Thursday, April 14, 2005

D-Day Minus Three

The Patrick Finley Memorial Fantasy Baseball League holds its annual draft on Sunday, nearly two weeks after the season has started, because we are dilettantes. Every other fantasy league in the world drafts before the season has begun, when so much is still uncertain. But we wait till the season is two weeks old so we have to do minimal preparation. Our attitude, like our wine, will be French. One of the things that keeps out league going as it wheezes into its 22nd year is that Peter Moore hosts the draft, and Peter Moore works for a wine importer and Peter Moore is a generous man and always opens a bottle or two of French wine, not the expensive stuff but still of excellent value because of his excellent judgment in wine.

Peter Moore. Peter Moore. Peter Moore. Consider this a trade out, Peter Moore. You have just been embedded in this blog the way Herb Caen used to mention whatever airline was comping him when he was off to France in search of his roots or to some sunny beach in Mexico in search a more even, thorough and sumptuous tan for his female companion.

It is true that the league is not what it was. It is in its second act and working on its second wind. Patrick Finley -- who founded the league and whose passion for the psy-ops side of noisily preparing for the draft and then undermining the opposition on draft day made the the league both comic and melodramatic -- has been dead for ten years. The gloom from his death still manifests itself in odd ways. (Perhaps, I'm just being superstitious. Beware the Amityville Umpire. Or something.) Since Patrick's death, the league has contributed to the demise of one friendship and the damaging of another. For many years, a friend held the league entry fees until the end of the season. A dispute arose over the slow pace of his payout, and I piled on for what I thought was the fun of it, but it appeared my friend was not amused. That's when the draft moved to Peter's. Then last year another old friend showed up on draft day after I had assured everyone he wasn't coming based on the veritable salad of mixed signals he was sending me. There he was. I had promised everyone I would throw him out if he showed up, but of course I didn't. He drafted a team that took the lead in early June and held it to the end. Nothing wrong with that. The problem was that the further ahead he got, the more he insulted the rest of the league, suggesting not just that we were incompetent at our little fantasy game but that we were fools, oafs and cretins for playing it at all. I'm bland emotionally, passive, inert even, but he infuriated me with his taunts. I took it personally. I didn't think it was kind. I am a great believer that you should know when you have tasted blood at which point you rinse out and apologize. Edged emails were exchanged. Serrated emails you might say.

I suppose this indicates the league's importance to me in that it seems to provoke deep feeling. Maybe the whole thing is an exercise in male codification. From the dark lonely jungle of our egos, we pound on our drums in the hope someone understands. Oh, put a rosin bag in it, Robertson. If all human interaction is a kind of a game, then why be surprised that a game produces such pointed and freighted human interactivity?

On the other hand, I haven't really talked about the research we do beforehand, which is as hermitlike as you could wish, very secret. We are all underground men when it comes to our research. In the old days it was easier. I would buy a baseball magazine, make a list of players I liked and then when the season started, check the list against what was actually happening. Now with the Internet, a great deal of information is available, constantly gushing forth and constantly being revised, but much of it is contradictory and some just plain wrong. I try to ignore it if I can't confirm it. Skeptic patience, that's me. As a method I can only say that last year I finished out of the money. On the other hand, I wouldn't have invaded Iraq.

Addendum: Here's a link to last year's league standings -- minus the winner. I took him out as a joke, then tried to put him back and failed. The league software apparently has a moral center.

1 comment:

Operation Overlord said...

D-Day Minus Three is a fun title to find. It just amused me when I came across it on my search
for Operation Overlord in these blogs. Amazing what you can find and where you end up.