prior (we also count receptions in my league). 

It did not get any better from there.  With my third round pick approaching, I was torn with who my first RB was going to be, since it was evident after two Detroit Lion-like draft selections, I needed to start filling in my tailbacks.  I could no longer ignore the trend of rookie RB and their immediate success in the “National Football League,” (courtesy of Jaworski) so I went with my gut and proudly selected Darren McFadden. 

Cue laughter once again. 

My fourth round pick was a result of me hitting the panic button with the QB run that was happening.  With Brady, Brees, Romo, Manning, Palmer, and Roethlisberger already gone, I was determined not to get stuck with the likes of Brett “The Jet” Favre or David Garrad, and with Jay Cutler the furthest name from my head and apparently, MY MAGAZINE, I selected Donovan McNabb. 

I then, of course, talked myself into the pick, even gloated about it.  “He can’t be as bad as last year, right?”  As it turned out he wasn’t and he was actually pretty serviceable most weeks, it’s just that Phillip Rivers, Cutler, Rodgers, and Warner all outperformed him and were all taken significantly later. 

As the draft continued, I selected Antonio Gates, Ronnie Brown, Jonathon Stewart, Lendale White, Bears Defense, etc. 

Bottom line, I was pleased with myself and I thought this is a winning team, if reasonably healthy and Darren McFadden doesn’t completely crap the bed. 

I didn’t count on Brady getting injured in week one, Tony Romo pretending Terrell Owens didn’t exist, McFadden’s lingering turf toe injury, combined with him playing for a franchise that’s run like a stale buffet, Ronnie Brown looking like Barry Sanders one week and Barry Pepper the next, and Devin Hester pulling a Houdini in the Bears special teams. 

What burns me the most is that I wasn’t at all wrong about rookie running backs; I just took the wrong ones.  Matt Forte, Steve Slaton, and Chris Johnson all performed for their owners on a consistent basis.  The season ended with the two seed (top seed gets bye) in my division, fist pumping that I made the playoffs so he could play/murder me in the first round.


I had just come off my first basketball championship the prior year, headlined by Lebron James and Josh Smith and being that it’s probably my best of the three fantasy sports that I play, I went into the draft feeling like a million bucks. 

I left the draft feeling like a billion, but mostly due to the inordinate amount of Maker’s Mark I had consumed.  I drafted eighth overall and took Dirk Nowitzki.

I followed that pick up with Caron Butler, Kevin Martin, Carmelo Anthony, Ray Allen, Corey Maggette, Emeka Okafor, Greg Oden, Marvin Williams, Shaquille O’ Neal, Jeff Green, Nene, and Russell Westbrook. 

Once again, I felt that my team, barring serious injuries, was getting me to payday. 

Like football, I was able to eventually climb into the playoffs, but lost in the second round.  I can only rationalize my loss with injuries that were constant and oddly enough happening in a weird rotation, where I never actually had a fully healthy team—ever. 

In a Nine Category Yahoo Basketball League health is everything, considering you essentially play everybody on your team throughout the course of a week. 

Greg Oden looked as good as Udonis Haslem on a bad day; in fact, I dropped him for Udonis Haslem!  Highlights included my free-agency pickup of Eric Gordon for Russell Westbrook and Shaquille O’Neal playing like someone told him the year was 2002. 

I did better than I had in football, but sadly there is no prize money for fourth place.


 In order to not only get my $320.00 back, but actually make some money along with gaining the respect of my peers, I have to win baseball this year. 

I knew going into the draft that the sure fire way to get it done is by doing the opposite of what I had been doing with the previous sports, which was playing it safe.  Sure, playing it safe can get you to the playoffs, but without a few risk/reward guys that could potentially pan out to be just “reward guys,” your ultimate future is unknown. 

It was no surprise to anyone in my basketball league that my brother won it all because he drafted Yao Ming in the late second round.  While we laughed at him at the draft for the headache he was going to endure for the inevitable 55 game season that Yao will probably play, he knew that if he didn’t take him he’d feel equally dumb, mainly because if Yao was to suddenly not be “the always injured guy” the payoff would be extraordinary.   

With that said, my baseball team is as follows: C-Joe Mauer (risk), 1B-Miguel Cabrera, 2B-Dustin Pedroia, 3B-Evan Longoria, SS-Derek Jeter, OF-Bobby Abreu, Hunter Pence, Torii Hunter, Util-Chone Figgins, B-Alex Rodriguez (risk), Mike Aviles, Mark DeRosa, Delmon Young, and Jim Thome.  SP-Brandon Webb and Josh Beckett, RP-Jonathon Broxton and Brian Wilson, P-Ricky Nalasco, Brett Myers, and Joel Hanrahan. 

NOTE* There you have my 2009 Baseball Team, now if anyone out there has a line on a guy I should trade for, drop, or pickup please by all means I am listening.  

Remember 1/3 is all you need to become the big winner, good luck to all of you who are playing fantasy baseball this season. Please feel free to share your team via comment.