Friday, November 21, 2014

I Want to Hang Out with The Fabulous Freebirds

Being born in 1984, the entire 80s is a dark period for me when it comes to WCW wrestling. I either remember or have rewatched numerous times the important matches from the WWE, but that era of WCW is a pretty big dark spot in my knowledge of pro wrestling history. Watching the WWE Network has been fantastic in that I have learned so much about that era of WCW. Maybe the most important thing that I have learned is there may not be a group of pro wrestlers that I would rather hang out with than the Fabulous Freebirds.

Although their ring work would never win any awards, these guys understood that wrestling is sports entertainment as they knew how to entertain a crowd. Although purists probably consider Buddy Roberts as a true Freebird, for my money, there was no greater combination than Michael P.S. (Pure Sexy) Hayes, Terry Gordy, and Jimmy "Jam" Garvin (who was also referred to as "Gorgeous" Jimmy Garvin).

Jimmy Garvin is the happiest person on the planet. They did a promo after wrestling to a time-limit draw, and all he could do was talk about how great a draw was. He admitted that it wasn't as good as a win, but it's still pretty damn good. Also, Michael P.S. Hayes was a guy I only remember late in his career when he had lost a step (or 30), but he was pretty great in his prime. Those two guys were originators in the field of West Coast Dance as they would take turns dancing as the other one just aggressively pointed at him. It was wonderful. Then Terry Gordy was one of the ugliest people ever, but a total bruiser. He was rightfully phased out, so Garvin and Hayes could follow their true destiny and become the hard partying rock stars of wrestling.

To simplify it, the best I can do is a comparison to It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. I can just about guarantee that Michael Hayes used the D.E.N.N.I.S. System, Jimmy Garvin used the M.A.C. and Gordy took the scraps. I guess this makes Buddy Roberts Rickety Cricket and DDP is Schmitty.

Guys, if you're reading this, I'm near the Tampa area, and my offer stands to party. I'll supply the booze, you supply the stories, and together, we'll have one hell of a time (And if you need chicks, we can go to a strip club, just don't tell my wife). 

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Everything You Need To Know About The Furious 7 Trailer

Two minutes and forty-two seconds. It doesn't sound like much time. It is less than 1/20th of an hour. It is only about 1/500th of a day. Overall, that little amount of time really shouldn't matter. Still, any individual second can count, and this weekend, I found something where every one of the 162 seconds matter. The Furious 7 trailer was released, and it is glorious.

Since I am on the verge of dying from anticipation, Lukewarm Jonah sent in his comprehensive breakdown of the Furious 7 trailer:

So I don’t think I’m overstating the fact that the most important event in human history just happened.  The Fast And Furious 7 trailer dropped.  I’m going to break down the trailer with as much detail and thought that a super fan like myself can.

The trailer starts out with Dom (Vin Diesel) talking on the CB radio to his crew.  The shot goes from him, to Letty (Michelle Rodriguez), to Roman (Tyrese) and we hear from Tej (Ludacris) who is asking Roman if he’s freaking out which he clearly is.  Now why is Roman freaking out so much?  I mean they’re all in cars, it’s basically where they live.  It’s no stretch to call them the greatest team of drivers ever.  Roman says he’s not freaking out but Tej calls him out and he and Brian O’ Connor (Paul Walker) have a good laugh.  Roman wants someone to walk him through what they’re supposed to be doing.  Come on Roman know the plan, I mean you’re probably just driving and pulling off a heist or something get those butterflies out of your stomach.  The red light goes off, some sort of rear door opens and we get to see everyone in some sweet rides.

Cut to an exterior shot of an airplane!?  What the hell?  They’re in an airplane?  In cars?  Now this I’ve got to see.  I mean they have a lot of experience in airplaning from the last movie, but I didn’t see any doomsday devices handed out.  O’ Connor says “Just when you thought it couldn’t get any better” to his boy Dom.  Dom says “Here we go” while Roman provides some comic relief by blessing himself.  What is going on here?  Holy shit they throw the cars in reverse and skydive out of a fucking plane, IN CARS!  Parachutes deploy and they make it onto the road no problem.  Tej sums it up better than I ever could, “Hell Yeah!”  I would just like to take a minute and point out that the trailer starts with the crew skydiving out of a plane in cars.  That’s the start, we’re just ramping up from here.

The crew is now driving on a road, all normal like, when they pull up on a bus.  Oh we’ve seen this before.  Clearly they’re going to be taking this bus down.  Are they springing someone from a prison bus?  Pulling off a big heist?  Who knows?  But we all know that if there’s one thing that Dom and the crew can do it’s pretty much anything they want involving moving vehicles.  But “Oh Shiiii….” Tej again has the perfect words for this situation.  The bus presses a magic button and guns come out of the side and start firing.  O’ Connor’s car is lit up with gun fire and he seems to pull off to the side.  But no big deal, reunited lovers Dom and Letty “Hook ‘em up” and fire gatlings into the bus and pull off the back with a little help from Tej’s magic button and the power of brakes.  Dom says Brian is up, but wait a minute I thought he pulled over.

Naw girl, he’s freaking surfing on his bullet hole ridden car while being pushed by Tej’s hummer.  So he hops into the bus taking some chump down in the process.  While it’s not shown, it’s safe to assume he takes down the other jabronis on the bus and shoots a lock on a door, pulls the hood off of some person, and surprise, it’s an attractive female.  Brian, being the all american good guy, tells her they’re going to get her out of there.  She has to jump onto the hood of Dom’s car and really seems to have no problem doing so.  She screams, but I assume Dom uses his super driving skills to chill her out.  But there’s a problem.  With all the jabronis Brian took down, there’s no one driving the bus and it flips!

The bus rides along the road on its side for a little bit before coming to rest.  Whew!  That was a close one.  Oh did I forget to mention that it comes to a rest over the edge of a cliff?  Because that’s exactly what it does.  O’ Connor hops out the door which is the part that’s hanging over a cliff.  He climbs up the side of the bus like a boss but the rocks are starting to crumble.  He breaks out in a dead sprint across the bus while it’s falling over the cliff.  Things look bleak, but Letty is racing towards the bus.  She power slides as Brian is still running across the falling bus.  He leaps and catches the spoiler on Letty’s powersliding car.  Holy shit looks like he made it out of this one safe and sound.  The bus falls off the cliff and all those kidnapping dickheads on board presumably fall to a terrible death.  And that’s the end of the trailer.  Or is it?  It’s not.  No all of this insane action has happened in about the first minute and a half.  How are they going to top all this?  Strap yourself in and get ready for a hell of a ride.

Dom’s on the phone with some limey who killed Han (Sung Kan).  The limey says that Dom doesn’t know him but he’s about to and the scene where he crashes into Han and walks away is shown.  The tea sipper is shown to be Jason Statham.  Dom tells his crew that it looks like the sins of London have followed them home.  Also of note, new rescued girl is with the crew now.

Hobbs (Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson) makes his first appearance and you know business is about to pick up.  He explains that new foreinger is Owen Shaw’s “Big bad brother.”  Man, Dom and his crew have horrible luck.  It seems like every movie they keep running into someone bigger and badder than before.  I have a theory that Fast 8 will feature Owen’s brother Deckard’s bigger badder cousins, Nic Cage and Jean Claude Van Damme.  Also as you just read, Hobbs’ file contains the name Deckard Shaw, so it’s safe to assume that’s Statham’s character.  We get a couple seconds of Deckard being a badass against some randoms, just to establish how tough he really is.

Tej makes a statement that really sums up what’s going on “We’re being hunted.”  Look I don’t care how tough you are, how tough your brother is, you’re not going to hunt down Dom’s crew.  They show shots of Dom, Hobbs, and O’ Connor getting ready by having some sweet/giant guns and bullet proof vests.  It’s interesting to note that O’Connor is wearing an FBI vest, so at least O’Connor is back on the legit side of the law.  After this, there is a very poignant shot of Dom and O’Connor where Dom states “One last ride.”  Sadly, Walker’s death does mean that this is truly their last ride together.

Cut to shots of insane cars driving… in the desert????  I know it’s the desert because there’s a shot of sand and camels.  What have the guys gotten themselves into now?  Oh there’s an insane party going on with gold painted girls and quite possibly Little John DJing while a bunch of presumably rich people throwing their hands in the air like they just don’t care.  Cut to a shot of the crew dressed to the nines.  Tuxes, suits, dresses, they are straight crushing walking down stairs.

Cut to a shot of a car race, where Dom’s Charger can be seen.  I’m going to go out on a limb and predict that he wins the race.  Good news, there’s also a sweet shot of some booty as a chick bends over and drops the scarf to start the race.  Letty’s driving, then there’s some red and an explosion.  Gunfire in that red building, then cut to a shot of Dom driving his Charger.  Lots of Fast and Furious action going on here.  We see that Dom has a cut on his hand as he shifts, I assume from backhanding some bad guy too much.  The word vengeance hits the screen and we go back to the real star of the movie, Hobbs.

Hobbs utters possibly the greatest line ever spoken by anyone, “Daddy’s got to go to work.”  Oh and work he does.  His arm is in a cast which is very confusing.  My theory is that Shaw blindsided Hobbs just like he did to Han.  Only Shaw was driving a tank, Hobbs was just standing around, and he had just finished drinking a kryptonite smoothie.  Seems like the most logical way Hobbs could end up with a broken arm.  So it’s tough to tell if Hobbs rips the cast off, or just simply flexes and breaks it apart.  But the message is clear, Hobbs doesn’t let a minor setback like broken bones slow him down.  Now he fights some dude with a shaved head that at first I assumed was Shaw, but upon pausing the trailer, it looks like just some random jabroni that a smackdown must be laid down upon.  Hobbs makes this guy look like a punk even with one arm and punches him through a glass window.

We get a shot of Shaw looking tough with a gun, as a familiar voice, Kurt Russell, tells Dom something that sounds like, “This is a world that doesn’t play by your rules.”  Followers of Dom know that he has a code, and spoiler alert, we’ll hear more about that code later on in the trailer.  It’s not all “Show me how and drive and I’ll show you who you are.”

More quick cuts, Shaw shoots a gun, possibly at a sick red car that’s driving in a sick house.  Hobbs is firing a gatling gun, just like Roadblock in GI Joe.  Letty’s in a red dress, Dom’s in a tux with Letty in a red dress, kidnap victim is coming out of the water in a bikini as Roman and Tej look on.  A helicopter flies, O’Connor drives a car like a champ.  Dom and Shaw appear to have samuri swords in each hand as they fly at each other.  Shaw’s sweet ride is wrecked while Dom’s Charger seems to be in pretty solid shape.

The next shot has Shaw against the cement part of a street light with Dom winding up for a home run swing.  Sadly, it appears that Dom is swinging a crowbar and not a samurai sword.  He misses and explodes the concrete.  Smart fans will remember that Dom is especially deadly with wrenches, so it makes sense he’s a complete badass with a crowbar as well.  The trailer then shows shots of Tej, Roman, Letty, and the first shot of Mia (Jordanna Brewster) O’Connor’s wife and Dom’s sister.  She looks concerned, and I mean super concerned.  Kurt Russell’s voice speaks over these shots and tells Dom, “Like it or not, you and your friends are part of this now.”  Dom responds with the wisdom that cannot be taught or learned, it has to be God given.  “I don’t have friends, I got family.”  Boom!  Suck on that Shaw, you and your brother may have been blood, but you don’t have shit on Dom and his family.  Cut to a long shot of O’Connor and Roman in the background.  Furious 7, weird title, coming April 2015.

And that’s your trailer folks.  I’m writing this from my smart phone as I’m already camped out in line for the movie.  If you have any other questions please feel free to ask, because I feel that I’m the foremost expert on all things Fast and or Furious.

Monday, November 3, 2014

What Does Jose Canseco's Missing Middle Finger Mean For His Career?

News of Jose Canseco shooting off his middle finger has the whole world in mourning. It took me a while to gather my thoughts. Jose is a very emotional person, but emotional people need logical people to balance them out, so instead of the emotional take of me cutting my own middle finger off to donate to Jose, I have decided to take the rational take.

What does this mean for Jose Canseco's career?

Baseball
We will start with the obvious in discussing his baseball career. Jose assured the world that he could still hit 40 home runs in the major leagues if he was just given a chance. Most people openly laughed at this belief, and I was laughing too; I thought that number was way too low. Turns out other people thought it was too high. This made me think that he probably had it just right. This is the easiest one to figure out. Since he would hit 40 home runs with ten fingers, but now he only has nine fingers, he would still hit 9/10 of the home runs he predicted. So a team should definitely still sign him.
Conclusion: 36 home runs.

Writing
Jose Canseco is a published author who is known for his inventive spellings and sayings on Twitter. Now that he is typing while missing a vital finger, clearly he can't be as great as he once was, but I still believe him to be great. He's been going on a tweeting spree referring to Leila as his fiance which would imply that she is a man. Blowing off a finger can only end in one way for Jose Canseco's writing future.
Conclusion: All the misspelled words.

Mixed Martial Arts
Although Canseco's record may indicate that he has fallen short in the world of fighting, don't let these stat nerds fool you. Canseco fears no man, and if you think Jose will ever stop challenging Shaq to a fight, you have another thing coming. Obviously losing a finger will make things incredibly difficult for Jose, but don't ever count him out. Nick Newell has done incredible things while missing half of his arm. Since Jose is only missing a finger, I think I know how this story ends.
Conclusion: UFC Champion

So, yeah, I think things are going to turn out a-ok for Jose. Best of luck to him on a speedy recovery.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

The Essential Breakdown of My 2014-2015 Fantasy Basketball Draft

After wrapping up the longest fantasy baseball story ever told, I figured that if there was one thing that my loyal readers needed, it was more fantasy talk. But fear not,  my friends, as I have at least moved onto basketball. If you have not had your draft yet, this actually might be helpful, as I will highlight my best and worst picks while highlighting my own thinking on my picks in the round. We can trade draft picks in the league I am in, so just a heads up, I have 4 of the first 14 picks in the draft, and I am going to throw the world's biggest hissy fit if my team doesn't win the championship.

ROUND 1
1 LeBron James, Cle SF      The Outsiders
2 Anthony Davis, Nor PF   Flint Tropics
3 Kevin Durant*, OKC SF   The Outsiders
4 Stephen Curry, GS PG     Butt Stuff
5 Chris Paul, LAC PG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
6 James Harden, Hou SG     For the love of the game
7 Russell Westbrook, OKC PG Wennington Baseline
8 Blake Griffin, LAC PF     Team Agan
9 John Wall, Wsh PG           Team Roy
10 Carmelo Anthony, NY SF Team Ehrecke
11 DeMarcus Cousins, Sac C   The Outsiders
12 Serge Ibaka, OKC PF       Team schneider

Best Pick: Carmelo Anthony
Carmelo is about as much of a guarantee that you can get in the top ten. He has always been healthy, and he always finishes in the top 10. Worst case scenario is that you get the tenth most valuable guy at the ten spot. Carmelo may not be a winning player in real life, but he is one in fantasy. I was very disappointed that he got taken one spot ahead of me.

Worst Pick: Blake Griffin
It's tough to fault any of the picks in the first round, but you are taking a gamble that Blake is going to take a step forward this season. He definitely could, as everybody has been raving about his progress in the offseason, but even if he takes a step forward, he'd still only max out around the eighth most valuable player in the league.

My Pick(s): LeBron James, Kevin Durant, DeMarcus Cousins
I took LeBron #1, even though I doubt he is the number one rated guy at the end of the season. He is the safest guy to take that will guarantee be a top five guy, and I traded for so many top basketball picks that a safe pick here made total sense, especially with my second pick. Most people may think this is too high for Kevin Durant, but I am in a special situation where I can manage having him on my IR spot while he recovers and still be strong early on in the season. When healthy, he is the best fantasy player to have, so playoff time, I'll be ready to destroy people. Finally, I took DeMarcus Cousins. I would have liked Melo to fall to me, but I am totally good with Cousins, especially since he is just fun to cheer for. I definitely thought about Ibaka here, but in a toss-up situation, I'm going to take the guy I like more.

ROUND 2
13 Damian Lillard, Por PG   Team schneider
14 Kevin Love, Cle PF          The Outsiders
15 LaMarcus Aldridge, Por PF Team Ehrecke
16 Kawhi Leonard, SA SF    Team Roy
17 Ty Lawson, Den PG         Team Agan
18 Kyrie Irving, Cle PG        Wennington Baseline
19 Al Jefferson, Cha C          For the love of the game
20 Derrick Rose, Chi PG      It's Not The Same Macklemore
21 Dirk Nowitzki, Dal PF     Butt Stuff
22 Chris Bosh, Mia C           Flint Tropics
23 Kyle Lowry*, Tor PG      Team Marcysquirts
24 Goran Dragic, Pho PG     Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Derrick Rose
This is because I am a Bulls homer, but did you see him against the Cavs the other night? It was magical. D-Rose is BACK. If just one of my predictions for this year comes true, I want it to be me cruising to a fantasy championship, but if two of my predictions can come true, this is the one I am hoping for the second most.

Worst Pick: Kyrie Irving
The other guy on the Cavs is someone I'm not as sold on. He is going to have to work without the ball in his hands, and I don't see him adapting nearly as well as Love. Also, he does have injury issues, and I would not trust his health enough to invest a mid-2nd round pick.

My Pick: Kevin Love
Kevin Love is consistently a top-5 fantasy player when healthy. I understand he is no longer the number one option, but he is still going to be a huge focal point for that offense. With LeBron and Kyrie alongside him, he will get more open three opportunities, but can also hang out near the rim and get more chances for offensive rebounds and putbacks. I actually had him ahead of Cousins on my list but figured I could wait on Love as worst case, I would probably end up with Ibaka. Love fell, and I am very happy to have him.

ROUND 3
25 DeMar DeRozan, Tor SG Flint Tropics
26 Andre Drummond, Det C Team Marcysquirts
27 Dwight Howard, Hou C    The Kid From Thunder Struck
28 Nicolas Batum, Por SF     Butt Stuff
29 Monta Ellis, Dal SG         Team Ehrecke
30 Marc Gasol, Mem C         For the love of the game
31 Kenneth Faried, Den PF    Wennington Baseline
32 Joakim Noah, Chi C         Team Agan
33 Mike Conley, Mem PG    Team Roy
34 Kemba Walker, Cha PG   Team Ehrecke
35 Klay Thompson, GS SG   The Outsiders
36 Victor Oladipo, Orl SG    Team schneider

Best Pick: Joakim Noah
This was a tough one, but Noah provides so much in every category but three pointers that he may end up being the best big guy in this round despite being the last one taken. The other guy I would make an argument for is Mike Conley who is usually pretty healthy and will provide strong point guard numbers. He probably won't be a whole lot better than 33rd overall, but it is unlikely that he is much worse.

Worst Pick: Victor Oladipo
He put up solid numbers last year, but he had the ball in his hand a lot more than he will have it in his hands this year with the addition of Elfird Payton. He's a fine player, but I feel like his best case scenario is being around mid-30s at the end of the year, and if his shooting doesn't improve, he could be about twenty spots worse.

My Pick: Klay Thompson
Klay Thompson provides on the scoring stats, because the dude can shoot. But his defense has improved over the last few years, and I think he might improve some of his other counting stats as he has shown a more well-rounded game each year he has been in the league. He was a safe choice, who has some upside, but probably won't be too much more valuable than 35, and he does add value as shooting guard is a very shallow position in the NBA.

ROUND 4
37 Paul Millsap, Atl PF         Team schneider
38 Al Horford, Atl C              The Outsiders
39 Eric Bledsoe, Pho PG       Team Ehrecke
40 Rudy Gay, Sac SF            Team Roy
41 Kobe Bryant, LAL SG     Team Agan
42 Dwyane Wade, Mia SG    Wennington Baseline
43 DeAndre Jordan, LAC C   For the love of the game
44 Jabari Parker, Mil SF       It's Not The Same Macklemore
45 Nikola Vucevic, Orl C     Butt Stuff
46 Thaddeus Young, Min SF The Kid From Thunder Struck
47 Jrue Holiday, Nor PG       The Outsiders
48 Gordon Hayward, Uta SG Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Eric Bledsoe
I love Eric Bledsoe, as he could easily be a top 15 fantasy player if he stays healthy throughout the season. The issue with him is health and likely reduced playing time with the addition of Isaiah Thomas. Still, if he does stay healthy, he will outperform his draft slot and be a very valuable guy who can play both guard positions.

Worst Pick: Jabari Parker
With any rookie, there are going to be growing pains. Jabari is very talented, but he is not a generational talent, as he wasn't even the first pick in the draft. I do think he will likely be the best rookie, but considering some of the other talent available on the wings at this point in the draft, it was too much of a reach for my liking.

My Pick(s): Al Horford and Jrue Holiday
Al Horford is incredible at basketball. His pectorals are incredible at tearing in half. Did I take the wrong injury risk by going with him over Bledsoe? Possibly, but I am going to trust in Horford's talent and assume that pectorals will not constantly rip in two. When he's on the floor, he's one of the best big men in the league, and I have no doubt that he will outproduce his teammate, Paul Millsap, who was taken one pick before him. Also, I love Jrue Holiday. He is a really good point guard who has the talent around him to make plays. Health was a concern last year, but if he would have been healthy last year, he would probably be taken in the early third round. Without him, the Pelicans struggled, but they could make a huge leap with him running the show for the whole season.

ROUND 5
49 Ricky Rubio, Min PG              The Kid From Thunder Struck
50 Chandler Parsons, Dal SF        The Outsiders
51 Deron Williams, Bkn PG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
52 Derrick Favors, Uta PF            Butt Stuff
53 Brandon Jennings, Det PG          It's Not The Same Macklemore
54 Brook Lopez*, Bkn C              For the love of the game
55 Nerlens Noel, Phi C                 Wennington Baseline
56 Wesley Matthews, Por SG             Team Agan
57 Jeff Teague, Atl PG                  Team Roy
58 Josh Smith, Det SF                   Team Ehrecke
59 Pau Gasol, Chi PF                    Team Marcysquirts
60 Michael Carter-Williams*, Phi PG Team schneider

Best Pick: Wesley Matthews
Matthews has quietly turned into one of the best shooting guards in the league as the guy can flat out shoot. If you told me his stats at the end of the year were exactly the same as Klay Thompson's, I wouldn't be surprised (although as a Klay Thompson owner, I'd be slightly disappointed). He's just a really solid player. He won't be great, but he'll probably outperform his draft spot by about ten positions. A similar guy is Jeff Teague who was doing some great things when Horford was still healthy at the beginning of last year. In a completely different vein, Josh Smith has enough upside that his risk is worth it at this point.

Worst Pick: Michael Carter-Williams
He is coming off a serious injury so he will likely not be playing at the beginning of the season, and he is someone who was great at the beginning, but then really struggled while having a few bounceback moments at the end. His big question was his shooting, and I don't know if he really answered whether he can shoot. Making it worse is that Rajon Rondo was sitting there, who is better than MCW in just about every conceivable way. I hate Rondo, but I'd draft Satan for a fantasy championship.

My Pick: Chandler Parsons
The worst case scenario for Parsons is that he matches his Houston numbers, but I do think he has a good chance to improve on what he has done in the past. Having Dirk stretching the floor gives him an opportunity to penetrate where he is very good at finishing. Also, there are likely going to be some open three opportunities with Dirk on the outside and Monta driving to the hole. I was actually hoping for Gordon Hayward to fall a couple spots to me, but I was totally happy to still get Parsons.

ROUND 6
61 Tim Duncan, SA PF         Team schneider
62 Andrew Wiggins, Min SG Team Marcysquirts
63 David Lee, GS PF            Team Ehrecke
64 Rajon Rondo*, Bos PG    Team Roy
65 Terrence Jones, Hou PF    Team Agan
66 Luol Deng, Mia SF           Wennington Baseline
67 Tony Parker, SA PG        For the love of the game
68 Zach Randolph, Mem PF It's Not The Same Macklemore
69 Joe Johnson, Bkn SG        Butt Stuff
70 Bradley Beal*, Wsh SG   The Outsiders
71 Lance Stephenson, Cha SG Flint Tropics
72 Jonas Valanciunas, Tor C Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Rajon Rondo
Our league has a lot of Bulls fans, so that means we are required to hate Rondo, and that showed in our draft, as he was only drafted as high as he was because the guy who picked him didn't show up and auto-drafted his team. Still, Rondo is good in fantasy basketball situations, so it was probably the best pick of the round. But as a Bulls fan, Rondo is the worst.

Worst Pick: Andrew Wiggins
I think Wiggins will be solid this year, but the guy is raw. He can definitely have some 30 point performances, but consistently, I don't see him getting it done to the level of some of the other guys drafted in this round.

My Pick: Bradley Beal
This is me taking advantage of having many early picks and having the luxury to stock a talented player on my bench for first month or so. Beal is awesome, and I would have taken him two to three rounds earlier if he had been healthy. I could see him making a big step forward this year with his name being just behind James Harden's for best shooting guard in the league.

ROUND 7
73 Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mil SF Flint Tropics
74 Tyreke Evans, Nor SF              Team Marcysquirts
75 Marcin Gortat, Wsh C              It's Not The Same Macklemore
76 Kyle Korver, Atl SG                 Butt Stuff
77 George Hill, Ind PG                 It's Not The Same Macklemore
78 Trevor Ariza, Hou SF              For the love of the game
79 Greg Monroe, Det PF               Wennington Baseline
80 Brandon Knight, Mil PG          Team Agan
81 Markieff Morris, Pho PF          Team Roy
82 Ryan Anderson, Nor PF           Team Ehrecke
83 Elfrid Payton, Orl PG               Team Marcysquirts
84 Jeremy Lin, LAL PG                Team schneider

Best Pick: George Hill
Somebody has to put up points for the Pacers; why can't it be George Hill? The other options are not all that appealing. Hill will have the ball in his hands a lot more, and that alone should mean that he sees an uptick in his production.

Worst Pick: Giannis Antetokounmpo
Everybody loves Giannis, but he has a long ways to go before he is a truly valuable fantasy option. He will show brilliant flashes throughout the year, but he is still raw. I think he takes a step forward, but taking him this early requires him taking a leap forward, and he is at least a year away from that.

My Pick: No Pick
This was a good round to not have a pick, as the talent is starting to get pretty uninspired.

ROUND 8
85 Tobias Harris, Orl PF       Team schneider
86 Reggie Jackson*, OKC PG Flint Tropics
87 Arron Afflalo, Den SG     Team Ehrecke
88 David West, Ind PF          Team Roy
89 Nikola Pekovic, Min C    Team Agan
90 Jose Calderon, NY PG     Wennington Baseline
91 Robin Lopez, Por C                 For the love of the game
92 J.J. Redick, LAC SG        It's Not The Same Macklemore
93 Jeff Green, Bos SF           Butt Stuff
94 Danilo Gallinari, Den SF The Kid From Thunder Struck
95 Darren Collison, Sac PG   Team Marcysquirts
96 Larry Sanders, Mil C        Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Larry Sanders
I feel like Sanders will bounce back from the year when everything went wrong. Him putting up 10-10 for points and rebounds while adding a couple blocks a game seems like a likely scenario.

Worst Pick: Tobias Harris
This was a really tough one, because none of these picks were really bad. They were mostly middle-of-the-road picks who are all kind of varying degrees of fine. The reason I picked Harris is because the Magic drafted Aaron Gordon who is also a fringy forward who can play either spot, and they are going to give him minutes to see what he can do. Oh yeah, and they added Channing Frye to soak up some minutes as well. Otherwise, I think Tobias Harris is a pretty solid player who I enjoyed having on my team at the end of last year.

My Pick: No Pick
This was kind of an uninspired round, so I didn't really have any regrets.

ROUND 9
97 Isaiah Thomas, Pho PG    The Outsiders
98 Roy Hibbert, Ind C           The Kid From Thunder Struck
99 Jimmy Butler*, Chi SG    The Kid From Thunder Struck
100 Kevin Martin, Min SG     Butt Stuff
101 Jared Sullinger, Bos PF    It's Not The Same Macklemore
102 Patrick Beverley, Hou PG    For the love of the game
103 Alec Burks, Uta SG          Wennington Baseline
104 Eric Gordon, Nor SG       Team Agan
105 Jordan Hill, LAL PF        Team Roy
106 Jamal Crawford, LAC SG Team Ehrecke
107 Tyson Chandler, Dal C         Team Marcysquirts
108 Omer Asik, Nor C            Team schneider

Best Pick: Roy Hibbert
This was an inspired round as there were a lot of high upside guys taken that could pay off. Hibbert was dominant at the beginning of last year, and I think he will be much closer to that than he will be to the guy who looked like a statue down the stretch and in the majority of the playoffs. He could easily lead the league in blocks. By the way, I liked a lot about this round as Butler was a nice value pick. Beverly is now a full-time point guard. Jordan Hill will put up counting stats on a terrible team, and Asik will get consistent minutes again to be the defensive anchor for the Pelicans.

Worst Pick: Kevin Martin
What is the benefit of giving Martin minutes over Wiggins and LaVine? Anyone? Anyone at all? Yeah, I think he will see a big decrease in minutes and production. He's also a likely trade candidate for a contender to have even less of a role off the bench.

My Pick: Isaiah Thomas
I love Isaiah Thomas this year. He was int he top 20 in fantasy production last year. He did switch teams, but the Suns have said they are planning on rotating all three of them in the game, so he can still expect to get 25-30 minutes, with the majority coming with the bench unit where he will have free reign to score at will. His numbers will drop, but not to the point where he should have fallen to this spot. I'm not sure if there was a player I was targeting harder than Thomas.

ROUND 10
109 Avery Bradley, Bos SG    Team schneider
110 Anderson Varejao, Cle C Team Marcysquirts
111 Trey Burke, Uta PG         Team Ehrecke
112 Mario Chalmers, Mia PG Team Roy
113 Andrew Bogut, GS C       Team Agan
114 Taj Gibson, Chi PF          Wennington Baseline
115 Nene Hilario*, Wsh PF    For the love of the game
116 Spencer Hawes, LAC C         Team Ehrecke
117 J.R. Smith, NY SG           Butt Stuff
118 John Henson, Mil PF       The Kid From Thunder Struck
119 Paul George*, Ind SF       The Outsiders
120 Julius Randle, LAL PF     Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Trey Burke
Man, I really wanted Trey Burke too, but it made sense that he didn't fall to me. I think Burke will take a significant step forward this year, and considering that Mario Chalmers went one pick after him, how good of a value must Burke be? Like, Burke could play the year with Ebola and still probably outproduce Mario Chalmers.

Worst Pick: Mario Chalmers
Let me just repeat this: Trey Burke could outproduce him with Ebola.

My Pick: Paul George
It's a keeper league, so Paul George in the 8th next year is incredible value, especially since he has already been seen knocking down jumpers. He might be back by Thanksgiving, who knows? But yeah, he'll hang out on IR this season, and next year, I get first round talent in the 8th.

ROUND 11
121 Dion Waiters, Cle SG      Flint Tropics
122 Doug McDermott, Chi SF   The Outsiders
123 Terrence Ross, Tor SG     The Kid From Thunder Struck
124 Enes Kanter, Uta C          Butt Stuff
125 Andre Iguodala, GS SF    It's Not The Same Macklemore
126 DeMarre Carroll, Atl SF         For the love of the game
127 Draymond Green, GS SF Wennington Baseline
128 Ersan Ilyasova, Mil PF     Team Agan
129 Josh McRoberts*, Mia PF Team Roy
130 Bojan Bogdanovic, Bkn SG Team Ehrecke
131 Jameer Nelson, Dal PG         Team Marcysquirts
132 C.J. Miles, Ind SF            Team schneider

Best Pick: Ersan Ilyasova
We're getting late in the draft, so it's going to be tough to find great picks. Ilyasova might get back to where he was a few years ago. It is at least a possibility.

Worst Pick: Dion Waiters
I do not like Waiters's chances of fitting in on this new-look Cavs team. I very much think he will find the doghouse quickly, and his best case scenario is getting traded to a bad team for a second round pick where they will not mind him throwing up ridiculous shots while teammates who are wide open slump their shoulders in disgust.

My Pick: Doug McDermott
He's kind of been doing a little bit of everything this preseason. I think his minutes will increase as the season goes on, and he will score no matter what. He's not great, but I think he can add top-100 value.

ROUND 12
133 Gorgui Dieng, Min C       Team schneider
134 JaVale McGee, Den C      Team Marcysquirts
135 Amir Johnson, Tor PF      It's Not The Same Macklemore
136 Matt Barnes, LAC SF     Team Roy
137 Marcus Smart, Bos PG      Team Agan
138 Tim Hardaway Jr., NY SG Wennington Baseline
139 Danny Green, SA SG       For the love of the game
140 Carlos Boozer, LAL PF         It's Not The Same Macklemore
141 Miles Plumlee, Pho PF     Butt Stuff
142 K.J. McDaniels, Phi SF    The Kid From Thunder Struck
143 James Ennis, Mia SF        The Kid From Thunder Struck
144 Paul Pierce, Wsh SF         Flint Tropics

Best Pick: Paul Pierce
Pierce still has old man game (old man game that he has had since age 16), so he should at least be a solid late round addition, especially early on with Beal out. That's not bad for the end of Round 12.

Worst Pick: James Ennis
Who is James Ennis? I am nearly positive he is a rookie, because his name sounds familiar. Did he play at Syracuse? Maybe. But I don't know who this is, and I know over 50 NBA players, so I will assume he is not good.

My Pick: No Pick
I cannot identify all of the players in this round, so I'm not too worried about missing out.

ROUND 13
145 Aaron Gordon, Orl PF      Team Marcysquirts
146 Otto Porter Jr., Wsh SF    The Outsiders
147 Nick Young*, LAL SG         The Kid From Thunder Struck
148 Andrea Bargnani, NY PF Butt Stuff
149 Channing Frye, Orl PF         It's Not The Same Macklemore
150 Timofey Mozgov, Den C For the love of the game
151 Anthony Morrow, OKC SG Wennington Baseline
152 Tony Wroten, Phi PG         Team Agan
153 Wilson Chandler, Den SF Team Roy
154 Jodie Meeks*, Det SG         It's Not The Same Macklemore
155 Dante Exum, Uta SG         Team Marcysquirts
156 Evan Turner, Bos SG         Team schneider

Best Pick: Channing Frye
Yeah, he is hurt to start the year, but he can be a nice fantasy addition when he comes back. They paid him a lot of money, so he will get minutes, and that is a nice asset in the final round.

Worst Pick: Jodie Meeks
If you hold onto Jodie Meeks until he gets healthy, you have a very sad fantasy basketball existence.

My Pick: Otto Porter Jr.
Beal is out early, so I am going to hope that Porter has discovered offense after struggling with injuries in his rookie year. He has a 50/50 shot of surviving two weeks on my roster.

When it comes down to it, my team is the heavy favorite, but Team Ehrecke and Flint Tropics both have a lot of talent on their rosters (Weirdly, two of my favorite picks from those teams play in Utah with Trey Burke and Gordon Hayward). If my team stays healthy, I'm untouchable, but I highly doubt that will happen, so the key will be filling out the back end of my roster, as there are definitely some changes on the horizon. Best of luck to everyone in your own fantasy basketball leagues, and if you can acquire 4 of the first 14 picks, do that; it will make things so much easier.

Monday, October 20, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part Eight

And so we have finally made it to the final part of our journey. For a quick review of where we have been:

For a review of where we have been so far:

Part One - The Draft
Part Two - The Start of the Season
Part Three - Becoming a Seller
Part Four - The Rebuild
Part Five - The Trade Deadline
Part Six - The Stretch Run

Part Seven - The Playoffs

At this point, there is nothing to be done but to review the performance. Since I feel like the absolute maximum anyone could write about their fantasy team is seven parts, I have made this eighth part my longest part of the story. First off, here is the team I started with and what happened to each player.

14 Ryan Braun, Mil OF - Traded
23 Evan Longoria, TB 3B - Traded
26 Joey Votto, Cin 1B - Released
38 Justin Upton, Atl OF  
54 Zack Greinke, LAD SP - Traded
78 Masahiro Tanaka, NYY SP - Traded
83 Wilin Rosario, Col C 
91 Matt Cain, SF SP - Released
98 Cole Hamels, Phi SP  
115 Chase Utley, Phi 2B  
126 Jose Abreu, CWS 1B  
134 Jedd Gyorko, SD 2B  
139 Danny Salazar, Cle SP - Released but then added again.
146 B.J. Upton, Atl OF  
150 David Robertson, NYY RP  
163 Leonys Martin, Tex OF  
179 Koji Uehara, Bos RP - Traded
187 Chris Tillman, Bal SP - Released
198 Chris Carter, Hou 1B  
235 Jose Veras, Hou RP - Released
246 Mike Moustakas, KC 3B - Released
259 Ubaldo Jimenez, Bal SP - Released
270 Josh Johnson, SD SP - Released
283 Edwin Jackson, ChC SP - Released
294 Derek Jeter, NYY SS - Released

Now what my team ended up at and how I was able to acquire all of them:

Wilin Rosario, Col C - Draft
Chris Carter, Hou 1B - Draft
Chase Utley, Phi 2B - Draft
Pablo Sandoval, SF 3B - Trade
J.J. Hardy, Bal SS - Trade
Jedd Gyorko, SD 2B - Draft
Jose Abreu, CWS 1B - Draft
B.J. Upton, Atl OF - Draft
Leonys Martin, Tex OF - Draft
Ben Revere, Phi OF - Free Agency
Gregory Polanco, Pit OF - Trade
Jorge Soler, ChC OF - Free Agency
Justin Upton, Atl OF - Draft
Eric Hosmer, KC 1B - Waivers
Sean Doolittle, Oak RP - Free Agency
Danny Salazar, Cle SP Draft/Free Agency
Kevin Quackenbush, SD RP - Free Agency
Cole Hamels, Phi SP - Draft
Alex Cobb, TB SP - Trade
David Robertson, NYY RP - Draft
Hector Rondon, ChC RP - Free Agency
Marcus Stroman, Tor RP - Free Agency
Jake Arrieta, ChC SP - Free Agency
Jake Odorizzi, TB SP - Free Agency
Justin Verlander, Det SP - Trade

Be honest, you're wondering how in the hell I came one Jordan Zimmermann no-hitter from getting a championship? I seriously don't know either. Chase Utley had the most at bats for my team, and that does not compare to the pitching fact of not having a single pitcher get me double digit wins this season. 

First off, I'm going to look at my active stats leaders to see who were my biggest contributors:

At Bats: 

1. Chase Utley - 589
2. Justin Upton - 566
3. Jose Abreu - 556
Yep, Chase Utley played the most for my team. He was totally fine. Luckily, the next two guys were pretty great. Oh, and if you're wondering why I didn't sell Justin Upton early on, it's because I can't split up the brothers. If I end up drafting Justin again next year, I will end up drafting BJ too, even though I know it is a terrible idea.

Runs:
1. Jose Abreu - 80
2. Justin Upton - 77
3. Chase Utley - 74
Yeah, so if you have the most at bats, you will likely be able to lead in things like runs. Jose Abreu is great. That will only become clearer as we go through the other categories.

Home Runs:
1. Jose Abreu - 36
2. Chris Carter - 34
3. Justin Upton - 29
Although I kept Chris Carter the entire year, it doesn't mean that I kept him in the lineup the entire year, so I missed out on a few of his homers. These home run numbers are actually pretty good, but it should be noted that the next most on my team was 12. So yeah, there was a slight dropoff after this point.

RBI:
1. Jose Abreu - 107
2. Justin Upton - 102
3. Chris Carter - 82
No surprises here after looking at the home run lead. Fun fact about my RBI list is that Ben Revere had over 400 at bats for my team and knocked in 19 runners, while Jorge Soler had 89 at bats and was able to knock in 20.

Stolen Bases:
1. Ben Revere - 34
2. Leonys Martin - 30
3. BJ Upton - 20
See? BJ Upton is not completely useless; he is only very useless.

Batting Average:
Josmil Pinto - .400
Jose Abreu - .317
Ben Revere - .313
I had Josmil Pinto for eight games early on in the season, and it was probably his best eight game stretch of the entire year. Thanks, Josmil. We couldn't have made it without you. Another fun fact is that Ryan Braun hit .309 for my team and ended up with a .266 average. Apparently his new team had a toxic clubhouse.

Obviously, my hitting was not great, but let's look at my pitching leaders, because I must have done something right there.

Innings Pitched:
1. Cole Hamels - 191.1
2. Nate Eovaldi - 180.1
3. Marcus Storman - 115.1
We were not able to manage a 200 inning pitcher. The other thing that jumps out is that there is a big dropoff after those top two pitchers as there was a lot of upheaval on the pitching side. By the end, my pitching was strong, but early on, I had a lot of jabronies taking the mound for my team.

Strikeouts:
1. Cole Hamels - 185
2. Nate Eovaldi - 126
3. Jake Arrieta - 118
Despite pitching 73 more innings, Nate Eovaldi was only able to beat Jake Arrieta by eight strikeouts. Marcus Stroman and Danny Salazar were he only other two guys to hit triple digits.

Wins:
1. Cole Hamels - 9
1. Marcus Stroman - 9
3. Jake Arrieta - 8
3. Masahiro Tanaka - 8
Cole Hamels pitched an entire year with a 2.49 ERA and only managed nine wins. The Phillies clearly hate him and should trade him to the Cubs for Chris Coghlan. Also notable is that Tanaka spent two months on my team and nearly led everyone in Wins. Thanks for all of your help, Masahiro.

Saves:
1. David Robertson - 37
2. Hector Rondon - 26
3. Sean Doolittle - 16
No surprise here, as Robertson was the only closer that was on my roster the entire year. Rondon and Doolittle were both valuable additions.

ERA:
1. Kevin Quackenbush - 0.00
2. Koji Uehara - 0.76
3. Jonathan Broxton - 1.13
4. Masahiro Tanaka - 2.06
5. Alex Cobb - 2.15
Kevin Quackenbush was my final addition of the season, and he never gave up a run in three innings, so nice job there, Kevin. Koji  pitched 23.2 of dominant baseball before getting traded, and Broxton proved very valuable before Aroldis Chapman came back and took over the Closer role. I expanded this list to five to include Masahiro Tanaka who was so much fun to own early on this year and Alex Cobb who just dominated throughout the second half of the season.

WHIP:
1. Sean Doolittle - 0.71
2. Jaime Garcia - 0.71
3. Koji Uehara - 0.80
4. Jake Arrieta - 0.87
Jaime Garcia only lasted one start with my team before being traded, but at least he had a great WHIP in that game. Also, I expanded this field to show just how great Jake Arrieta was. He was really great. I'm already sad that I likely will not have him next year.

Looking through my leaders, it is pretty clear that Jose Abreu was my most valuable player, while Cole Hamels was probably my most valuable pitcher. Instead, let's end this with the guys that buried my team throughout the year with the 20 least valuable players that I had on my team throughout this season.

20. Joey Votto - He hit .255 with 6 home runs, and since I already had him at first base, I took Matt Cain instead of Anthony Rizzo.

19. Edwin Jackson - Jackson had a 5.02 ERA, a super high WHIP and only one win. Luckily, I got him on a relative hot streak, since his overall numbers ended up much worse.

18. Nate Eovaldi - Overall, he was only below average, but he managed to stay on my team from his first start right up until the final week of the season. He managed to be just good enough to not be dropped. Also, living in Florida throughout the season, I was able to watch him anytime I wanted, and every time I watched, he was just awful. Maybe it's my fault.

17. BJ Upton - The only guy on this list that managed to stay on my team for the entire season. He only managed 12 home runs while hitting .206. Luckily, he got 20 stolen bases, which isn't great, but it is something positive and enough to keep him low on this list.

16. Drew Hutchison - He came on my team at the right time, as it took a lot for somebody to get dropped, as I just didn't have the moves to get rid of guys. Also, he struck people out, and I am a total strikeout whore. Unfortunately, He had an ERA of nearly 5 and a WHIP of 1.36. Oh yeah, and outside of some flashy performances, he really wasn't all that great at striking dudes out. I finally traded him, and he started doing a whole lot better. He must have just not wanted to be a part of a winning culture.

15. Josh Willingham - He hit .198 in 62 games for my team after being a throw-in in the Ryan Braun deal. He did hit ten home runs, which wasn't too bad. He actually earns positive points for being so bad that I dropped him instead of getting rid of Chris Carter.

14. Chris Tillman - Man, I tried to hold onto Tillman as long as I could. Finally, after 71 innings of 5.20 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP, I finally had to replace him. He proceeded to dominate after that, somehow lowering his ERA to 3.34 and his WHIP to 1.23. I did not know he was that good until looking up these stats. That very much sucks. I will likely not be rooting for Chris Tillman anytime soon.

13. Jorge De La Rosa - He was a throw-in on one of my selling trades, and he performed like one in his only start, going 5.1 innings and giving up five runs. He did have five strikeouts, so that was nice at least.

12. Joe Smith - Another throw-in. He managed .2 innings, gave up a run and three hits. He may have been the worst pitcher on a per inning basis, but considering he had less than an inning, he didn't have enough time to be that negative of a presence.

11. Juan Francisco - This ends the trifecta of throw-ins. He played one game, was 0/4. He provided no positive value, but at least his negative value was limited.

10. Josh Reddick - With Reddick's rampant support of the Ultimate Warrior, I wanted him to stay on my team, but he hit under .200 in 24 games for my team. Also, I saw him in person during that stretch and he played like garbage which was the nail in the coffin for me to drop him. At least he improved after that.

9. Ubaldo Jimenez - I kept him for 21.1 innings, and he provided me with a 6.75 ERA and nearly a WHIP of 2. He shockingly was unable to get a win while pitching like that. Somehow, there were nine guys that I deemed worse than him.

8. Sergio Santos - Santos has been a guy that I have liked for a while, because he throws hard and has the proven closer label which inevitably means he will get more chances. Casey Janssen was hurt to start this year, so Santos stepped into the closer role, and he may have lost his proven closer label because of it. He managed to give up 11 earned runs in 8.1 innings. Somehow, he still managed five saves, but amazingly he never really got better this season, so at least he lost his closer role early enough to not completely destroy my pitching staff.

7. Jedd Gyorko - This one hurts, as I love Jedd Gyorko, which only gave him more of a chance to hurt me. Gyorko was awful at the beginning of the season, and I never even considered dropping him. Despite a lengthy DL stint, he still finished eighth in games played for my team. Obviously, looking back, I wish I wouldn't have drafted him and just picked him up when someone inevitably released him, but that didn't happen, and it turns out he was not the solution.

6. Mike Moustakas - 109 at bats, just 16 hits. He did hit four home runs, so that was something.

5. Mike Olt - I feel like Mike Olt had some good stretches early on this season. None of those moments happened for my team as he went 3/28 for a .107 average and zero home runs. I have actually liked Mike Olt for a while. That is why he was initially lower on this list, and this may still be generous. He was really terrible for my team.

4. Jose Veras - He was given the Closer's job for the Cubs, yet could not manage a save before being demoted and eventually released. He did manage 12.27 ERA. At least I waited and picked up Hector Rondon to be my replacement Closer. Otherwise, he would make a strong case for the #1 spot.

3. Tanner Scheppers - I picked him up at the beginning of the season, because if the Rangers believed in him enough to make him their opening day starter, then surely he would succeed. Four innings and seven earned runs later, he was quickly dropped. Good for him on getting his ERA down to an even 9.00 by the end of the year.

2. Luis Valbuena - Valbuena was brought in when both Chris Owings and Jedd Gyorko were on the DL, and I needed some second base help. Somehow, he performed even worse than Gyorko by batting just .159 in 21 games. I'm really glad I was not a believer in Josh Harrison and went with Valbuena instead.

1. Justin Masterson - Expecting Justin Masterson to immediately turn his fortunes around when joining the Cardinals seemed like a likely outcome to me. Turns out, the Cardinals could not fix his issues. He was the hottest of garbage with an ERA of nearly 8 in 28 innings for my team. The positive was that he was hurting the Cardinals; the negative was that I traded for him and chose Masterson over getting Trevor Bauer in the deal. And, just want to put this on the record: If the Cubs sign him this offseason, there is a 100% chance I end up drafting him two rounds before anybody would even consider him. Why do we love the ones that hurt us?

And that wraps it up. The longest fantasy baseball story ever told is over. I would congratulate the ones who made it to the end, but I highly doubt anyone did. Still, if you did, thanks a lot. Thanks a whole bunch, because fantasy sports stories are boring, and my writing isn't good enough to completely save it, so this was a long, hard journey that you completed. You are a great friend and mentor. All I'm really trying to say in this final paragraph is, "Thanks for reading, Mom."

Thursday, October 16, 2014

The Longest Fantasy Baseball Story Ever Told - Part Seven

For a review of where we have been so far:

Part One - The Draft
Part Two - The Start of the Season
Part Three - Becoming a Seller
Part Four - The Rebuild
Part Five - The Trade Deadline
Part Six - The Stretch Run

And that leads us to the playoffs. By hook or by crook, with a whole lot of luck thrown in, my team not only made the playoffs but secured a first round bye. In an ironic twist, my opponent would come out of the two teams that I sold off my best assets to. It was the Greinke/Longoria/Uehara trifecta that bested the Braun/Tanaka combo.

In the biggest game of the season, my offense let the moment overwhelm them. Only Ben Revere, Jorge Soler, Eric Hosmer, and Leonys Martin had what could be described as average or better weeks. Meanwhile, our opponents were crushing the ball. We lost by 6 runs, 10 home runs, 20 RBI, 27 points of batting average, and a single stolen base. Only the last one really hurt, as it was necessary to get the victory. My ragtag group of players gave it their all, but it would not be enough to get a victory...

But my pitching would not be denied. Led by a 13 strikeout, one hitter from Jake Arrieta and two saves and a win for both David Robertson and Hector Rondon, my pitching managed to dominate in four categories. But, due to two pickups immediately picking up saves for my opponent, we were tied in Saves going into Sunday. I had one move left, and I had to decide whether it would be worth using it. Ultimately, I decided that I have to make the championship to win the championship, and I pulled the trigger to pick up interim San Diego Padres Closer, Kevin Quackenbush. He did not get a Save, but luckily, David Robertson did which locked up every pitching category for my team. The week would end in a 5-5 tie. Despite us having the same record, my seed was higher and hence I would be moving on to lead my team into the championship.

The odds were stacked against me in the championship. I was not only playing the number one seed, but he also had seven moves left to secure players as he pleased in the final week. This was another part of my reasoning to pick up Quackenbush as I could use Saves in the final week but stats like Wins and Ks would be tough to get since he could add pitchers as he pleased.

Still, my pitching was strong, and I figured my offense would bounce back after a lousy week. One of these things would prove true. Offensively, both teams were bad. Still, by the end of the week, he pulled away in RBI and average, but I pulled away in stolen bases. Saturday, he solidified his lead in runs. Meanwhile, despite all of his possible moves (he would end up using all seven), my pitching was proving strong. I took care of business in saves thanks to Quackenbush and Robertson getting a save, Rondon getting three, and Stroman adding a 4 inning save in there for good measure. I also had big leads in ERA and WHIP but barring a miracle, he was going to be too much for me in strikeouts.

Going into Sunday, a chance of getting the outright victory was slim. Unless my team got some major power on the final day, I would not be able to close his home run lead, so he was going to win five categories. Still, I could force the tie and split the big winnings for the championship as there are no tiebreakers in the championship round. I had three starters going, he had two, but I had a one win lead. With Cole Hamels, Alex Cobb, and Danny Salazar, I felt great about my chances.

Unfortunately, before the early games started, Salazar was a late scratch so they did not give him too many innings. It was 2 on 2 at this point, but I had what were likely my two best pitchers. Alex Cobb finally ran out of steam, as he had a pour outing against Salazar's replacement and the rest of the Cleveland Indians. Meanwhile, Hamels gave up only two runs in eight innings, but the Phillies only scored one.

One of his pitchers was Jordan Zimmermann, whose team also only gave him one run of support. Unfortunately, that was plenty, as he only allowed one baserunner in a no-hitter on the final day of the season. With all of his extra moves, he was able to get the tie in wins and beat me 5-4-1.

There would be no Natural Light celebrations. There would be no team of destiny stories. We were hard luck losers, but I was still damn proud. Usually, the almost champs never have their story told, but with the heart, determination, and chemistry of 25 guys coming together to make a team deserved to have their story shared with the world.

There are so many things that I could expound on, but let's take a break until we get to part eight of the longest fantasy baseball story ever told.