I've noticed something about our culture lately, especially when it comes to fantasy sports. We love a great performance, which is not a shocker. I mean, who doesn't, right?
The thing that has caught my attention is that after one good season, sometimes even after one good game, we are ready to anoint someone as a great player.
It's called bandwagoning, and we are not afraid to jump on it. Sometimes it pays off, but more often than not it turns out to be a fluke.
Let me give you just a few examples from the past few days.
Cliff Lee, who came out of nowhere to win the 2008 AL Cy Young award. Before 2008, Lee's career was mediocre at best.
Over seven full seasons, his record is 76-39 with a career ERA of 4.15. But, in 2008, he went an amazing 22-3 with a 2.54 ERA, which are both easily career bests.
So, what does this earn him? The Cy Young Award, the start for the AL in the 2008 All-Star game, and now Lee is being drafted as some fantasy teams' ace. After one good season, seriously? Yeah I know he won the Cy Young, but still.
What happens to him on opening day 2009? He gets lit up by the Rangers for seven runs in five innings of work. That translates to a whopping 12.6 ERA to start the year.
All I'm saying is that maybe we jumped the gun a bit by labeling him an "ace," but only time will tell. I'm leaning more toward fluke, though.
Another example is Emilio Bonifacio. Yeah, I didn't know who he was until Monday either, so don't feel bad if you don't know who he is either.
He's a 2B/3B from the Dominican Republic. He's bounced around three teams in the past few months. Now, it appears that he may have found a home in Florida.
He's a speedster who is drawing comparison to Chone Figgins. He swiped 197 bags from 2004-07, so it's obvious he can run. In his first game for the Marlins in 2009, hitting in the leadoff spot, he went 4-5 with a HR, two RBI, and three SB.
Don't start drooling; the HR was an inside-the-parker, which just further proves the point that he can run, but that you shouldn't expect the power consistently.
In his first 3 games for the Fish, he has gone 8-14 to hit .571, with four RBI, four SB, and the aforementioned HR. Those are some really good numbers, but the question is, can he keep up the pace?
Bonifacio was owned by an overwhelming 1.4 percent of ESPN leagues just last week, and now after just three games, he is 35.8 percent owned, which is an increase of 34.4 percent, which is a pretty big leap.
I'm not saying he's gonna be a bust, but this definitely fits the mold of the man-crush. Hey, I'm not saying that I didn't try to pick him up too, but I still wouldn't be surprised if he falls off the face of the Earth. It's just a chance you have to take, right? Let him prove you wrong as opposed to not picking him up and regretting it later.
As Americans, we love the underdog story. We are always looking for that one guy who is gonna have a breakout year just so we can say "I told you so" to all of our buddies at the end of the season. There's nothing wrong with it at all, just most of the time, it doesn't work out.
Don't be scared to reach for a guy here and there, because you don't know how it will wind up. Just know that if you anoint a guy far too early, and he doesn't work out, that it's your fault for not giving him a chance and putting him into a hole that is very hard to climb out of. Very few Cinderella stories come true.