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By Andrew Reilly
For reasons still not entirely known, I joined a fantasy football league last week. Perhaps it was for the thrill of low-stakes gambling, or perhaps it was for the simple pleasure of worrying how many points the Oakland Raiders will give up to the Eagles in Week Six.
But oh, what great surprise when I looked this morning at our league's standings, saw I was in a respectable third place, heard some supposedly awful news about my players' sad performances and simply did not care. At all. Not that I wanted to lose ground so early or anything, and not that I didn't expect greatness out of Messrs. Johnson, Turner et al, but having no real attachment to any of these players I could let their missteps slide. At the same time, viewing these greats of the gridiron not through the prism of who they are (or how I relate to them) but in terms of simple output made it easier to not worry about the fate of their teams - just the fate of my collective.
And it got me thinking about a way to enjoy the tail end of this year's White Sox tailspin. Not quite fantasy baseball, but fantasy bad baseball.
Player grounds into a double play: five points.
Player gets into scoring position and stays there: two points.
Outfielder misreads a fly ball: three points.
Outfielder makes a bad throw: three points.
Outfielder misreads a fly ball and makes a bad throw on the same play: ten points.
Infielder bobbles a routine grounder: two points.
Player hits a solo home run: four points.
Player hits a home run with runners on base: minus four points.
My mind raced at the possibilities; with fantasy bad baseball, I had created a way for every down-hearted fan to find some fun in the sad, miserable end of another sad, miserable season. I drew up some rules, thought of some friends to invite into my league, and dreamed up the brave new future of rooting for a non-spectacular finish.
Alas, as I drew up my draft kit, I realized this would never work out as I hoped. Not because there were no willing participants, nor for any lack of suitable draftees. No, what killed it was the same thing that drove its genesis: my team, if all went as planned, would probably win the league, but it was a team with whom I would surely bond, getting emotional and excited when I swore I wouldn't and caring about that which I promised myself I wouldn't even notice. My team would ruin me; my team would ruin itself.
My team was the White Sox.
Week in Review: Subpar. The split with Oakland and dropped series to the Angels prove the Sox can't win out West or at home.
Week in Preview: Floundering. Three against the equally inept Mariners followed by three at home with the lowly-as-usual Royals.
The Q Factor: "It's all about sequence," Carlos Quentin told his teammates prior to Saturday's game. "Everything in perfect, logical order, each object, person or entity pointing to its ideal next. If we can understand the sequentiality of the world around us, we can then understand not just our course but also our directive. Nothing is larger or smaller than anything else; everything in this world is merely indicative of something else, and I feel I can do my part to help that." Quentin then raised his average to a perfectly ascendant .234 - and kept it there.
That's Ozzie!: "If we played the way we did on our last road trip then we can pack it in before we get back to Chicago." - Ozzie at the dawn of the lost series in Los Angeles.
The Guillen Meter: His new outfielder putting up abysmal numbers, his new pitcher missing in action, and his newly-summoned rookie help not performing up to any exceptional standard, the Guillen Meter reads 8 for "Dude, where's my roster upgrade?"
Underclassmen Update: Rookie catcher Tyler Flowers remains hitless since being called up.
Alumni News You Can Use: Discussing injured pitcher Jose Contreras, Rockies pitching coach Bob Apodaca said, "Contreras is still having trouble as far as moving laterally and fielding his position." Apodaca was later informed that has actually been the Contreras Way since June 2006 and is unrelated to Contreras' recent health problems.
Hawkeroo's Can-O-Corn Watch: A lot of guys, they'll tell you five games back with a month to go is a lot, but I don't see why this team right here can't go out and win 15, 16, maybe all 18 of the games left to play, and don't think for a second the Tigers don't know that. Those Tigers, they know not to count out our Sox. That Jim Leyland, I tell ya, that Jim Leyland is probably right now telling his players, "Don't count out these White Sox until every game hasn't been unlost." Because that's what baseball is, it's managers telling players the things they need to get out there every day and play baseball.
Endorsement No-Brainer: Scott Podsednik's Saturday homer that never made it into the seats for the Wilsonville, Oregon, summer festival: Fun in(side) the park!
Cubs Snub: In the third inning of Saturday's game at Wrigley Field, former Sox backup catcher Corky Miller was running from second to third when an errant Aramis Ramirez throw hit Miller's helmet and bounced into the stands. Having completed the greatest play in the history of the world, Miller scored.
The White Sox Report: Read 'em all.
The Cub Factor: Know your enemy.
Andrew Reilly is the managing editor of The 35th Street Review and a contributor to many fine publications.More from Beachwood Sports »
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