Considering that I’m not even sure if I’m playing in a league this year, I’ve spent way too much time lately preparing for a fantasy football draft.
One of the people I can blame for this is an ESPN fantasy sports analyst named Matthew Berry, who writes a ton of entertaining columns for ESPN.com and records daily podcasts to which I am mildly addicted.
(The simple reason that I never bother to update the songs on my iPod? ESPN podcasts. Why bother with four hours of Mike & Mike in the Morning when you can hear all of its relevant segments in 30 minutes later that same day?)
Anyway, I mention Mr. Berry not because I’m hoping to get into his fantasy football podcast’s self-proclaimed "Man’s League," which sounds suspiciously like the title of a movie found on George Takei’s DVR—not that there’s anything wrong with that—but because I happened to note that a column that Berry wrote on August 12 was, for him, “the final baseball column of 2010.”
Now, I’m not in a fantasy baseball league, and I haven’t been for some time, but isn’t it a little early to shut it down on the 2010 baseball season?
Surely there are people out there playing fantasy baseball who still want advice on favorable pitching matchups, information on whose injuries are severe and whose are merely annoying, and insider knowledge on which pitchers’ arms are starting to fall off as we head into the final 50 games of the season.
Yes, that’s right. There are close to 50 games left in the 2010 season.
Just like I don’t believe that the 50-year-old Jane Lynch should be called “that old lady on Glee,” as one of my co-workers recently referred to her, I also don’t think that a season with nearly 50 games remaining is really winding down.
But I see where Berry is coming from. Weeks before a meaningful game will be played in either the pro or college ranks, it seems all people want is football.
Talk about pent-up demand: The Hall of Fame game between the Bengals and the Cowboys last Sunday night tagged 9.1 million viewers and scored the highest ratings for a preseason game since 2004.
And the game was on NBC, a network that regularly gets beat in the nightly ratings race by the likes of Univision and Telemundo.
No question about it, like Comic-Con attendees insane for the new Harry Potter films, sports fans are insane for the return of football.
Perhaps this annual change of season is felt no more strongly than in Wisconsin, where folks are largely accepting of their flawed but lovable Brewers (Bernie Brewer and Bob Uecker? So cute!) but damned near obsessed with their beefy Packers and Badgers.
The Badgers? Even their mascot isn’t cute. And the Packers? They only tread in lovable waters when Aaron Rodgers does his “title-belt” touchdown celebration. So adorable, Aaron.
But while most of us giggle and wriggle with anticipation over football’s return, this is a hard time of year for diehard Milwaukee Brewers fans. They feel like Molly Ringwald’s character in Sixteen Candles—depressed, forgotten, and disregarded.
And while I empathize to a certain extent, I must in the end say this to the object of their affection:
Tough dookie, Brewers. You had your chance.
Every year, the Brewers enjoy a long stranglehold on the Wisconsin sports landscape, are rewarded by their fans with above-average attendance, and nearly every year (or every year a Cy Young-worthy pitcher doesn’t fall into their lap) ownership repays that love and loyalty by delivering a product that disappoints.
Once again, the 2010 Brewers have a losing record in August, the time of year when fans stop dreaming about Ryan Braun going long and start dreaming about Aaron Rodgers going long.
I’m not going to go into the problems the Brewers have (pitching) because you’ve heard it all before (pitching). Flogging the team yet again for their weaknesses (pitching) would be as dull as one of Ken Macha’s postgame press conferences.
(Sorry, I nodded off there for a few minutes just thinking of Ken Macha. Where was I? Oh, right.)
I’m not personally thrilled about the annual winds of change. Frankly, I would rather watch a Brewers game in late August then a Packers game in late August.
And I sincerely doubt, unlike Matthew Berry, that this will be the final time I mention baseball in my column in 2010.
But the suddenness with which the Brewers achieve obsolescence this time every year?
I get it.