In 1996, at the urging of Scott O. (aka Swede) and the acceptance of his fantasy baseball league brethren (Rick, John C., John A., Mike and Ron), I entered the world of fantasy baseball (Jason would join 2 years later). The Bashers debut season saw them capture last place, a position the Bashers dominated over their first 14 years of existence. I think I finished last about 8 times.
The first couple years, I wrote off as inexperience. Players like Archi Cianfrocco, Joe McEwing and John Mabry should never have appeared on a fantasy roster.
I started picking better players, but Geoff Blum, Matt Stairs and Brad Ausmus did little to help the Bashers. Sure they were great to have on a real team, but their fantasy value was minimal.
I had my occasional "successful" seasons, including a 3rd place and a 5th place, but I was basically mired in the nether regions of the standings. I liked the camaraderie with the other Booners, but this losing was wearing thin (why can't the Cubs think this way?)
Last year, in sheer desperation, I brought in a hired gun, my nephew Matt to help me. Matt's addition helped the Bashers to a 3rd place finish.
That all changed this season. The proof is below. The Bashers captured 1st place. I am still dizzy from celebrating.
The race went right down to the wire. I needed Ted Lilly and Mat Latos to keep their ERA's under 3.500 for their games on Sunday. They pitched 13 combined innings, giving up 3 runs and keeping my overall team ERA low enough to secure my overall 1st place position.
I realize I did not win this on my own, but a good manager surrounds himself with great coaches. Tony LaRussa has Dave Duncan. Bobby Cox had Leo Mazzone. Mike Ditka had Buddy Ryan. Nothing is going to wipe away my euphoria.
Now I get to enjoy a winter of contentment. At the next draft, I will have the honor of tossing out the first player up for bid (and it won't be Jeff Conine). How sweet it is!