Herald Journal Columns
March 27, 2006, Herald Journal / Enterprise Dispatch

My roster is set; let the games begin

By Matt Kane

I am officially a fantasy league geek.

Part of my weekend included sitting down with nine others for hours deciding what remaining major league players will perform the best this season, in turn, helping me claim the top prize as the fantasy baseball league winner.

I may be a rookie in this league, but I just may have put together the finest lineup.

With names like Pujols, Soriano and Chavez, I don’t see how I can be beat.

My competitors might view this as trash talking, but I see it as confidence. For, like any sport actually played on the field, heading into competition thinking you are the team to beat gives you an edge over opponents who are unsure of their capabilities.

One general manager in our league declared, after his first draft pick, “I hate my team.”

Consider his season a wash. With an attitude like that he might as well give up.

Taking into account my lineup, it’s all over but the crying anyway.

I am sorry to report to Twins fans that I steered clear of any ‘Dome dwellers, a common move throughout the draft.

It took five rounds before Joe Mauer was selected as the first Twin.

I did, though, honor former Twins outfielder Jacque Jones, by selecting him in the ninth round. A move to the National League could have a negative effect on his offensive numbers, but Jones is now playing for the Chicago Cubs at Wrigley Field, where the Windy City breeze has been known to aid a few fly balls.

Looking back, I realize I have another former Twins player, Todd Walker, who also plays for the Cubs. He was my 18th and final selection, chosen out of the necessity of needing a backup second baseman.

Now that I am apart of a rotisserie league, I wonder how it will affect me as a baseball fan. I suspect it will bring me full circle, back to my early teenage days when I could recite the top 10 batting leaders off the top of my head.

Back then the box score section of the daily newspaper was popular in the Kane household. I probably shouldn’t admit this being a sports writer, but, now, statistics take a back seat to game stories.

In trying to remember the last Major League Baseball season, I couldn’t tell you who the batting leaders were for either league.

I don’t know if joining a fantasy league will transform me back to a statistics guru, but I will probably give a few more looks to the small print following the game stories.

I hope being a fantasy league owner will familiarize me with the newer players in the league.

I drafted Clint Barmes in the seventh round, and, if not for a preseason baseball magazine, I never would have remembered he is the shortstop for the Colorado Rockies.

But now he is on my team and he better make good use of that thin air in Denver.

If Barmes doesn’t perform, Orlando Cabrera (Los Angeles Dodgers) and Jack Wilson (Pittsburgh Pirates) will be ready to take over the shortstop spot.

Don’t worry, being involved in a fantasy league won’t deter from my love of baseball. I will still frequent the Metrodome as much as I can to watch the Twins and whatever team they are playing, and I will still pull for the home team.

I will, undoubtedly, take notice of any players on my roster who may be playing against the Twins in that day’s game. But cheering for one player doesn’t mean you are cheering for his whole team.

Don’t think I want Cleveland to win any games against the Twins just because Ben Broussard plays first base for my team as well.

Now that our draft is over, it is a game of waiting for the season to start.

Come April 4, though, I will be more than ready to see the Twins take to the Rogers Center (formerly the SkyDome) field in Toronto to face the Blue Jays in the season opener for both teams.

The Blue Jays?

That means Bengie Molina. He’s one of my catchers.

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