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Just Off-Camera

"They respect you if you write. The dumber the world gets, the more the words matter." -Dan Jenkins

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

"As Lonely As Paris Hilton In A Mormons Service"

I can't believe I only just discovered this. It's the Bill Simmons Column Generator, which was linked on Deadspin over the summer, when I was only reading sporadically in between Volcanoes games and drinking beer.

I created my own Simmons column, which I would like to share with you.

The Sports Guy Goes to an Auction

So I'm sitting there the other day watching ESPN2 and I see that Bobby Abreu had a great game. There is nobody, with the possible exception of Grady Little, that I dislike more than Bobby Abreu. In the pantheon of people that 'Make the Sports Guy the guy who's playing short in Boston right now,' these two are a 'the guy who's playing short in Boston right now.

The phone rings. It's my friend Bish. outraged! Bish is always willing to discuss our mutual distaste for Bobby Abreu. Don't get me wrong--we respect his abilities. But he's the the guy from King of Queens of sports. Totally annoying, yet on TV all the time. Bish mentions that it would be nice if Bobby Abreu caught a case of herpes at the beginning of September, paving the way for the Red Sox to the playoffs like Mack Strong on the clear.

Bish points out that the chances that Bobby Abreu will come down with herpes in September are minimal, but that if we expanded the possibilities, there would be a greater chance for debilitating success. As usual, Bish is a crazy genius.

Here is what we came up with:

4. Bobby Abreu receives a vicious Suplex from Tim Wakefield in front of 40,000 fans jammed into Bright Arena.

(On a side note, has there ever been a greater moment in sports than when when the guy hit the other guy with a chair? I don't even care if it was fake, that was sweet. That rivals when when Ray meets his Dad for 'Most Inspiration Non-Real Sports Moment 2006.)

3. Bobby Abreu is informed by his wife that their child was not fathered by him but rather by either Chris Reitsma or Ed Wade.

2. Bobby Abreu hangs scrapbook-style clippings of Ian Ziering and Daniel LaRusso in his locker and is immediately put on the DL.

1. Bobby Abreu meets Ryan Seacrest from American Idol, falls in love, and leaves team to begin filming 'My Fair Yankee.'

After we finish with the conversation about Bobby Abreu we turn ourselves to the real topic of conversation, the upcoming draft of the Michele Tafoya is Sexy Memorial Baseball Association, a new fantasy league that Bish and I will be joining this year.

Ordinarily, I'm never an advocate of partnering up to own a fantasy baseball team. That's like getting picked up by Heather Mitts and going back to her place, only to find out that Shawn Kemp is already there. If the best you get is to share, sometimes it's not worth it at all, right?

However, this league only had one slot open, so Bish and I agreed to partner up, in the hope that one of us could switch over and manage the next vacancy. After much debate, and eliminating the excellent possibilities of 'Naked Trivial Pursuit with muffins' and 'Mike Fetters's Shiny boozes as potential team names, we settle on 'Flop The Nuts.'

The thing that's exciting about this league is that it's an auction format league, which is totally different than a draft league. I mean, it seems as though it would be the same as a draft league, but it's not. It's like the difference between NHL 93 and NHL 94-you take out fighting and add one-timers, you've got a whole different game, even if they are both hockey. Any good sports fan knows that undefined but not everyone knows how to do an auction.

Pre-Auction preparation is important. First, it is important to choose a date when the auction will take place. This is easy. Choose the date when the whipped guy does not have to watch chick flicks, and that's your date. Finding the whipped-guy-can-make-it date is crucial for auction success. (speaking of which, what is with all these girlfriends who think that 'fantasy draft' is code for 'I'm going to have my buddies over to watch The Cars perform songs by Curtis Pride while I foot massage? Though that would be cool.)

Next, and more difficult, is the auction location selection. Many times people will choose to have their auction in a the bar. This is a bad idea. Nothing good can come of this; at the end of the day every person in the room is going to be hell yeah! and have an extremely sore undefined after four hours.

No, the auction must be held in someone's house-biggest furnished basement wins. The coolness of the wife/significant other can be a deciding factor if two people have similar options-say, if owner A has a NHL 06 arcade game, but owner B has a case of PBR. Nothing will kill a fun evening faster than the host's wife emasculating him with a 'Why don't you tell your friends that?.' We have selected next Tuesday night, at 8 pm, at a guy's house where his wife will be in going to the bathroom together, and therefore unable to disrupt the festivities.

I will not be sharing with you my player ratings for this coming season-after all, Ben Fineman doesn't play poker with the hand face up-but I will give you some insight into my auction strategy. The thing is, an auction has so much more of an influence on your season than a draft does. In an auction, every player in the league is at your disposal. Everyone starts out equal. It's the libertarianism of fantasy sports.

It's also like a triathlon. It requires endurance, it requires stamina, it requires concentration and planning. Without further ado, here is my 'Sports Guy Auction Strategy Guide':

Round One-get him with the jab

Once the auction starts, timing and strategy are much more important than they are in a traditional draft. The first hour or so of the auction has to be spent feeling out your opponents. Are they particularly loyal to the San Diego Padres? Do they have a tendency toward sarcasm? You are looking for weaknesses that you can exploit later on. Store these like reciepts

Here is a good place to test people by chucking out a few names of guys you-d never want on your team-aging, oft-injured players, like Ken Griffey Jr., or over-hyped rookies that will never pan out like Travis Lee.

Everyone is going to get some good players at this point, so make sure you don-t overpay and find yourself begging for money like Turtle asking for Vinny Chase's AMEX Black.

Round Two-Have a Sense of economics

In round two, there will be one moment that defines your draft. Things will be going along smoothly, and all of a sudden you'll get involved in a bidding war on a player. It's not unlike a big pot in a no-limit hold-em tournament-you'll have your Warden Norton-Andy Dufresne in the Shawshank Redemption moment, and you need to decide what to do.

Oftentimes, this will come down to a single dollar, here or there-if you bid $40 for David Wells, you know you'll get him, but you're facing a bid with the clock ticking. Are you going to be a hero, carried off the field like Aaron Boone? Or are you Rich Kotite, skulking off the field into the jeering history of your team's fans, with only your family still willing to speak with you. Now is your moment. Set the tone.

Round Three-Moving Day

Hour three of the draft is moving day, like the third day of The Memorial. You need to shoot a 68. This is where you'll fill out a lot of the players that, while less smoking, make up the core of your team. Do not discount the importance of moving day. If you wait until the next phase to build the core of your team, you'll find yourself as lonely as Paris Hilton in a Mormons service.

Moving day is the time to make things happen for your team. This is where you are going to define the season that you have. If you end up moving day by taking an accurate mix of future stars, injury-risk players, and the guy who's playing short in Boston right now, you'll be okay.

Round Four-The Game of Trivial Pursuit

By the end of the fantasy auction, the endeavor has become longer than my...well, it's a long. The only thing it can be compared to is a game of Trivial Pursuit, played among friends. Something that, at the beginning of the endeavor, seemed like such fun, but by the end of it, is just a group of people banging their heads against the wall, adamantly trying to finish what they started, the joy of competing against your friends replaced with a desire to prove that you are the Duke of All Trivia and that is that.

In this phase of the auction, you must be careful. This is the 'Do I fuckin' amuse you?' moment of the draft. People will be exploding like volcano, screaming incomprehensible things like Bernie Mac and threatening to seethes if they do not get their way.

Just bite your lip, set your jaw, and try and endure. It's a long season coming forward.

'Hey everyone! Come see how good I look!'

Oh, and speaking of Deadspin, check out who was the runner-up in their Minor League mascot of the year contest. Cheers!


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