May 18, 2005

After vowing never to employ Eric Hinske again, I gave in earlier this week and picked up the former Rookie of the Year. I was completely desperate for help at first base, and my choice of waiver-wire stars included Jason Giambi, Carlos Pena, Ken Harvey and the other usual suspects you can always find on the waiver wire.

I had drafted Brad Wilkerson back in March, but traded him a couple of weeks ago for Eddie Guardado, so Rafael Palmeiro had been manning first since then. Having a 40-year-old who’s barely hitting over .200 in your starting lineup is usually a sign that your fantasy team is pathetic and mired near the bottom of the pack.

  Rafael Palmeiro  /   1B
Born: 09/24/64
Height: 6’0"
Weight: 190 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: L

In my 15 years of playing Rotisserie, I’m pretty sure that I’ve never once owned Palmeiro prior to this year. While he’s had a Hall of Fame career, he’s just plain boring to own. I’m not really sure why, but a lot of it probably has to do with his ’80s mustache and the annual assumption that he is going to deteriorate due to age.

Last year, Raffy’s numbers started slipping a bit, as he failed to drive in 100 runs for the first time in a full season since 1992. But when he was still sitting around in the later rounds of the MLB.com office draft, I figured it was worth giving him a shot.

I played him sporadically the first month, and eventually moved him to full-time at the start of May when I sent Wilkerson packing. From May 1-13, he batted .147 (5-for-34), hitting a pair of homers with only three runs and two RBIs. When I finally had time to sit down last weekend and make a change, the only decent available option was Hinske.

Two years ago, Hinske was the guy that I decided to draft in every fantasy league I played in (Oliver Perez is that guy this year). He was coming off a stellar rookie season (.279-24-84, 13 SB), and I was convinced he would blossom much more in 2003.

That never happened. I held on to Hinske the entire season in just about every league, and suffered through his .243 average, 12 homers and 63 RBIs. In 2004, I gave him another chance on a few teams, but his numbers remained basically the same.

So clicking ‘Pick Up’ on Saturday was quite painful, but I’d had enough of Palmeiro and needed to do something different to try and get my team out of ninth place.

In two games since adding him to my roster, Hinske is 0-for-6 with four strikeouts, dropping his average from .279 to .266.

Palmeiro, apparently seeking revenge against me for getting benched, responded Tuesday night by going 4-for-5 with five RBIs and a steal. He only had 10 RBIs all season and yet managed to increase his total by 50 percent in one night, as well as double his steals total for the season.

So of course, I had to put him back in my lineup today and bench Hinske.

Translation: Pick up Hinske (at least for tonight) and trade Palmeiro while he has any value, even if it’s for Orlando Palmeiro.

Sean Casey, Marcus Giles, Rafael Furcal and Mike Lowell

One of my semi-good friends is playing in an NL-only league. He’s the typical guy who, after his draft every year, tells you how great his team is, yet usually fails to mention that there are only six teams in his league, and that the other five managers were on autopilot and forgot to pre-rank their players online before the draft

  Sean Casey  /   1B
Born: 07/02/74
Height: 6’4"
Weight: 225 lbs
Bats: L / Throws: R

In March, he called me up to tell me that he drafted an infield of Casey, Giles, Furcal and Lowell. He also repeatedly reminded me that he was playing in an NL-only league, in which sometimes you get stuck starting guys like Royce Clayton and Rob Mackowiak.

After acting like I thought he was the best manager ever, and feeding his ego for 10 minutes, I hung up and didn’t think about his team again until this morning when I received a quick e-mail from him asking for trade advice. His team was sitting in last place, and he needed to add some bats to help his pitiful offense.

So I went online to check some stats, came across some pretty interesting numbers, and sent him back this obnoxious e-mail.

How ’bout Casey, Giles, Furcal and Lowell for Morgan Ensberg.

Last 7 Days:

Ensberg: 11-for-18, 7 R, 4 HR, 7 RBIs, 1 SB

Your Fab 4: 10-for-87, 5 R, 0 HR, 6 RBIs, 2 SB

Actually that might not be fair, you better throw in Noah Lowry, since he has been so good for you so far this year (1-5, 6.45).

While my e-mail was probably uncalled for, he deserved it for all the bragging he did back before Opening Day and subsequently jinxing his team.

Speaking of jinxing, how come the reverse jinx theory never works for me? All I’ve done for five years is write about how bad my teams have been, and yet, they just keep getting worse. If gloating leads to failure, shouldn’t pouting trigger success at some point?

Baseball etiquette

Every time I go to a game, some fan ends up annoying me so much that I wind up missing a good portion of the action. When you have 50,000 people in a stadium, one or two knuckleheads can ruin a game for people who actually care. Here are three rules that I would enforce immediately if I was commissioner.

1) No cell phone calls allowed during innings.

If you really need to talk to someone, do it between innings when the only people you are going to annoy are those watching the dot/train/mascot races on the Jumbotron. Fifteen years ago you had to wait on line at a pay phone to get in touch with someone. If you were trying to locate friends at a game, you were pretty much out of luck unless you randomly ran into them.

Waiting until the inning ends is easy. Do it.

2) Learn how to get up and sit down

Why do people always insist on going in and out of the aisle during pitches? Is it really that hard to wait an extra five seconds? It amazes me that people have no clue that they are blocking everyone’s view of a pitch while they are trying to climb back to their seat. It is very easy. Just follow this basic sequence:

Pitch, ump calls strike, you say excuse me, you walk to your seat, you sit down (right away), next pitch happens, everyone in your row and behind you is happy.

Sounds simple to me.

3) Limit the drinking

I’ve complained about this in the past, but why would any true baseball fan ever get drunk at a game? When you have 6-7 beers, the following things happen:

? You stop paying attention to the game.

? You probably start talking way too loud, and about something no one cares about.

? Other people in your area start hating you.

? You spend 57 percent of the game either on line in the bathroom or ordering beer.

? Your odds of running onto the field or getting into a fight increase by 834 percent, meaning that your odds on going to jail instead of home after the game also increase substantially.

I just don’t get people sometimes.

Here’s hoping Revenge of the Sith doesn’t qualify as a Katastrophe in next week’s column

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