On Saturday night, after the Marlins’ Ricky Nolasco had gone the distance against the Phillies, an awful, regrettable thought entered my mind.
“Well, at least he’s on my fantasy team. If Werth didn’t hit that homer, then I could have had a complete game and a shutout.”
This is the first time that I’ve ever participated in fantasy baseball. I had shunned it for years because I couldn’t imagine cheering on a player who wasn’t a member of my beloved Fightin’ Phils, especially if they were a hated Met or Brave. But when thekdotcom invited me to join her all-female fantasy league for some hot girl-on-girl managerial action, I couldn’t pass up the chance to enjoy the camaraderie of my fellow baseball-lovin’ gal pals from Twitter. And while it’s been fun to draft players, review stats, and manage my roster, I just can’t shake the feeling that I’m somehow being disloyal to my favorite real-life baseball team.
When I drafted Nolasco, Johan Santana, and Josh Willingham, I knew that each player would be pitted against the Phillies-my Phillies-at least 18 times this season. As GM of “Annie Savoy’s Garter”, I’m supposed to want these players to succeed and give me big, gaudy stats that will help me crush the competition. (No offense, ladies.) But as a diehard Phillies fan girl, I want these three players to fail miserably, especially the pitchers.
Good pitching performances by Nolasco and Santana will most likely lead to wins for their teams, and wins for the Marlins or the Mets not only hurt my soul, but they also hurt the Phillies chances of winning a fourth consecutive NL East title and earning a spot in the playoffs. So every time that Nolasco and Santana pitch, I want them to suffer a severe and humiliating beatdown, much like the one that life has given to Lindsay Lohan.
Oh, and there are non-NL East guys on my squad that I have a problem with too, although for different reasons. Nick Swisher is on my roster. Nick. Freaking. Swisher. I can’t believe I’m rooting for him, and he’s not even the biggest douche on the team! Do you know how bad I felt earning a run as a result of A.J. Pierzynski’s acting against Toronto last week? (Damn, is it too late to write a limerick about that? AJ rhymes nicely with vajayjay!)
So how do I reconcile my desire to be successful in my fantasy league with my devotion to the Fightins’? I could bench Nolasco, Santana, and Willingham whenever they start against the Phillies, but that’s just bad strategy, and it doesn’t really solve the problem. I could waive them, but get real. I feel bad, but I’m not stupid. I’m not going to let someone else in my league pick them up and get nothing in return for them. My best bet would be to trade them for a power bat and a steals guy that aren’t in the division, but I’m not comfortable making those types of sophisticated roster moves just yet.
My friend and frequent Chicks commenter Da Beast Mon always tells me that when it comes to fantasy sports, there’s no team in I. By this, he means “that I am the general manager…and Nolasco and Santana play for ME, not for the Mets, and the team I am trying to benefit is MY team, not the Phillies, because there is no TEAM in I.” Using this logic, I should want the individual player on my fantasy team to be productive even though I want their actual team to lose. But I don’t want Nolasco to throw a complete game shutout if it means that the Marlins gain ground on the Phils in the division by doing so, no matter how much it helps me in the fantasy standings.
For this season, I guess that I’ll just remember that these players are going to put up numbers, and that I might as well use those numbers to my advantage when they’re good. But when it comes to the actual sport of baseball, I will always root for the Phillies to win and for everyone else to lose. Another parade down Broad Street is worth infinetly more to me than fantasy league bragging rights, and I’m sure the other ladies in my league feel the same way. And next season, if I do fantasy baseball again, I’ll try to convince thekdotcom to start an AL-only league.