Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Drain the Wound and Move On

Better to just get it out there.

We had our annual fantasy baseball draft on Saturday. I have been doing this for 25 years in the same league, the Patrick Finley Memorial Fantasy Baseball League, an eponymous league named for its founder who drank himself to death (actually a little more complicated than that; but this is a blog entry and comes quickly and goes fast) more than ten years ago.

Not, I think, because of baseball.

No one else has been in the league that long, though we have a 23-year player and a 23-year-with-occasional-interruptions player and a 24-year-with-occasional-interruptions player. Everyone should run away from home at least once, so I am not unduly proud of being the league's senior member.

I am, of course, duly proud. We've lasted a long time. As it turns out, the internet may kill newspapers before the NFL and the NBA kill baseball, and who would have thought that?

So far this is what you might call a write-around. I have in the past done triumphal blog entries describing how I have for so many years stood astride the league like a colossus (there's a John McCain incontinence joke in there somewhere), but the last two years the colossus has crumbled. I dropped to 7th in an 11-man league last year, and this year's draft was quite strange. I selected a number of fellows on what they describe with pinpoint accuracy as the disabled list, or DL. That means you are hurt pretty badly because minor ills are diagnosed as day-to-day, a phrase filled with hope.

Even worse, I picked pitchers with arm problems. Pitching is a complicated act with many body parts moving in concert, but it is fair to say that the arm is the barrel of the gun. I picked a pitcher with a bad elbow, a pitcher with a bad arm muscle, a pitcher with a bad rotator cuff and -- to be fair -- a pitcher with a rib problem and one with a bad butt muscle, the latter going on the DL after I drafted him.

That's pushing the laws of probability. That's anarchy. Why?

I made mistakes last year and intensified them this year because I am no longer pursuing this activity as a sportsman who cares not what fellow wins and what fellow loses. There's a friend who in the last couple years has come to town from elsewhere and spent the night before the draft at our house. We sit outside and share ideas. It's not that he necessarily picks my brain and gives nothing in return. It's not that he hides his strategy while he tries slyly to draw me out. Indeed, he celebrates his strategy, as if I were not there, and decries my strategy and explains how impudent it is that so weak a thing as my strategy dare exist at all.

He describes its weakness in detail. He is very helpful, exactly like a Good Samaritan, by which I mean he proceeds without even being asked to help. Naturally, I want to beat his brains out. At recent drafts I find I pay too much attention to what he is doing, and thus he entangles me.

Actually, I entangle myself. So that's why I did a bad draft. Unless it's not.

The deeper fear is that my new draft failings are a symptom of mental failure, the flicker at the corner of one's peripheral vision that heralds the arrival of being old, slow and stupid.

Men must endure their going hence, even as their coming hither; ripeness is all.

Damn it, I'm not ripe yet. But I am at that stage of life when one begins to worry that -- even if the body lasts -- the brain may go first. One looks for harbingers.

Thus, the name of my team: The Boys of Senility.

Peter Moore's draft memories.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why not the Sons of Senescence?