June 1, 2005

Two months into 2005, and I’m easily having the worst season in my 16 or so unofficial years of playing fantasy baseball. You know things are not going well when names like Peyton, Priest and Portis are on your mind on June 1.

Despite my annual string of unequaled bad luck, my biggest mistake this season was failing to draft pitchers who can actually win games. When you target arms who play for teams such as Kansas City and Pittsburgh, you need to make sure that your other starters are going to win you 15 or so games. Since wins are the most unpredictable of all pitching stats, this is not an easy thing to do, especially when you are the King of Katastrophes.

Heading into Tuesday night, my MLB.com office team (the team I care most about) was sitting in 10th place, and was dead last in wins with 18. Eighteen wins through eight weeks of baseball is downright pathetic. Only the Royals and Rockies have fewer wins, and they don’t have the luxury of throwing up to nine different pitchers every night like a fantasy owner does.

Three of my starters were scheduled to pitch on Tuesday — the infamous Oliver Perez, the just-healed John Patterson and the winless Zack Greinke. On top of that, Jake Peavy, Freddy Garcia and Greinke were all slated to appear for another team that only has 21 wins on the season (the league in which my wife is ahead of me right now, so I’m on a major mission to at least finish ahead of her).

Since Greinke had failed to win a game all season, and would be facing the Yankees (who of course I can never root against), I figured it was time to sit him down for the first time this season — in both leagues. The other four pitchers I left in, hoping to at least pick up a win in each league.

And while I planned on flipping from game to game last night, I wound up spending two hours watching "Survivor: Season 2" DVDs until I drifted off to sleep on my couch. The only baseball score I even saw before passing out was that the Yanks were beating the Royals 2-1 in the second inning.

So when I woke up Wednesday morning, I quickly flipped on ESPN to see how my night turned out.

One-by-one the scores appeared on the bottom of the screen…

WAS 5, ATL 4

All right, Patterson won in his return from the DL…

W — Ayala (3-3)

You’ve got to be kidding

PIT 5, FLA 4

Oliver finally gets back to .500…

W — Meadows (1-0)


SD 8, MIL 4

OK, no way Peavy didn’t get the win in this one…

W — D Reyes (3-0)

C’mon already

CWS 5, LAA 4

Can Garcia break the jinx that’s going on right now…

W — Politte (2-0)

Well at least Greinke probably didn’t get a win vs. the Yanks…

KC 5, NYY 3

Please tell me KC won this thing late…

W — Greinke (1-6)

This must have been a cruel joke.

On top of all of this, I decided to bench Victor Martinez last weekend in favor of A.J. Pierzynski, and of course, Martinez went deep for the second straight game. But on a brighter note, LA beat San Antonio in the WNBA last night, so my anger and disgust was quickly wiped away.

Some other thoughts from this past week…

I  ventured up to Cooperstown last Sunday with a few friends so that they could all experience the Hall of Fame. I’d been there three times before (1986, 1996 and 2003), and every time had taken the same lame photo in front of Vince Coleman’s cleats from his rookie season of 1985 (110 SBs — still the rookie record).

When I reached the records room, where the cleats can usually be found, they’d been replaced by Juan Samuel’s cleats from 1984 (Samuel had set the record with 72 steals a year before Coleman). I wound up posing next to Coleman’s name on a list of all-time SB leaders. Not quite the same impact, although there really isn’t much impact to this story to begin with.

I finally saw "Star Wars" last weekend and absolutely loved it, despite some shaky acting early on in the movie (led by the one and only Hayden Christensen, who to his credit, was better than last time). After leaving the theatre, I reverted back to being a three-year-old for the next 24 hours, buying 12 new figures, taking out my 80 or so ones from the 70s and 80s and watching the first three movies on DVD. Luckily for me, I’ve actually convinced my wife that this is normal behavior for a guy in his 30s.

My favorite part of any of the "Star Wars" movies comes right at the end of "Return of the Jedi," when Luke sees Obi-Wan, Yoda and Anakin’s ghosts, and everything is finally OK since the Empire has been defeated. This gets me choked up every time I watch it, almost as much as when Rudy sacks the Georgia Tech QB or Daniel LaRusso successfully uses the crane technique to defeat Johnny Lawrence.

However, since this was the first time I was watching the re-released version of "Jedi" on DVD, I was completely unprepared for the surprise that was waiting at the end of the film. Instead of Sebastian Shaw (the guy who played Anakin in the original version) appearing next to Yoda and Alec Guinness, Lucas dubbed in Christensen’s ghost, to help with the consistency of all six movies.

Having one of my least favorite actors ever appear in my favorite film moment of all time would be like having Jason Giambi show up on the 2000 Yankees World Series DVD,
spraying champagne all over Joe Torre.

Since I couldn’t end things this way, I quickly found the VHS re-release version, popped it in my VCR and rewatched the last five minutes, three times, until the thought of a grinning Christensen had vanished from my mind.

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