The Game Has Changed


What kind of psychopathic fantasy baseball league tells its members their draft positions six weeks before the actual draft? Who would want its members to have that much time to evaluate, contemplate, and salivate over their potential players? Who in their right mind would give ten of the most committed, fanatical, dedicated, and loyal fantasy team owners that much time to prepare?

We must be talking about thefoulline.com’s Seventh Annual Fantasy Baseball League!

It’s been an exciting offseason since the Yankeehaters removed the monkey from his back and won the championship. An offseason of the Red Sox cementing their place as America’s Team, multiple parades and festivals in my honor, and even a nicely written post by Dan “The #1 Rays Fan” were all fantastic and fully deserved! But, now it’s time to turn my focus to the 2014 season and try to go back to back.

Since Christmas, I have thrown myself into preparing for this season. I’ve read every article, player evaluation, sleeper, bust, hot rookie, and Top 400 list that ESPN, CBS, and the hundreds of fantasy experts on Twitter had to offer. My Sirius/XM radio has been to tuned to channel 87 for months, much to the chagrin of any passenger in my car. I had formulated my unflappable game plan consisting of just the right mix of fantasy studs, sleepers, and breakouts. I had my list of players that I was going to take. I was as ready as I could be. Once again, the Yankeehaters were playing chess, while everyone else was playing checkers! What could possibly go wrong?

Apparently, the other nine owners decided to do the same.

One quick sidebar I need to get off my chest. The CBS rankings consistently suck. That is a fact. But the level of suckiness of their rankings this year hit an all-time high of suck. It was damn near impossible to do a mock draft. Anywho, without further adieu, here’s thefoulline.com draft day diary.

You are… on the clock!

On the night of our draft, I always get to the draft room early. I have the draft opened up on my laptop, iPad and phone, just to prevent any technical difficulties from occurring, leaving me autodrafting Grady Sizemore. Oops, no offense Allan. As I’m waiting in the room, who should appear? It’s SportsmanMike! And he’s awake!! After sleeping through his 2013 draft, it was nice to see him here so early!

The October Boys have been in the league for three seasons, and have had the top pick twice. How this happens, I have no idea. The fantasy gods must like them. This year, outfield and third base were the shallowest of the positions. How convenient that the two best players on the planet are Mike Trout and Miguel Cabrera. Both great players, but Trout was the the no-brainer of all no-brainers and goes #1.

Speaking of no-brainers, Miggy goes to WillisBeTheYear at #2.

Everyone in the league knows of The Hammer’s affection for early round pitchers. This year he lucks out and gets some guy named Clayton Kershaw.

While sucking down Dan’s free WiFi, Allan breaks character and actually picks a hitter! And a great one too… Goldschmidt is a stud!

Prior to the draft, Chefdick was the one guy I hadn’t heard where he was leaning for his first pick. Chef is a really good player, and a bit of an enigma. I know he likes the Rays, so I was thinking Longoria, but McCutchen and Cano would be great picks as well. He’s the one guy I can’t really get a read on. Well, since he couldn’t log in, he made his picks throughout the draft quite predictable. Autodraft it is, and Wainwright goes a bit too early. Thanks CBS and your skewed rankings!

Pick 6 goes to the LBCs. She shocks the world and takes Joey Votto!! zzzzz… I still think it’s weird for a grown man to be called Joey, but I’m all for getting a stud first baseman.

After finding out my draft position six weeks ago, I literally contemplated for 35 seconds before deciding on Prince Fielder. I like big butts, and I cannot lie. I also like that he’s playing in a hitter’s park, with Adrian Beltre slugging behind him.

I know RedRays really well. He’s an original league member and one of my best friends in the world. If there’s one thing I know about Fergie, it’s that he ALWAYS grabs a hitter and a pitcher with his first two picks. Ferg snags another quality first baseman in Chris Davis. He will be taking a pitcher in round 2. Guaranteed.

After losing in the playoffs last year, RTCs tries to performance enhance his team with know juicer Ryan Braun. Could be a great pick.

The word on the street was that Mike was going to take a hitter and Yu Darvish with the 10 & 11 picks. A bright-eyed and bushy-tailed Mike absolutely steals Andrew McCutchen at 10, and confirms the rumors by taking Yu at 11. Nice start to the draft for Mike!

 

Round Two

There are literally a million quality players that are available in Round 2. Ok, not literally, but there’s a lot. Going back to the beginning of this diary, I mentioned that elite outfielders were shallow. Once I settled on the fat man in Round 1, I knew I had to grab an OF in round two. This was tough, because it would mean that I would be passing up on guys like Longoria, Tulo, and Hanley, as well as a butt load of great pitching. What also made it difficult was that my love for Bryce Harper is probably the worst kept secret in the league. This led to a barrage of threatening texts from RedRays that he was going to take Harper right before me in round 2. But, everyone knows that RedRays always grabs pitching with one of his first two picks. I wasn’t that worried. (I can lie to myself now.) I know Dan had me pegged for Harper as well, but he was pretty upfront with me and guaranteed me that he was going Beltre or Longoria. Dan stayed true to his word and grabbed the always consistent Adrian Beltre.

This is where I started to sense that everyone in the league may have upped their games this year. Either that, or RedRays is confused and thinks Robinson Cano is now a pitcher. Either way, Ferg adds the best second baseman in the league, and I’m officially vexed. Fun fact: Fergie knows that Cano isn’t a pitcher.

I’m reunited with Bryce Harper with pick 14, and it feels so good!

LBCs makes a solid pick with Adam Jones, the elite 30 HR, 100 RBI guy, not the dirtbag from the NFL.

Chef autodrafts Justin Verlander. I don’t hate the pick, but I think an actual human being grabs a hitter here.

I begin to Believe the Hype a bit here, when he takes Evan Longoria. He’s got his corners covered by a combined 70 hr, 220 RBI pair. Not too shabby. One of these seasons, Longo is going to have that MVP year. I have a gut feeling it’s this year. Side note: I just barfed on my laptop.

Two things I know about Panda the Hammer. He loves pitchers, and he loves Red Sox players. I’m not surprised that he grabs Dustin Pedroia here. Pedroia played 159 games last year with a busted thumb. This season he’s healthy, and should have a return to some of his power numbers.

If there’s one guy in the league that scares me every year, it’s Willis. Sure, he’s set the league record with losses and crummy winning percentage the last couple of seasons, but he’s a crafty dude. He’s had a string of bad luck with injuries and sketchy trades. I think he’s locked and loaded this season. He adds Edwin Encarnacion to a team with Miggy already on the roster. Consider yourselves warned.

The two-headed Valentino monster is another team that concerns me. Dennis and Dave individually are baseball savants. Put them together, and they’re Good Will Hunting. I knew they wanted a pitcher in Round 2, and they had plenty of options. Scherzer, Lee, Price, and Jeremy Hellickson were all ripe for the taking. They go with King Felix, with a side of Troy Tulowitzki for picks 20 & 21. They now have the best player on the planet, the best shortstop in the league (until he misses six weeks with hair pain), and a top-five pitcher. The October Boys are looking tough.

 

3rd Round

In all of my prep work, I made the decision that I was taking a pitcher in Round 3. This is the earliest that I have ever taken pitching. This is partly due to wanting to grab an ace to anchor my staff, as well as the league trend to not load up on pitching early any more. (Autodrafting Chefdick excluded.) The good news for me is that there were several great starting pitchers left. The bad news is they were going quick.

After TOBs go Tulo with the first pick of Round 3, Willis told me that he went off script and panicked a little with his choice of Carlos Gonzalez. There were several top-line pitchers for his choosing, but he decided to add to his already potent offense.

And like clockwork, the next three picks are:

Panda: Scherzer

Believe the Hype: Lee

Cyborg Chefdick: Price

LBCs at this pick really liked Jose Fernandez, and planned on taking him here. But… with an elite bat like Hanley Ramirez sitting there, she couldn’t pass it up.  She rolls the dice in hopes of grabbing a big arm in Round 4.

The Champion (I like to refer to myself in the third person) planned all along to draft Madison Bumgarner here. I was planning this for two reasons: 1. He’s a legit ace going at a reasonable price. 2. I know Dan likes him, and I was hoping to screw him over. When this pick came to me however, Strasburg was also available. I started to get that twinge in my gut that maybe I should go off plan and take him instead of the MadBum, but then I remembered that I’m the champion of the world for a reason, and I should always trust my gut. Fingers crossed.

RedRays has to take a pitcher here. RedRays has to take a pitcher here. RedRays has to take a pitcher here. RedRays takes Jose Bautista here. What the what!!?? The fantasy world is officially upside down. Fergie’s drafting only hitters. Cats and dogs are living together! It’s crazy town!

Rays Those Cowbells take the nicest guy in baseball, Freddie Freeman. Solid pick all day long. He may come in second in the NL MVP, after Bryce Harper.

There was another rumor going around where sportsmanMike wanted Jacoby Ellsbury with the 10th pick of the first round. Mike, obviously knowing more than the rest of us, waits until pick 30 to grab him. I think I liked Mike a lot better when he slept through the draft.

 

Round 4…

With only a couple of aces left, Mike takes the skinniest guy in the league, Chris Sale.

I made a note to myself that second base was deep this year, and not to draft one early, but I do like me some Jason Kipnis. Legit power & speed guy. This pick made me reminisce about the good old days, when Dan would harp to all of us about the need for a staff full of aces. Psst… hey Dan… you still don’t have a pitcher.

RedRays and his lucky Irish ass back into Stephen Strasburg. Fergie has drafted a pitcher!!

Did I mention yet that I thought outfield was shallow this year? Anywho, I really wanted Jay Bruce this year. I know he can drive H2H owners a bit crazy with his inconsistencies, but he’s 27 years old this year, batting cleanup. He’ll have Billy Hamilton in scoring position 150 times a year, and I like any player that has two first names. That’s enough for me to take him earlier than his ADP called for.

LBCs takes the last of the ace-type pitchers and 2014 Cy Young winner Jose Fernandez.

I started to chuckle when Mike Minor and his balky shoulder were autodrafted by Cyborg Chef. Who doesn’t check to see if they can log in to the draft room?!?

Allan believes in Jose Reyes. He’s a braver man than I.

Panda the Hammer is having a sneaky good draft. He takes possibly the most versatile player in the NL in Matt Carpenter. I don’t think Carpenter scores 126 runs again this season, but it’s hard to not like this pick.

WillisBeTheYear adds to his beer league softball lineup with another big bat. Yasiel Puig… you either love him or you hate him. I love him… on someone else’s team.

Here’s a fun fact: David Wright is really good. Here’s another fun fact: I’m starting to dislike The October Boys.

 

Rounds 5-10: It’s all going according to plan…

The October Boys: Tanaka, Santana, Wacha, Pujols, Matt Moore. I really like the Tanaka, Santana, and Wacha picks. This gives TOB a King Felix, Tanaka, Wacha for a 1, 2, 3. Solid. They might make us look stupid by grabbing a potentially rejuvenated Albert Pujols. I hate the Matt Moore pick. I think they had some better options, but they seem to know what they’re doing so maybe I’ll just shut the hell up. On second thought, nah. Moore sucks.

WillisBeTheYear: Stanton, Gio Gonzalez, David Ortiz, Cole Hamels, Ervin Santana. How the hell did Stanton last this long? This might be the year he puts it all together. Of course, with his surrounding lineup, I might intentionally walk him 200 times this season. Gio is not a bad choice for his first pitcher. He accidentally autodrafted Big Papi, but that guy is always on his team, so no big deal. I have faith in Hamels and Ervin Santana to be solid this year. Willis’s pitching is a little suspect, but his offense is ridiculous.

Panda the Hammer: Mauer, Zobrist, J.Upton, Lester, Hunter Pence. Panda just drafted the four whitest guys in the league, and Mr. April, Justin Upton. He got good value on all these guys, but I haven’t seen a group this white since the 1986 Boston Celtics.

Breaking News! We interrupt this diary to bring you the following trade. Believe the Hype and the Yankeehaters have agreed to trade Cliff Lee for Clay Buchholz & Allen Craig. Now back to our regularly scheduled draft day diary.

Believe the Hype: Posey, Grienke, Weaver, Myers, Dom Brown, CC Sabathia. It’s hard to argue when you land the best catcher in the draft. Posey will get a ton of ABs catching and playing first base. Dominic Brown needs to show that he can sustain his power numbers for an entire season. Wil Myers is a stud in the making, and I think Allan stole him in the 8th round, especially with all the Rays lovers in this league. I’m not crazy about the three pitchers, but they could all be useful. Chocolate Cake Sabathia looks determined to show that 2013 is a fluke, and he lost Julio Lugo’s bodyweight in the offseason, so that’s good.

Cyborg Chefdick: Latos, Kimbrel, Holland, Rios, Andrus. I’m trying my hardest to say something negative about these picks, because I’m still pissed that he autodrafted, but I can’t. Latos is a workhorse. Kimbrel and Holland are the two best closers. And he got great value with Rios and Andrus. Yay, autodraft.

Love Boat Captains: Choo, Bailey, Donaldson, Kinsler, Sanchez. I don’t even know what to say about the LBCs anymore. She hates the draft. She suffers through it. She does 1/100th of the prep I do. Then she has a run of picks like this. I’m not sure I like her anymore.

Yankeehaters (2013 champ): Desmond, Cobb, Prado, Craig, Gray, Carlos Gomez. I was targeting Ian Desmond as my shortstop. I think he’s the safest of the elite shortstops. He’s a 20/20 guy that doesn’t miss a day. I loved this pick. In every mock draft that I did, I was able to get James Shields as my #2 pitcher. This of course changed when that soulless jerk of a human being named Dan swiped him right in front of my nose. I settled on Alex Cobb, who I really like, but I really wanted Shields. Go to hell McKewen! Prado is a guy that put up great numbers last year, and I like his 4-position eligibility. And I know RedRays likes him, so I was trying to piss him off. I like Gray, and I’m counting on him being this year’s Matt Harvey. Craig was dealt to Allan a few hours ago so I’m sure he’ll win the MVP now. I think Carlos Gomez is the biggest dick on the planet, but I like the numbers he puts up, and I needed an outfielder.

RedRays: Holliday, Heyward, Cole, Alex Wood, Moustakas. Holliday is routinely under-appreciated, until he’s putting up 35 points against you when you’re playing against him. Heyward looked great last season batting out of the leadoff spot, until his jaw got busted. I think he has a good season. Of all the young pitchers, Wacha, Salazar, Ventura, Gray, Cingrani, etc., I think Cole has the nastiest stuff. I loved this pick for the RedRays. He got Wood a little early, but that’s always been a problem with Fergie. Hardy har har! RedRays was enamored with the numbers Moustakas has been putting up in the spring and is counting on them translating over to the regular season. I’m not sold.

Rays Those Cowbells: Teheren, Shields, Hosmer, Trumbo, Segura, Liriano. It pains me to compliment Dan for this stretch of his draft, but he friggin nailed it. Every one of these guys is a stud that he got at a good price. Of course, he sold his soul to the devil to get Shields, and I hope he burns in hell.  Teheren is the real deal. Hosmer had a great second half of 2013 and has looked good in spring. Trumbo is going to destroy Chase Field with his 40-home run potential. I’m not sure how Segura lasted until Round 9. And Liriano carried me to a title last year. Go eff yourself Dan! (Nice job.)

sportsmanMike: Cain, Zimmermann, Adrian Gonzalez, Zimmerman, Chapman, Hardy. Well, apparently Mike is still awake. I think due to CBS issues, he auto drafted Cain and Zimmermann. It could have been a lot worse. Cain will bounce back this year, and Zimmermann is a workhorse. I loved the Chapman pick, until he tried to catch a baseball off his face. That’s a huge loss. I feel terrible for Mike. He’s been drafting well. I’m not a Gonzalez or Hardy fan, but those spots were getting thin, and those two will put up decent numbers.

 

Stay with me gang, we’re in the home stretch!

Picks I Love, Rounds 11-22

Round 11: Yordano Ventura by TOB. I think he was on everyone’s radar. These guys had the balls to grab him early. Chris Archer by RedRays. This kid is a fearless stud in the making. Brian McCann & Jonathan Lucroy by RTC and Mike. These are the two guys I was targeting.

Round 12: Justin Masterson by RTC.  He was my next pick. Dan, you can suck it. Alex Gordon by RedRays. Gordon is solid, and in the 12th round it’s a bargain.

Round 13: Billy Hamilton TOB: I totally forgot about this guy. He may steal 200 bases. I feel shame. Danny Salazar by the RedRays. I’m sensing a theme here. Salazar throws easy 98-mph cheese. I have a man crush on him.

Round 14: This round is pretty blah. I took Buchholz, which pissed off Allan, which is always a highlight. Trading him today in a package for Cliff Lee is even better. I think Buchholz has a good season.

Round 15:  Joe Nathan by Willis is great! Doug Fister by the LBCs. Fister scared a lot of people away with his elbow issue. If he bounces back, he’s the steal of the draft. Jedd Gyorko by Yankeehaters. This guy was my sleeper pick for the draft. Forget about my Danny Salazar man crush, I’m all in on Gyorko!

Round 16: This is another ugly round. I can’t get excited about anyone. Sorry!

Round 17: Nelson Cruz by Willis. This ‘roider will smash in Baltimore. Corey Kluber by Panda is a sneaky solid pick. The Rays have a knack for turning out great closers, Balfour to RTCs should be no exception.  I meant to grab him here and accidentally picked Steve Cishek. Screw you, Dan!

Round 18: Brandon Phillips by Willis. Reports of Phillips’s demise have been greatly exaggerated. This proves my point about the depth at 2B.

Round 19: Salvador Perez by Willis. Perez will be a top-5 catcher this year. I really wish I waited on catcher!

Round 20: I would like the Brian Dozier pick by ChefDick, but he didn’t really make that choice, so screw it.

Round 21: Brandon Belt by Mike. This guy needs 550 at bats this year. If he gets them, he’ll rake. And no Dan, I’m not liking your Josh Johnson pick here! So suck it!

Are we done yet?

I usually do the same as above, but with the picks I really didn’t like. Let’s keep this positive, everyone worked really hard preparing and did a great job on the draft. Except for Chefdick of course.

In closing, I want to thank everyone for supporting the site and playing in OUR league again. I really do look forward to it every year. Let’s all try to remember that this is just a game. and that the important thing is to enjoy each other’s company, appreciate the baseball being played, have some friendly discussions, and keep the focus on the friendly competition. There’s a reason that this is the best fantasy baseball league around. We have ten owners that know their baseball and are savvy with their teams. Let’s make this the best year yet!

And now for the part you’ve been waiting for!

Playoff Predictions

This was the most difficult prediction yet. Everyone drafted their faces off! But there can only be four.

Love Boat Captains

Rays Those Cowbells

Yankeehaters

WillisBeTheYear

 

 

It’s About Time


We couldn’t let Dave write his own champion’s post, so thanks to Dan the #1 Rays Fan for stepping up with this guest post.

Destiny Fulfilled

There is no better, more competitive, more challenging and harder fantasy league to win than thefoulline.com.

I believe this with all of my heart, and you’ll never convince me otherwise. We have ten of the most committed and competitive owners in all of fantasy baseball. Every year, the gap between last place and first place seems to shrink more and more. Every owner in the league seems to get smarter and smarter with each passing season, and just making the playoffs has become the ultimate grind.

As you look around the league, you can see as owners mature over the years and improve their game. I was a brash, determined young rookie in 2009 who had all the talent in the world, and was looking to come into this league and do damage. What I quickly found out, was that this game has a very cruel learning curve. I lost my last two games, and missed the playoffs, because I wasn’t ready. I needed to feel out this game, and realize the tricks of the trade. I realized this learning curve affected everyone, and felt much better about my rookie season afterward. I’ve come to realize over the years that I was dead wrong.

There was no learning curve, no growing pains for our 2013 Fantasy Baseball Champion, Dave Ingalls.

I’ve never told him this until now, but I’ve always marveled at Dave’s ability to walk in right away and dominate this game. His first season playing fantasy baseball in 2008, he finished with the best record in the league, and as he likes to call it, it seemed like “he was playing chess while everyone else was playing checkers.” He made the right moves, mastered the waiver wire, and seemed well on his way to fantasy glory. I can say this now, but I never really understood how he could do that. He seemed to know what he was doing, right from day one, while the rest of us slowly came along and figured this game out. It all came so easily to him!  However, he finished just short in the playoffs, losing to Dave McLaughlin and his Boston Braves in the finals. It wouldn’t be the last time the Yankeehaters would suffer a crushing playoff defeat over the years.

Since I entered the league in year two in 2009, Dave and I have gone head to head many times over the years, and for me, they’re always the biggest games of the season. Yet for so frustratingly long, he was usually on top at the end of the day. It went this way for the majority of the league, as Dave almost entered the playoffs as the favorite to bring home the title. It always seemed like he had the best team. Yet he had to sit back and watch his wife go on her legendary three-peat, beating Dave twice in the finals. Ginger’s great teams would step up and play their best ball in the playoffs, while time after time Dave watched great seasons crumble.

I can’t imagine how this must have felt. Doing everything right, building elite teams, and falling short over and over again. It became a running joke around the league, and Dave himself even got in on it after awhile. But I’ve always known it bothered him. He wanted to win the ultimate prize more than anything.

Over the years, we’ve begun to look to Dave as our leader. He writes the posts, he’s the most active and runs thefoulline.com website. Ginger is a big part of that, but she’s never really been vocal enough to establish a presence other than the legendary champion. Dave is always there, and we’ve all begun to look at it as being “his league.”

That’s why we’ve all felt that if somebody should win their first championship, it should be him. It felt like some sort of cloud over the league, that its most committed and focal player had yet to win it. We all want to win of course, but it just seemed so strange that Dave couldn’t close the deal.

That all changed in 2013. As usual, Dave built up his great team, and finished the season as the #1 seed. But this time, there was a happy ending for him. He beat me, the defending champion, in the first round, and was able to get the by the RedRays in the championship game.  After 5 agonizing seasons, 3 championship game losses, 5 playoff losses, and a whole lot of jokes at his expense, Dave finally had his championship.

I can honestly say that I’m happy for you. You deserve this. You’ve had the best team consistently over the years, and it’s about time you got to join the champions club with Ginger and me. As the champion the previous year, I officially pass the title of defending champion over to you. Wear it proudly.

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of the best fantasy baseball league in the world. I’m glad you chose me to write your champion’s post.

Dave Ingalls, the 2013 thefoulline.com Fantasy Baseball Champion


Everybody Talks


Apparently I went to a baseball game yesterday. I say apparently, because I found my ticket stub on the kitchen counter this morning, and a cooler with a couple of beers in it in my car. But oddly enough, I don’t recall watching a minute of baseball.

This could only mean one of two things. I’ve either had a stroke, or the gang from thefoulline.com got together for the second year in a row to “watch” a game.

It was another spring training game, where we found our spot by the left field berm and commenced with three hours of baseball talk. The usual subjects were covered: the upcoming draft, our spots, who are the October Boys taking #1,  why are the Yankees and Rays so unlikable, and is it possible for Allan to drink all the beer at Charlotte Sports Park?

It was a great time, with knowledgeable baseball fanatics. Thanks to Dan “The #1 Rays Fan” for setting it up, and to Willis, Mike, Allan, & Dennis for coming out. It’s nice that we can still be friends, before the competition starts in a few weeks.

I still have no idea who won the game.

The First Days of Spring


Another Spring Training is upon us! The sun is shining. The grass is freshly cut. The birds are singing. Baseball is back!

And I still despise the Tampa Bay Rays.

I feel the need to clarify this, because today I spent yet another morning at the Rays Spring Training facility in the beautiful, historic town of Port Charlotte. My motivation to go see the Rays practice is always the same. I get to spend a few hours in the beautiful weather watching baseball, and if I can trip a few Rays players while I’m there, even better!

Here are my short and sweet observations from Rays camp today:

  • I watched every catcher in the Rays system practice throwing to the bases. Newcomer Ryan Hanigan has the worst arm out of all of them.
  • Grant Balfour was already in mid-season form with his potty mouth. He dropped more F-bombs during practice than the first hour of Pulp Fiction. But he curses in Australian, so it wasn’t that bad.
  • Chris Archer looked great today, and it wasn’t hard to notice that everyone in the Rays organization likes this kid. Brains and talent!
  • It was easy to see that David Price and Evan Longoria have taken a leadership-by-example approach this season. Both guys were the first ones in the drill lines, and would run to the next field during their 15-minute rotations.
  • Jose Molina is still really fat.
  • Not to beat a dead horse, but how does Dave Martinez not have a manager job yet? Even worse, you don’t even hear him being in the discussion anymore.
  • The Rays will win the AL East and play in the World Series this year.

I’m going to go watch practice again later this week. I’ll be sure to bring a few Rays voodoo dolls with me.

Off He Goes


There are 750 active players on Major League Baseball rosters. 30 teams, consisting of 25 players. With such a large number of players, there are bound to be a few bad apples in the mix. Alex Rodriguez, A.J. Pierzynski, & Carlos Gomez come to mind as being world class jerks. Unfortunately, it’s these guys that tend to get the attention of the media. Steroids, pimping homeruns, initiating bench clearing brawls, are just a few of the “contributions” that these guys make to the league. I cringe whenever these guys are on the news getting the headlines that have little to do with the game of baseball.

The reason for dusting of thefoulline.com keyboard on a random Sunday in February, is that one of the true good guys in sports has made the decision to step away from the game today. Ryan Dempster chose today to not play baseball in 2014, and forfeit his 13 million dollar salary, citing physical & personal issues. Dempster could have easily just gone on the disabled list, and try and figure out how to spend the millions of dollars coming to him in unearned salary.

Ryan Dempster epitomized mediocrity during his 16 year career. This is evident by his 132-133 win/loss record. But, he was always an affable, hard nosed, competitor that was genuine role model to the kids that watch the game.

All signs are pointing to him retiring from baseball. If so, I’m glad that I was able to see him play a season for the Red Sox. I appreciate the respect he showed for the game, when he drilled A-Rod last year. But, I’m most happy that he was finally able to win a World Series, in what might be his final season.

It’s about time the good guy finished first.

Just something about it


Dan the #1 Rays fan wanted to try his hand at writing a post for thefoulline. Take a read and let him know what you think.
Thanks,
Dave

There is nothing in all of sports like baseball’s opening day.

Week one of the NFL season is great. So is the NCAA Tournament. Everyone loves the Olympics, and the World Cup is the most popular sporting event in the entire world. But none of them even come close to comparing to the start of another baseball season.

What is it about opening day? Is it the renewed sense of hope felt by every single team? Where teams like the Chicago Cubs and Houston Astros can be tied for the best record in baseball after one game? Or is it the sense of family bonding, where you play hookey and pull your kids out of school to head over to the ballpark? Or is it the atmosphere, with the cold beer, sizzling hot dogs, fresh cut grass and warm sunshine? ( Well maybe not at Tropicana Field). What is it about opening day that makes it so great?

One thing that has always made me wonder is why does a loss on opening day hurt so much? It counts in the standings the exact same as a loss on June 13th. But it just FEELS so much different doesn’t it? Almost as if an entire offseason of expectations and hope have been dashed by one ill timed poor effort during the first game of the season. I love it. It adds to the magic of opening day. I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It’s become a National Holiday for all Americans, a day they look forward to the second after the last pitch of the previous season is thrown, and our World Champions are crowned. Only one team can reach the mountain top. For the other 29 losers, it’s always “wait until next year”.

Well next year has arrived. Opening day has come and gone, and now we have 160 games over the next 5 months to enjoy the roller coaster ride of another baseball season. It’s sure to be a long grind.

But theres just something about opening day.

Dan The #1 Rays Fan’s quick hits:

- Heading to opening day at the Trop was an amazing experience as usual. Tailgating and having a few beers with thefoulline crew made it even better.

- Dennis and Willis are great guys who really know there baseball.

- And Willis makes an amazing ham and cheese sandwich.

- The Atlanta Braves are the best team in baseball.

- The Colorado Rockies are the worst.

- It wouldn’t be right to write a post for thefoulline and not mention there beloved Boston Red Sox. They look awesome. If Dempster pitches well and Ellsbury is healthy there dangerous.

- Im starting to hate the Baltimore Orioles. They are legit.

- How smart does Dave look right now? Every move he made is working out. Justin Upton and Bryce Harper are tearing it up, Freddie Freeman looks like the MVP, and Yu Darvish and Jeff Samardzija are the front runners for the CY Young. Ridiculous.

- Shoutout to sportsmanMike. His team is having a great opening week, and the moves he made look to have improved his team. Fantasy sports are more fun when your team is good and your making deals and talking smack.

- Dont forget to like Yaysports Real Talk Radio on facebook!

- Thank you to thefoulline.com upper management for allowing me to write this guest post. I have been an avid reader of the site for a long time, and it’s an honor to write a post for you guys. I hope to write for you guys more in the future if you’ll have me back.

It’s that time of year again… Baseball is back! Enjoy the ride.

Question Authority


Tomorrow I’m going to my fifth and final Spring Training game. I hadn’t planned on going to any more, but RedRays (Trent) made me an offer I couldn’t refuse. RedRays is one of those guys that gets along with everyone and has friends from many walks of life. One of those friends is MLB umpire Chad Fairchild.
Chad Fairchild photo by Adrian Wyld
Chad Fairchild has been umpiring in the big leagues since 2004. He’s been involved in two Division Series, and he was also on the field for A-Rod’s infamous “got it” call when running towards third base in Toronto.

One of the perks of being friends with an umpire… four free tickets to every MLB game in which he is umpiring.

RedRays took advantage of this a few years ago and traveled up to Fenway Park to catch a game. Tomorrow, he’s getting taken care of again, but this time it’s Port Charlotte for a split-squad game. Hey, any baseball is good baseball.

The reason I’m writing this post is that I hope to meet Chad Fairchild and maybe ask a few questions for the site. So, I pose this question to the readers. If you could ask an MLB umpire any question, what would it be? I’ll ask him the best ones tomorrow.

You’re the Best


There are a few things I would rather be doing today. Getting a root canal, finding a jury summons in the mail, passing a kidney stone, stepping on a Lego… Any of those would be preferable to this… Having to to write the 2012 thefouline.com fantasy baseball champion post for Dan Mckewen and his Rays those Cowbells.

For some strange reason, our league doesn’t award a trophy to each year’s winner. Instead, you get a few paragraphs noting your great accomplishment. But I will tell you this: if Dan wins back-to-back titles, I may hijack the Lord Stanley Cup trophy to hand out to him. It might be easier than having to write this two years in a row.

In spring of 2008, things were going great on thefouline.com. The Red Sox had just won another World Series title, and we had a loyal following and a steady stream of new posts. But despite all of the positives on the site, we were missing something. Everyone who commented on the site was a Red Sox fan. I appreciated their insight, but we all shared similar opinions. We were in desperate need of someone with a different perspective. We needed a villain.

This all changed on May 18th, on a post titled Like the Weather. A young, brash, opinionated Dan Mckewen had randomly Googled, “awesome baseball blogs written by really cool guys” and stumbled upon thefoulline.com. This was a post written in a derogatory manner that Dan did not appreciate, and he came out guns blazing in the comments section. Like Batman & the Joker, Rocky & Drago, and Buzz Lightyear & Zurg, it was thefoulline.com vs. Dan the #1 Rays Fan. We had our bad guy.

For a long time, no matter what Dan commented on, he received a bunch of abuse. He was pro-Rays on a Red Sox-dominated site. We were relentless on him. But no matter what we said to him, Dan kept coming back to the site and stating his opinions. We couldn’t get rid of him.

As time passed, we began to appreciate Dan’s loyalty to the site, even awarding him a coveted spot in our fantasy league (after his incessant begging). For four seasons, Dan has been all-in. He is arguably the most passionate owner in the league. The first couple of seasons, some may even say he was too passionate. Young Dan drove us a little nuts his first couple of seasons, and he will admit that his buttons were easily pushed. He was frustrated when trades didn’t go in his favor, or when Grady Sizemore got injured. He complained when he missed the playoffs. Then, after finally making the playoffs, he complained about losing in the finals in what is known in the league as “Tulo-gate.” He had a million excuses.

But here’s what I finally realized about Dan: He knows his baseball.

As much as it pains me, I have to admit Dan has matured. He’s a super-smart baseball mind, a tough competitor, and a loyal Rays fan. He has the only team in the league that has gotten better every year, finally culminating in his first and well-deserved baseball championship.

I’ve said a million times how hard it is just to make the playoffs in our league. To win a title is unreal (not that I know), and to dethrone the three-time champ while doing so is ridiculous.

We appreciate all of your support to the site. You’re our most loyal contributor and a great ambassador to thefoulline. Thanks for spreading the word about our little blog. I’m glad we didn’t run you off in 2008!

Congratulations on winning the title, Daniel-san. You really are the best around.

Tick Tock


Since finding out my fantasy draft position three days ago, I’ve had a constant clock ticking in my head. Tick… tick… tick…

I drew the second pick, which assures me of a great player. But with that pick comes a sense of responsibility/pressure to nail this selection. Our league is a bunch of fantasy assassins ready to pounce on any mistake and take advantage of any misstep.

Tick… tick… tick…

I think it’s pretty obvious that Miguel Cabrera, Mike Trout, & Ryan Braun are going to be the top three picks. But who’s going first? Will Chefdick take the American League Triple Crown winner? Or will he set his sights on the AL Rookie of the Year and MVP runner-up? Maybe he goes with Mr. Consistency and his automatic .300/35/110, even with the cloud of PED suspicion hovering over his head.

Tick… tick… tick…

Will Chefdick reveal this prior to the draft? Would I, if I were in his shoes? Hell no!

I have the second pick and 13 days to prepare. I can’t screw this up… I hope.

Tick… tick… tick…

And now, your slightly rained-on thefoulline.com quick hits:

  • I hate to write anything pro-Yankee, but it’s hard as a baseball fan not to appreciate everything that Mariano Rivera has accomplished over his illustrious career. He has epitomized class while performing at the highest level in the game, all while playing in most scrutinized city in the world. He announced his retirement, effective at the end of the 2013 season. MLB needs to waive the five-year waiting period and induct him into the Hall of Fame immediately after his last game. He’s been a great ambassador of the game and deserving of this honor. He’s earned it… even if he is a damn Yankee.
  • Al Roker in a New York Yankees uniform photo by Mark Feinsand

  • How does Kyle Lohse not have a job yet?
  • You think you’re having a bad day? Jordany Valdespin took a Justin Verlander fastball to his nuts yesterday.
  • Back to my regularly scheduled Yankee bashing… The New York Yankees are cursed this year, and I love it. With the rash of injuries that New York has suffered already this year (A-Rod, Granderson, Teixiera, Cashman), I can’t name five starters. They have fewer well-known players in their starting lineup than the Houston Astros. Brian Cashman is so desperate to field a “quality” team, that he tried to lure Chipper Jones out of retirement. When you have this guy suiting up for you, you’re in for a long year.
  • I love baseball, but going to watch the Rays/Yankees game in the rain with only scrubs playing might be the low point of my week. At least I’ll get to meet the Foul Line guys.
  • Ginger has written two posts for thefoulline.com and has had the most comments of anything that has been written over the past year. Should she try to write something on a regular basis?
  • Don’t forget to follow Yaysports: Real Talk Radio on Facebook.

Enjoy your week!

We Used to Wait


The premium league (not that we paid for it) is worth it for the early draft positions alone…

Draft Pick Order

  1. chefdicks
  2. Yankeehaters
  3. sportsmanMike
  4. The October Boys
  5. Love Boat Captains
  6. Panda the Hammer
  7. Rays Those Cowbells
  8. RedRays
  9. WillisBeTheYear
  10. King of Controversy