I've been thinking quite a bit since last year that my run of playing fantasy baseball has come to an end. I've never been a complete obsessive about the whole thing, never come close to winning my current league, but still found some fun and entertainment from it all. The last few seasons though it's felt more like a habit than anything else.
The very first league I was in was my last year of undergrad, 1991. No Yahoo, ESPN or whatever, the commissioner collected the stats every week from USA Today and the standings were updated from there. After that, I ran a league in grad school for a season, about 1994, still no web-based leagues. In both those early leagues the best part was draft day. We actually got together, in person! and made a night of it. It was the best part of the season, really. Especially with the league I ran, once the work started it became a bit of a drag.
Web-based leagues were a life saver in that regard. No longer did someone have to crunch all those numbers, week in and week out. The stats were updated immediately which was awesome. Draft day was still pretty good too, though sitting and eating wings at the computer kind of felt pathetic, not to mention messy on the old iMac. Still, it was a time to get in touch with folks from last season, razz one another about shitty pick-ups and curse the person taking your prized sleeper pick.
The straw that might just break the camel's back this year comes from last year's experience and some observations from my baseball spouse. We did our yearly draft, which I barely got to be a part of due to, lord knows what at this point. After that the last message on our communal board was April 7th. That's right, pretty much an entire season went by and we didn't communicate with one another. While I finished dead last, which isn't a big surprise, I was third in total roster moves with 26. The league winner made 49 moves and the fourth place finisher made 34. The person who finished second, baseball spouse, made only 17 moves. He also admitted that about July he didn't check in on his team until the end of the season. This not only illustrates that I'm really bad at this, but like me, interest from a quarter of the league, 2 players was dried up by late July. Is it worth limping along at this point?
Honestly, I don't know. Looking at the league page from last year, we've been at this since 2003. Nostalgia and habit are really powerful forces. However, baseball spouse made a great point. In 2003, this was our social media. Facebook hadn't made it's big splash, not to mention twitter, so this was a way to engage with folks and in the case of most of the guys in the league a way to stay in touch with friends. I'm a bit of an interloper with no connection to the other players outside of the league. Checking in on the fantasy team was a way to check in on baseball in general. Now, it's always there. MLB At Bat, Twitter, my own White Sox updates have made the habit of checking in on the fantasy team less necessary and more of a chore. So if the league, "Those Guys" goes belly up, I won't be too surprised. I'll miss it around March 29th or so, when draft day would occur. After that I'll barely notice it's gone, just like the last few years.
My podcast working the way I'd like, so if you'd like to hear some US History presented in a lively, fun way, check it out! (warning! the first two episodes audio is not good, but by episode three, I got it!) Episode 41 is up! 1777 part two Get Your History On! Oh and you can get it on iTunes too!