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Baseball Notes: Fantasy and Opening Day

Cincinnati Reds Opening Day, 2010

I'm a little hazy on the first year I played fantasy baseball. I had thought it was a year before I got onto yahoo to play in 1999, but a conversation with a friend of mine from my first leagues at my wedding reminded me of another year where we did an offline draft at my house that must have been the second year of pencil and paper fantasy baseball. That would mean my first season was 1998 and for two years I would update the league by flipping through Baseball Weekly every Wednesday or Thursday in my study hall and tabulating points for every player on every team in the league.

Upon further review, I think in 1998 I ran two seasons, one in the first half where new teams would join after we started with just 3 teams and I would be stingy and hold on to Pedro Martinez and Larry Walker as we got up to 8 or 9 teams, and another that held the draft at my house around the all star game. I do remember that 1999 was my first season on Yahoo using a computer to run my leagues.

This year I am in two leagues, one snake draft that I am running with my friend Marty, and another auction league I have been in for a few years now. I used to be in another league for years that had categories I didn't enjoy and a batch of managers that were obnoxious that I gladly lost contact with a few years ago. I had my two drafts the weekend and the day before leaving for my wedding. The auction with 28 roster spots was the night before flying out early the next morning. Even though I got a little nervous I only had 2 or 3 players through the first hour and forty five minutes of the auction, and I spent more than expected on the first player nominated, Mike Trout who I didn't intend on even bidding on, I got a lot of the players I wanted and had a bit of money left over to make sure I got the last couple players I needed without a hassle at the end. My other draft mixed people from high school, two of whom live abroad one in Europe, one in Australia, some law school friends, and a few friends of Marty who lives in Pittsburgh. It was a fun draft that went a little long but didn't feel too slow.

Opening Day is a personal holiday for me and one of my favorites. I love the excitement that anything can happen and of knowing that there is a full season ahead. The first time I went to an opening day was in 2010 and I was living in Pittsburgh. I decided to drive to Cincinnati to see the parade they do and go to the oldest continuous opening day in baseball. It used to be the very first game every year, and now it's always in the first two days. I went by myself, got to enjoy walking around the parade seeing everything it had to offer, walked to the park and bought a Joey Votto shirt and Red's hat to fit in, ate a ton and enjoyed an exciting game where Albert Pujols hit two homers and Molina hit a grand slam. Joey Votto also hit a homer in that game and went on to win the NL MVP that year.

After that, I went to every Diamondbacks opening day in Phoenix through last year. The first year there was a lot of excitement for the team because they had come off a playoff season and the one seat I was able to get to the game was in the last row next to the air conditioning duct. I learned that at Chase Field they run the AC even when the roof is open. I'm not certain I'll go to the Twins opening day this year on monday as it might be a bit cold, but I might go out to see if I can take a long lunch to check out the game and go back to work after for an hour or so. I don't think I'd be able to last very long if it's especially cold anyways.

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