MLB Clubs Undermine Own Chances at Title

by Moonlight Graham

In 2003, in an attempt to regenerate fan interest just a year after a lack of available pitchers forced MLB Commissioner Bud Selig to declare the All Star Game a tie, Baseball’s hierarchy decreed that the Mid-Summer Classic would now determine home field advantage in the World Series. It wasn’t already bad enough that the rosters were watered down by the requirement that each team, no matter how bad, must be represented; now, a player from a second division club could have a hand in deciding the outcome of the sport’s premier event months in advance.

While the move was and is opposed by many, I never really had a problem with it.  Not because I agree with the concept; it’s completely ridiculous to think I’m staying up that late to watch Garrett Jones of the Pittsburgh Pirates face Kansas City Royals’ closer Joakim Soria because I’d like the Mets to have home field if they get that far.  However, because the old system of alternating the privilege was also completely without merit, I figured, “Who cares?”  Until I realized that the new policy actually gives mindless fans the opportunity to hurt their team’s shot at a championship; often at the prompting of it’s own front office. We’ve all been to the ballpark in the early part of the season and heard the huge pitch to vote for the hometown boys.  Actually, you don’t even have to attend a game anymore, as on-line balloting has given everyone a voice.  “Send Joe Blow to Los Angeles for the All Star Game”, blare the ads.  “Forget the stats, vote for our guys!”  On the surface, a nice marketing strategy, but one that could prove fatal to a championship run.  Continue reading »

The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

by Moonlight Graham

Once upon a time, before the evolution of the internet, Fantasy Baseball information was hard to come by.  News regarding critical issues such as day-to-day injury situations, rookie callups and even trade rumors were rarely current.  Often, it was necessary to directly call the MLB club in question but, even then, it was as likely as not that you’d reach someone that didn’t already frown on the entire concept of Fantasy Baseball.  Which brings me to the kid in Milwaukee.  I  never got his name so, I couldn’t say if he’s still in baseball but, wherever he is, there’s a former, public relations intern of the Brewers that, probably, still curses ole’ Moonlight at the very mention of Dan Plesac.

Sometime in the early nineties, Plesac, the Brew Crew closer, was nursing a bad elbow while a member of Moonlight’s Master Batters.  After a few absences from the daily box scores and no mention of an injury, I placed my first call to the unsuspecting intern.  Surprisingly, he really didn’t seem all that interested in the fact that a tight Saves race might decide my league.  He was equally unsympathetic when I explained that I couldn’t pick up a replacement unless Plesac was disabled by Milwaukee.

So, I asked, “Hey, what’s up with Plesac?”  “Is he going on the DL?”  “Not to my knowledge”, came the reply and thus started a daily correspondence over the course of the next six days.  Exasperated, he finally admitted to me that Plesac was likely out for awhile but, as rosters were about to expand on September 1st, would not go on the DL.  If he’d have only told me that in the first place, I’d have had another relief pitcher and he; an enjoyable week. Continue reading »

by Moonlight Graham

You know you’ve had a good run as a Fantasy Baseball League when you’ve been around to see the entire career of a Hall of Famer like Ken Griffey Jr. Long the property of the Monroe Pearls of the Hausier’s Krowedum Rotisserie League, Griffey was one of the reasons the league decided to no longer retain players from year to year. “I’d like a shot at Junior”, was a common refrain, “why should Fat Cat get to keep him forever?” Griffey, a first-ballot Cooperstown entrant regardless of the injuries that plagued the latter part of his career, was one of the game’s greats; certainly one of Fantasy Baseball’s greatest, and, now that he’s decided to retire,  will be missed. However, he was not the only giant lost to the Fantasy Baseball world as Forte Bellino, long-time owner of the U.B.40′s, U.B. Jews and charter member of the HK Roto League as well as its first champion, passed away suddenly at the sinfully young age of fifty eight.  A high school teacher, administrator and coach, Fortunato left behind legions of family, students, colleagues and waiters (his favorites)  that he filed under the one category that mattered to him most: friend. Continue reading »

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