Why YOU should play fantasy baseball

Jack Canfield

Just like millions of other kids out there in the US of A, I grew up with baseball. I went to my first Major League game when I was just a few months old, I played T-Ball for the first time when I was four and by age eight, I was watching probably close to 80-100 games of baseball every year. It consumed my childhood, and, I’m happy to say I have never outgrown my love for the sport.

For all of these reasons, I consider myself a true baseball fan. So, when I first heard about fantasy baseball, I was skeptical. A game where you field a fictional team of real players to compete against other fictional teams of real players? Not only did it sound dumb, but also like a complete waste of time – and perhaps most of all, it sounded unendingly nerdy. I readily and enthusiastically declined any and all invitations to play in my friends’ leagues. I was a true fan – of the real game of baseball.

Well, as fate would have it, after a few years of staunch opposition to fantasy sports of any kind, I decided to give it a whirl. Who would it hurt?

Well, that was all, folks. While I completely admit that it’s still unendingly nerdy, I love fantasy baseball and – wait for it – I think you will, too. I’m not only talking to people who watch 80 games of baseball every year. I’m talking to you – the connie who plays the bassoon and hasn’t left the practice room yet this term. Or you – the earthy Co-op dweller – and yes, even you – the vocalist who won’t stop singing whatever opera you’re singing in the cafeteria. Yeah, that’s me too.

I’m talking to all Lawrentians. Here are three reasons why you – yes, you – should play fantasy baseball.

1. Fantasy baseball is exactly like a socially acceptable Pokémon for adults. How many of us actually knew a ton about Pokémon, yet still bought the cards? A lot of people out there collected the cards because they were pretty. It was a matter of shameless possession. Everyone had a favorite Pokémon for one reason another. Mine was Bulbasaur. Why? Because he looked cool.

The same principle applies to fantasy baseball! You don’t have to know anything about baseball to enjoy the game. Do you think Troy Tulowitzky is a funny name? Draft him for your team! He’s a great short stop. It doesn’t matter how you draft your players – but once you do they are yours, and you go to battle with them! You can even name your team something ridiculous like DiBella’s Dingers or Jill Beck’s Pecs! There’s a sense of ownership and when you win – euphoria! Degrade the losers! Gloat! Gamble! Fantasy Baseball doesn’t actually have to be about baseball. It can be about winning.

2. Fantasy baseball is a great way to meet your future spouse. Imagine this: In your league of Lawrence students there is this really, really cute girl. You have no idea how to approach her, and outside of the league you don’t do any of the same activities! But come draft day, when she selects Elvis Andrus – your favorite player ever – just before you can, you now have an excuse to walk up to her in the café and start throwing out trade proposals. Or, if you are actually mad about it you could berate her for taking your favorite player. Either way, you have a conversation a conversation of real substance that will keep all awkwardness at bay, and, if you play your cards right you could end up naming your first-born Elvis. It’s just a thought.

3. In all seriousness, playing fantasy baseball makes you normal. And we all know that Lawrentians strive for normalcy. It at least gives you something to help connect with people outside of the Lawrence bubble. Heck, if you find it too normal, if you all actually follow my advice and join a fantasy league, it would make Lawrence even weirder. We would be known as that small Midwestern liberal arts school where Fantasy Baseball is a rampant school tradition. Now that’s weird. It could become an entire counter culture. It could be a political statement. Or it could just make you more normal… which can be a good thing.

Lastly, you can play fantasy baseball because you love baseball. Which is what I do. And if you don’t know anything about baseball, it’s a great way to learn about a great sport, one that at Lawrence goes especially unnoticed.