OK, so the pressure is mostly off.
Well, not entirely. My Tiger's Blood Scoresheet team did make it to the league World Series, only to get swept in four games and a rather ignominious fashion, and as a result, the only fantasy baseball thing I still have going is my Strat-O-Matic squad, who still could make the postseason as we are in our final month of play.
However, having just been eerily swept by Jason Grey's Pimp Ministers, I have no more chance of winning that league than I guess I did my Scoresheet setup.
Not that I don't have four fantasy football teams to anguish over each and every Sunday (and Thursdays starting Nov. 10), although football does not give me the same headaches and endless pondering that baseball does.
Cruz's slam was extra grand
But, suddenly, with the postseason, there is a simple luxury that I love. And that, my friends, is the freedom to simply watch a baseball game for the fun of it. With no strings. Meaning I don't care if Magglio Ordonez goes 4-for-4 against C.J. Wilson, or how many homers Albert Pujols hits off Zack Greinke and Shaun Marcum combined.
In fact, as I write, I am watching the Tigers and Rangers duke it out in extra innings. And, yes, the Rangers, who had the bags juiced with none down in the bottom of the ninth, should have walked away with a win by now. For, I am sure had Adrian Beltre tagged on David Murphy's short fly out to left field, but, c'est la vie.
I understand Pujols has already homered to put his team ahead of the rival Brewers, and I will surely monitor that game once the Rangers and Tigers are done (while I also pepper in looks at the Bears and the Lions).
There is something so wonderfully pure about simply watching the game and the pitches and the plays at face value, not worrying about WHIP and ERA and OBP.
Not that I am knocking fantasy games, for they truly add a dimension not just to watching a game, but to watching players and systems and understanding drafting and skill sets. In other words all the things I look for when I am playing fantasy games enhance the basic pleasure of the game.
Still, baseball is a simple game. You hit the ball, you throw the ball, and you catch the ball. In fact, in some ways the game is so simple, it is elegant.
Of course, within the game's simplicity are strategies and varied skill sets and a million rules, and a million exceptions and best of all, no time limit.
And, well, I have to say that just enjoying that paradox of simplicity and complexity as the playoff teams hash it out to prove superiority is kind of a gift.
Better, it seems this year with the game teams are striving to show us something more dramatic, day to day, than we had seen just a contest earlier.
Never has the last day of the regular season been so wonderfully goofy and topsy turvy. Followed by a first round of playoffs that proved just as compelling.
And, now, as I prepare to flip to the Brewers/Cards game (with that check on the Bears and Lions), following Nelson Cruz's majestic grand slam blast icing win No. 2 for the Rangers, I can only shake my head and laugh at how much fun watching baseball is.
Better, I am glad to give my brain a statistics break, at least till the end of the month and the AFL and the days when once again ground-outs-to-fly-outs and walks-to-whiffs will matter.
For now, well, everyone needs a vacation.
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.
About Lawr Michaels, 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.
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