I have pretty good instincts, which is an advantage over my league mates much of the time. I get a sense of players who will get hot, or simply a chance to play.
One friend once described this skill as the logical harmony between having great recall, along with the ability to trust those very instincts.
Of course, the universe being what it is, I would not be handed this "gift" without some form of cosmic retribution.
One of them is that if I turn the TV on to watch players on my teams, they almost always fail.
Another seems to be if I go on vacation, my team will tank.
Well, last week I went on vacation, and, well, you guessed it: my team TANKED.
Hamilton: a thorn in no one's side
Now, one of the things I love about this particular vacation, for it is one I take every year, is that during the seven day spread, I have no cable or wi-fi.
This might sound like I am asking for it team meltdown-wise, but, well, I will start working on baseball 2012 in November. And, each year, first week of August, I go to performing arts camp in Cazadero, Calif. So, that is 10 months of pretty much columns every week.
Cazadero is about 90 miles from where I live in the Bay Area, and the camp is nestled in a grove of redwood trees, some of which are over 1,000 years old. Among the campers are a lot from my Bay Area music community, and we play guitars and drums and violins and harmonicas and many other instruments, this year including a Didjurydu.
There are dance classes along with those in photography and animal tracking and circus.
I tend to stick with music, playing as much guitar and bass with my friends - in an outdoor theater at the center of those redwoods no less - as I can.
Well, in addition to the camp, one of the "advantages" as it were is no TV or wi-fi, not that it is a rule. It is more a case of lack of cell towers and signals. And, I really love the week's break from the digital world. In fact my camp mates know I would prefer to not even discuss baseball during that week, and by the time I come back to civilization I really am refreshed (try a week without sometime as it really is great).
The problem is I come home and face the chaos of CC Sabathia being knocked around a couple of times and Coco Crisp twisting his foot and not playing. At least that is what happened this year when my LABR team, which has been in first place since late April, stumbled and fell to 77.5 points, which is two-and-a-half less than Chris Liss' Rotowire squad.
What makes the situation this year so much more painful is Josh Hamilton. You see, Chris has the Josh on his LABR team just as I have the Texas flychaser on my Tout Wars team.
Well, back in April, when Hamilton destroyed his shoulder and was out for six weeks Chris sent the LABR guys a note lamenting the injury and second guessing the purchase.
I sent Chris a response saying that I was in a similar position, but, that it was OK, for while our teams were a little lower in the standings without our star and other cohorts, we had the advantage of being dismissed.
Further, if we could hold our spot, victory in fantasy and lots of other competitions was often a factor of being hot at the right time. And, that Hamilton was the kind of guy who could get red hot and truly carry a team, so if we could hang in the middle of the pack till the right time and get our stars back after the break with a little fire in their stick, well, the other teams should look out.
Chris' ascension does not seem to be so much the result of Hamilton's being en fuego, though his team is playing well, but it does seem like mine could not be colder.
Surely, as we move towards the end of the month I am not even close to out of it for there is a good 15 points I can grab, but the problem is Chris and I are locked down close in a lot of them, especially average, home runs, and RBI.
I do refuse to bag going to camp, let alone giving my aging brain a bit of a respite. But, I think I am going to focus on the first week of August next year, for I don't mind if my team has a bad week. Every team has them, in fact most winning teams can endure around four of them over a season and still do their thing.
But, maybe if I focus on another week, where I am not afraid to look at the standings when I come home refreshed, that would be good. Maybe I can even use those instincts to make my team play lousy sometime during spring training.
See more of Lawr's work, including the Hotpage (published each Monday) and Bed Goes Up, Bed Goes Down (each Saturday), along with the work of Todd Zola, Brian Walton, and the Mastersball team at www.mastersball.com.
Lawr Michaels has been a player in the fantasy baseball industry since he began writing for John Benson in 1993. He has written for STATS, Inc, was the first fantasy columnist for CBS Sportsline, and has appeared in numerous journals and on websites. In 1996, he founded CREATiVESPORTS, a staple for serious fantasy players, which he merged into Mastersball in 2010.
Over the years, Lawr has participated in a wide variety of playing formats and won numerous titles, including AL Tout Wars crowns in 2001 and 2009. Along with his Mastersball duties, Lawr works for MLB.com as a statistician.