Monday, March 19, 2007

A Bizarre Fantasy Draft

Last night I had my fantasy baseball draft, live by computer. I've been into fantasy baseball since 1988, and I've been doing it my computer with ESPN since 2001.

I love the live drafts, watching the selecting process unfold before my eyes. It can be fun, but frustrating at the same time. (I can't tell you how many times I've had players I really wanted taken just before I was ready to select them.) This year, ESPN has made some major changes to their fantasy game. Some are good, some aren't. This year, it is totally free, as opposed to the $29.99 you had to pay in years past. This year, you can also pick the categories you want to play for on offense and pitching and that is really good.

I am in a head-to-head league, with a 20-man roster and one for a player on the DL. (My other draft will be very different, with a 25-man roster and 12 players competing.) I joined it rather late last week, and I was the final one in the league. You have to take at least 12 offensive players, at least 3 pitchers, and five bench players. (I wound up taking eight pitchers.)

I am in two leagues this year, and my other draft will be on March 29. Last night's draft was scheduled for 9:15 PM and I got online 30 minutes before the start time. When I got to the site, I discovered that I had to download JAVA to get into the draft, but it said it would take close to 40 minutes to download. I went that route, but it was taking too long, so entered another way, by HTML.

I am in a 10-man league, and I got the number 9 slot overall to draft. That's a good slot, as I select 9th and then 12th, as the draft goes in reverse order each round. (I really hate a middle slot like 5 or 6.) I had decided to take David Ortiz as my number one pick. Just as the draft was in the middle of the first round, my computer went all screwy, I think from that JAVA download. I had to go off line, and go back on again. When I finally got back to the draft, three rounds were just about finished. (It went quickly because six fantasy players were not present, so the computer put them on "autopilot" and made the choices for them.) I discovered that the computer had picked David Wright, Carl Crawford and Michael Young for me. I was actually pleased with those choices, but I was miffed to discover the guy AFTER me had taken Big Papi.

I had problems throughout the draft with the "draft player" icon, and the 90 second clock had run out on my twice and made picks for me. There was one pick was definitely noy happy the computer made for me, a player I would NEVER have picked in this draft: Judas himself, Johnny Damon. (He'll be traded by me before the season starts.) I make it a policy of my fantasy teams: no Yankees ever. (I don't want to have to root for any of them in real life in any circumstance.)

By the time I finally settled in, I was able to land a number of players I wanted, like Daisuke Matsuzaka, Jonathan Papelbon and Ivan Rodriguez. But towards the end of the draft, the screwups began again, and I missed the last three rounds, through no fault of my own. It was absolutely the worst live draft I have ever been a part of, but surprisingly, I got a very good team I am happy with. Here it is:

C Ivan Rodriguez, Det C
1B Kevin Youkilis, Bos 1B
2B Tadahito Iguchi, CWS 2B
3B David Wright, NYM 3B
SS Michael Young, Tex SS
OF Carl Crawford, TB OF
OF Carlos Lee, Hou OF
OF Johnny Damon, NYY OF

UTIL Jermaine Dye, CWS OF

Felipe Lopez, Was SS
Nick Markakis, Bal OF
Jorge Cantu, TB 2B

Trevor Hoffman, SD RP
Daisuke Matsuzaka, Bos SP
Jonathan Papelbon, Bos RP
Brian Fuentes, Col RP
Randy Johnson, Ari SP
Eric Gagne, Tex RP
Chris Capuano, Mil SP
Derek Lowe, LAD SP

Hopefully things will go a lot smoother with my other draft next week. But I'll be online a lot early than last night, that's for sure.

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