It's kind of pathetic that this sort of sappy introspection had to come on Mother's Day, but we don't select the days when our cliches become truths. They just happen. Like when you leave a waitress a big tip & you then find a $20 in an old pair of jeans.
The fantasy baseball league that I spend most of my time worrying about is called the Hyde Park Rec League. There are 10 teams. 12 hitting categories (batting average, on-base percentage, slugging percentage, walks, home runs, hits, runs, RBI, stolen bases - caught stealing as positives & fielding percentage, strikeouts, & grounded into double plays as negatives) & 12 pitching categories (wins, quality starts, holds, saves, strikeouts as positives, batting average against, walks allowed, home runs allowed, blown saves, earned run average, walks + hits / innings pitched, and losses as negatives) are scored in this league. We keep players here, although the method of keeping them is changing as we speak. Each team has 11 hitters (C, 1B, 2B, 3B, SS, CI, MI, LF, CF, RF, U) & 11 pitchers (5 starters & 6 relievers), with 8 reserves slots & 5 minor league slots. Aside from all of that, it's fun & occupies a lot of my free time.
That free time today was spent mostly thinking about replacing Torii Hunter.
Liking guys in fantasy baseball & liking guys while watching baseball are two very different things. I, as well as anyone who's not a White Sox fan, love watching Torii Hunter play baseball. He plays, in the best way, running & jumping & all of that. He plays, which is pretty rare in MLB. He jumps over fences for catches, he plows into catchers at home plate, he makes awesome bets with other teams & he's probably a really great guy. But I hate him in fantasy baseball. He's exactly the type of player who doesn't equal out in the stats, who is drafted way too early because "Hey, I've heard a that guy!".... Champs don't take guys like Torii Hunter. Let the suckers pick him up & laugh when they can't figure out why they're in last place. HA!
Torii's my center fielder. I didn't want him to be. I wanted someone who walks more, who doesn't get hurt as much, who hits a few more home runs & steals a few more bases, and when I say that, I mean I wanted someone who projects to walk more, hit more home runs, etc. Regardless, I was disappointed that while other guys get to play with the expensive toys (Sizemore, Beltran, Soriano, Ichiro, Wells, Damon) or their brand new toys (Bill Hall, Chris Young, Curtis Granderson), I got stuck with lumpy old Torii Hunter, too old & hurty to be new & lacking the excellence in statistical diversity to be expensive. Just Torii Hunter. 20 home runs; 75 RBI; .270 / .330 / .470.; 15 SB's. That's it. No MVP-talk. No "geez, he only 24 & look at how he's destroying the league!" comments. Just the hope that he'll play more the 2/3 of the season without spending too much time on the DL because I only have JEd to back him up & that would be a disaster. As an example of just how much I didn't want Torii Hunter to be my CF, when someone else out-bid me for Mike Cameron, I became internally despondent, sick with the knowledge that my CF would be easily the worst in the league. But, hey, I took my chances & I win these damn things all the time, so I'll just bide my time with Torii & see what sort of blockbuster I can pull off to obviously replace him by May 15th.
That's what I thought.
Here's what Torii Hunter has done so far this year (& in his career as well).
Pretty good, eh? .313 / .345 / .565 is pretty much everything I could ask for, right? 6 HR's? 7 SB's? Perfect! Thanks, man! That's performance at the 90% range of his PECOTA projection! This can't last...
You know it. I know it.
So, since the rest of my outfield is a minefield (Moises Alou & Chris Duncan, anyone?) I figured it was time to look for an upgrade out there & Torii Hunter would be the first to go. I really didn't want to be on the bad end of a Torii Hunter slump, so I thought I'd use some of my young pups (Felix, Cain, Delmon & Howie) to lure a better CF for the rest of the year. So I thought about Ichiro (you know, fast, gets alot of hits, you know).... then Chris Young (young guys = exciting!).... then Bill Hall (I just really like Bill Hall).... then Grady Sizemore (no way.).... Then Vernon Wells (like a younger, better Torii Hunter!).... No.. I just couldn't get it to work out... Nobody wants to trade with me! It's collusion! What am I going to so about my horrible outfield? I'm going to lose & it's all Torii Hunter's fault, that nice man with the sweetcheeks... I guess I'm just stuck with Torii Hunter for one more day...
(Torii Hunter's line for tonight's game v. Detroit)
Boy, my second baseman really sucks....