Monday, April 03, 2006

Opening Day

I've been debating about whether to keep this blog going. The fact is that my true passion in life, my first love has awoken from a hibernation. And that is baseball. I am a very obsessive compulsive person, but no where is this more extreme than with baseball. I spend countless hours every day pouring over statistics. I am in involved in several fantasy baseball teams as well. So with all my analysis it is hard for me to find time to write here.

At the risk of sounding bold and perhaps a bit pretentious, I am an expert in this sport. I am usually dead on in predicting pennant winners and flops. I scoff at the expert preseason analyses, which usually only proves that most sportswriters really don't know what they're talking about. My team, the Mets, has been chosen by several to win the NL East. They have very little chance in doing so. Pedro Martinez has a bad toe, the type of injury that can only get worse during the season. After Pedro comes the geriatric ward. 40 year old Tom Glavine, just a sad shell of his Cy Young years, followed by Steve Trachsel. Trachsel was never more than a No. 4 starter at best. Coming off an injury-plagued year and adding a few years to his age puts him at a high risk. Then we've got the "great" Victor Zambrano. This a pitcher who's only still with the Mets because they don't want to look TOO bad for having dealt Scott Kazmir away. Not only has Zambrano been a total ulcerous cancer, but he's currently injured. And with all that top of the line starting pitching, management decided to trade quality pitcher Kris Benson to the Orioles for a washed up reliever in Jorge Julio. The suspected reason for this trade? The wild antics of his soon to be ex-stripper wife Anna. Who cares about a quality pitcher--we can't have his sexy wife entertaining us.

For offense the Mets have no right fielder and no 2nd baseman. Their new catcher, Paul Lo Duca, is as inadequate at throwing out baserunners as Mike Piazza, but without the power of Piazza. With Carlos Delgado at first we should see a few more throwing errors from the left side of the infield. Cliff Floyd in left had a career year last season, and by that I mean one in which he was never injured. The chances of his playing back to back injury free seasons are quite remote.

I predict the Braves to once again come out on top--they have the arms in Smoltz and Hudson, and the experience. I predict the Phillies to be their biggest competitor. What should be interesting, however, is their bullpens. Atlanta's closer is Chris Reitsma, far from a sure thing. The Phils are using Tom Gordon, who is past his prime in that position. Florida's winter firesale leaves the team depleted in most areas, but many of their rookie fill-ins will be surprisingly good. Florida may actually have a winning team again in a couple of years(at which point they'll probably be in San Antonio). Washington should also be better than many people think. They've got good starting pitching with Hernandez and Patterson, and a half-decent offense. But Soriano in the outfield will hurt them more than he'll hurt opponents at the plate.

One team that may finally be a bit entertaining is Tampa. They have a lineup chock full of young speedsters, but will suffer with a lack of pitching. Ex-Met Scott Kazmir still isn't mature enough to be a real factor, but he can be exciting to watch.

But all in all this is the day I love the most each year. When all teams, including Tampa and Pittsburgh, have a chance to win. I have my MLB Extra Innings sports package to follow all the games for fantasy baseball.

Fantasy Baseball is what every fan needs when their team isn't looking so hot. And if you can play it well you can make some decent money. I'm involved in large league throughout the country that is very competitive. I've won some small money in the past, but never the big one ($30K). My problem is a lack of patience and making too many trades far too early in the season. But each spring I renew my vow not to trade in April, and this year is no exception.

I'm in another league at work, which I have always come out on top. My experience playing in the more challenging league lets me easily coast past all my clueless co-workers and collect a few hundred bucks each season.

So, as of now, I'm already making plans on what to do with my 30K once I win the big prize. Let my obsession begin.


Blogger Henry Baum said...

Geez, that's a pretty bleak view of the team. I'll stay more optimistic. The Mets are going to win 162 games. Actually, scratch that. They're going to win 173 games. The first team to go 173-0. Happy Opening Day.

1:03 PM  
Blogger exley said...

Sorry, Henry, but I have to deal with the Mets' "high hopes" every year. They won today, but it wasn't impressive. Glavine was all over the place--he was lucky in that he was facing a poor ballclub. The Mets also got a lucky break from the ump's bad call on Soriano. That changed the whole outlook of the game. What the Mets need to win is leadership, exuberance, pitching and defense. They have very little of that right now. They have a bright future with Wright and Reyes, and hopefully they won't screw it up with those two(I don't like that they refused to give him more money this spring--he's the building block of a franchise.)

Management feels the need to give in to the pressure of New York and sign big names. Just look at the fiasco of 2002--Vaughn, Alomar, Burnitz, etc. But I am a die-hard Mets fan 'till the end. I get caught up when they do well(last season was exciting until late August)and root for them whole-heartedly. Maybe my problem is that I'm always comparing to the 1986 team. But that team was so perfect, and it's feasible to build a team close to that one again. They just don't seem to go in the right direction.

10:05 PM  

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