A couple years ago I remember hearing someone, somewhere, on some day tell me that the secret to fantasy baseball success was to start whatever pitcher was going against the Seattle Mariners that day when their offense was horrible.
That time has come again my friends.
Two days ago, while searching the waiver wire, I came across Matt Harrison, a starting pitcher for the Texas Rangers. At that time, his previous two starts had amounted to 16 innings pitched, zero earned runs, just one walk while striking out eight.
It was a perfect combination. A hot pitcher plus a bad offense equaled a complete game victory where he gave up just two runs on five hits with seven strikeouts and zero walks.
I can already hear the shouts of people saying that if closer Brandon Morrow hadn't blown his second save opportunity in two days in the ninth inning, he wouldn't have gotten the win.
No he wouldn't have, but the rest of the numbers would've been the same and I'll take that any day out.
So does me grabbing a spot starter for my fantasy team who's pitching against my home town Mariners make me a bad fan?
I say no, but I can see how some people would argue the other side.
It's not that I root for my team to lose, it's just that I know, or expect them to be bad so a loss here and there or in Seattle's case, 11 times in the past two weeks doesn't ruin my day.
I'm your prototypical band-wagon jumper when teams are supposed to be good. I added the second part of that sentence because it's key. When Seattle got off to a hot start this year, and all the national media were debating whether they were for real or not, I was on the no side.
As opposed to last year when they were supposed to be good and sucked, that was hard to swallow.
The pitching has been solid, the defense has gotten a little rocky but still good, but the hitting department is in a whole different category nearing embarrassment.
Since the Mariners are bad, and I don't expect them to make a run, I put my focus in the fantasy world. So Matt Harrison made my squad.
For about a two-week stretch, I had Seattle first baseman Russell Branyan in my starting lineup on a daily basis. And during that time I went to see a Mariner game against the Oakland Athletics where I witnessed Branyan go yard in the fifth inning to make it a one-run ballgame in Oakland's favor at 6-5.
I was excited because Branyan did my fantasy team good. I was not excited that the Mariner's were still losing. Had it been any other player for Seattle that hit the home run in the exact same situation, all I would've given is a simple golf clap.
I can't get excited for something that brings us close but in the big picture still sees us trailing. I'm probably a terrible fan to watch a game with. I'm a big-picture guy in any sport. I can't go nuts for something that is insignificant on the scoreboard.
Ok, so my football team just scored a touchdown in the third quarter to be trailing only 28-21 in the third quarter. How can I be thrilled when I've seen my team's defense get run all over prior to that touchdown? Wake me up when the game is tied and then maybe I'll get excited.
I've been called Mr. Negativity on so many occasions that I can't count them all. But I don't think it's that I'm negative, I think it's just me being realistic and not getting sucked into something that has no track record of being good.
I never expect the upset and hardly predict one, but I root for it all the time. I thought Lakers would win game six last night in Houston, but was rooting for it to be the other way around.
The halfway point of any sporting event for me is when I start to get invested in it. How many times have you turned on the television and saw two random teams going at it in the final period, quarter, inning, or whatever and it was not a blow out so you sat down and watched the end?
I'm raising my hand, who's with me?
But if I turned on a local team and saw them losing by by 12 in the fourth quarter, or down by three in the seventh inning, pssh...it's over.
But hey, that's just me.