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I am not one to mark my “maturity” in obvious ways. I hate, hate, hate when people base their idea of mature behavior on hitting arbitrary markers of consumption and success or are looking down on things they once used to love because they are bored of them. I’m not a fan of pretending that you’re a better person because you drink better beer than you used to, because you eat in fancier restaurants, or because you play squash instead of handball.

Not that I’m a proponent of “keeping it real” or anything. People do change, and those who do not get swept away or left behind or eventually pay for it. But there’s change for the appearance of change and genuine change. As long as changes in your life represent something genuine within you, and some ideal you think will impress better friends/your parents/your employers, there’s surely nothing wrong with that.

So it’s with much trepidation that I wrote this.

I think it’s time for me to give up…fantasy baseball.

There’s still time in my life for fantasy football, gambling, drinking, porn, sports, and clowning fools. But there’s just no time for fantasy baseball. In other words, this is not borne of an attempt to focus on getting into a relationship, or to devote more time to novel-writing. I just cannot put in the time to compete at fantasy baseball on a satisfying level.

I am careening at or near the bottom in both leagues I participated in this year. Unfortunately, with my boss less than understanding of using work hours to compare the WHIPS of no. 2 starters, there’s no way I can keep up with the guys at my office who work about one hour day and make moronic trade offers for Lance Berkman and Hanley Ramirez the other seven. And the other league I play in with my old buddies from Queens lost my active participation when Chien Ming-Wang decided to break his foot running the bases. The real key to fantasy baseball is not who you have at the top of your roster, but the bottom. In football, your stars can carry you even if you accidentally play an injured tight end. Not so in baseball, where hovering over the waiver wire like an online predator is a requirement if you want to dominate your league.

Shortcuts don’t work. I enjoy the audio mess that my be’s Fantasy Focus Baseball podcasts, but I have to put the time in to actually put the debate over who’s better, Dave Bush or Barry Zito, to use. (Okay, maybe not that debate.)

I don’t mean to clown those who devote the necessary time and research to building winning fantasy baseball teams. Their life has different priorities, and they have time for different things, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. They can make fun of me for staying out too late on weeknights getting lit up  instead of looking out for the hot minor-league prospect who just got called up if they want. It’s just different priorities. I only have so may hours in my day, and they seem to be devoted to work, the gym, writing, and drinking. I’m trying to at least add back in music and moviegoing, but I am not quite there yet. Looking for the next Evan Longoria just isn’t that big a priority.

So I will go back, I think to enjoying the baseball the way I used to: as a general fan of the sport, its traditions, its pennant races, and yes mathletes, it’s statistics. Sure, I might join a $25 league for kicks, but I’ll pretty much know that I’ll be dead money as long as I insist on being single and drinking a lot.

Fantasy baseball could see this coming; I just made this official. Still, I have try and finish out this season because it’s the right thing to do. It’s the competitive thing to do. It’s the fair and gentlemanly thing to do. So, if you’ll excuse me, it’s time for me to finally take David Ortiz and Rich Harden off the DL.


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