Herald Journal Columns
April 4, 2005, Herald Journal

I have the best fantasy baseball team ever assembled, I think

By Aaron Schultz

This is a message to all of those who are in my fantasy baseball league – mail it in.

The fantasy baseball season kicks off for us this coming weekend, and I am all but assured of wrapping up a league title.

With that in mind, I am giving everyone in my league a chance to save face and just hand over the trophy to me now.

Why am I so confident? I’m not sure, other than that I just have a good feeling about my team.

The draft was held just about two weeks ago, and at the time, I wasn’t all that happy with my team.

But as the season approaches, my confidence in a league title has grown.

Now, I look at my team, compare it to the other teams, and I really have no doubt that I am going to win it all, just like the Minnesota Twins are going to do.

I had a very good omen right off the bat which also has given me the idea that my team is a team of destiny.

In my eight-team league, I had the fifth overall pick, and watched as Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Vald Guerrero, and Carlos Beltran come off the board.

With my selection, I was leaning towards taking Barry Bonds, even though he is by far my least favorite professional athlete.

I dislike Bonds even more than I dislike Kobe Bryant.

In the end, I just couldn’t take Bonds, and decided on Alfonso Soriano, over Miguel Tejada.

My reasoning was that there are more quality shortstops in the league than second baseman.

Two picks later, Jason Hoff took Bonds with the seventh overall pick, and immediately begin gloating how he was going to, once again, win the title.

Last year, Hoff ran away with the league, and he sure isn’t shy about bragging about it.

Well, just a day or two later, it was announced that Bonds wasn’t going to be able to play for much of the season due to a knee injury, and might even be out the entire season.

Ha, ha Hoff, your team is going to stink.

As my second round pick came around, I was extremely happy to find third baseman Scott Rolen on the board, so I scooped him up.

As the draft continued on, I was pleasantly surprised to get many of the guys I had wanted, including Twins’ catcher Joe Mauer. Hopefully, he stays healthy.

Looking up and down my lineup, it is very solid, and I just don’t see another team that is going to be able to hang with me in the long run.

The only real X-factor is the injury bug, which I believe is the only thing that is going to be able to slow me down.

I know you are all on the edge of your seats waiting for me to list my team, so here we go:
• Catchers – Mauer, Twins; Jason Kendall, Oakland
• First base – David Ortiz, Boston; Tavis Hafner, Cleveland; Darin Erstad, Anaheim
• Second base – Soriano, Texas; Junior Spivey, Milwaukee
• Shortstop – Michael Young, Texas; B.J. Upton, Tampa Bay
• Third base – Rolen, St. Louis; Eric Chavez, Oakland
• Outfield – Carlos Lee, Milwaukee; Ken Griffey Jr, Cincinatti; Cliff Floyd, New York Mets; Pat Burrell, Philadelphia; Jacque Jones, Minnesota; Shannon Stewart, Minnesota, Milton Bradley, Los Angeles.

Yep, the more I look at my team, the more and more confident I get.

Just to let everyone know, we don’t use pitchers in our league, we play a three-game series against someone else in the league every weekend, and we start someone at each position, and anyone we want to at DH.

Starting for me this opening weekend will be Mauer at catcher, Ortiz at first base, Soriano at second base, Young at shortstop, Rolen at third base, Lee, Griffey Jr., and Burrell in the outfield, and Chavez or Hafner at DH, depending on the match-ups.

My first victim this year is a newcomer to our league, Gregg Kohler.

Sorry, Pretzel, but you will open up 0-3 this weekend.

Boy, is it going to be fun to run through this fantasy baseball season; I can’t wait.

College basketball at its best; go Louisville

If you are a college basketball fan, you must of had one of the best weekends in front of the televisions ever March 24-27.

The tournament field was narrowed down from 16 teams to the final four, and the games were great.

In particular, the four games which determined the final four teams were great.

You had North Carolina beating Wisconsin, Michigan State topping Kentucky in double overtime, Illinois coming back from 15 points down with four minutes to play to beat Arizona in overtime, and Louisville beat West Virginia in overtime.

And yes, Louisville is still going, making it to the final four, and are well on their way to winning the national championship, just as I had predicted.

Unless, of course, they lost to Illinois Saturday.

So, while Louisville and Ilinois both made the final four, like I had on my bracket, the rest of my bracket wasn’t even close.

In fact, I had just six teams right in the Sweet 16, which is pretty bad, but about right for me; and my other finals team, Oklahoma, didn’t get out of the second round.

Still, the basketball has been exciting, and I really enjoyed watching it.

Nobody better than the Gopher hockey teams

I just have to give a quick shout out to my Gopher hockey squads, which just keep on winning.

The Gopher women’s hockey team won the Division I National Championship over Harvard March 27.

The Gopher men’s hockey team advanced to the Frozen Four for the third time in four years by defeating Maine 1-0 March 26, and Cornell 2-1 March 27. Both games went into overtime.

Crow River Valley League openers

The Crow River Valley League opens up league play Sunday, April 24, and the opening games are as follows:
• Winsted at Hamburg
• Cologne at New Germany
• Norwood at Glencoe
• Green Isle at Watertown
• Young America at Mayer
• St. Boni at Plato
All games begin at 2 p.m.