My 2015 Fantasy Baseball team has not performed anywhere near the lofty expectations that were established on draft night. In the happy moments of draft night, "Melky Way Galaxy" seemed like a pretty sure thing. Solid pitching, strong bats, and a healthy blend of veterans with exciting rookies of untold potential. As owner of this freshly assembled group of athletes, I left the draft feeling confident and even, perhaps, a bit arrogant.
Now, well past midway in the season, my team stands in last place of its division, and nearly last in the league. I don't think I am mathematically eliminated from the playoffs, but math isn't my strong point.
Of course, I take much of the blame on myself. At the beginning, I was an attentive manager, shifting players on and off the bench according to number of games to be played in the next week, hitting streaks, and strength of opponents. Perhaps the high point of the season came in the second or third week, when my managerial skills let us to a five point victory over a stronger, but less intensely managed team. Bu then came managerial debacles like sitting in a Monday afternoon meeting and suddenly realized that I had not set my line-up, resulting in healthy players on the bench while red "DTD" or "DL15" designations adorned my starting line-up.
But not all the blame belongs to me. Lately, my team goes out and just doesn't show the hustle or love of the game that I expect of professionals. My rookies have floundered, and I blame my veterans for not giving them leadership. True, I may have deflated the team somewhat when I cut the eponymous Melky Cabrera and replaced him with a hot hitting outfielder who turned out to merely be streaky.
But what is going on in the clubhouse? How can Cody Anderson put up -5.5 points against the Brewers after having been on a streak? And why has Todd Frazier failed to help out David Peralta with some swing tips? It seems like my team goes out on their various fields every night without any sense of burning passion to win one for me and the Melky Way Galaxy. When I see the members of some of the better teams in my league, such as Dick Howser M.D. and Gattis Great Gattis Good take the field, you can just sense that they know they are playing for a higher cause than their MLB team. They have a sense of spirit, because they are united to help a fantasy team in my league. Sometimes, I think I see them winking to each other across dugouts.
I won't give up. With a 4 and 10 record, I stand little chance of catching the leader of my division, L'Infante Terrible, but I can still bring up my total points past some of my fellow cellar dwellers, such as Not George Brett's Pants, and Moustakis Is Loose. My fantasy team has suffered much so far this year, but I hope that this experience will drive them to make 2016 a better year with an underdog spirit.