The New Champion: Mike’s Rise To The Top

I feel like we’ve come a long way to get to this point.

It was the spring of 2010, and fantasy league was fresh off it’s second season. I had just completed my rookie campaign, Ginger had won her first championship, and the McLaughlin family was talking smack and preparing to rebound from disappointing efforts from the year before. It was an exciting time.

As we all gathered to sign up and prepare for a new season, the McLaughlin family, who had been a staple on ever since it’s inception,  was suddenly nowhere to be found. Dave and Ginger went into full on scramble mode and came to me and asked if I knew anyone who could fill in at the last minute. Somebody passionate about the game, and somebody who would be as committed as the rest of us to playing this game that we all love.

I asked Mike if he wanted to play, and he quickly agreed. But I think he was surprised at how competitive and serious league can be. There is no room for coasting or not being all-in. He had to learn very quickly.

I’ve known Mike for over 20 years, and I can tell you that he’ll never be the guy that spends 2 hours pouring over stat sheets and doing mock drafts. I’m not saying he’s not committed of course, but he’ll never be the baseball psychopath that guys like Dave and myself are. But he always goes with his gut, never gives up, and always learns from his mistakes.

I know Mike got a lot of flack from the infamous “Braun and Felix trade” of 2012 and that helped lead me to a championship, but he never let me forget it. He’s been the toughest negotiator in the league for me ever since, and has completely destroyed me in every trade we’ve made since then.

There’s nobody in the league I wanted to see win a championship more than Mike. He worked really hard this year, and won big games every single time he was faced with the collapses that have haunted his past seasons. He mastered the waiver wire, getting studs like AJ Pollock, Mookie Betts, Alex Rodriguez, Brian McCann and Curtis Granderson, all of whom were in his starting lineup the last 2 months of the season. He made a huge trade at the deadline, swapping his best pitcher Chris Sale for three pitchers in an effort to improve his depth. It was a really risky deal at the time, but Mike trusted his gut and it paid off in a big way. He would not have won the championship without making that deal.

Is Mike ready to become a powerhouse in our league? That I can’t say. But I know one thing for certain. In the 2015 season, team sportsmanMike was the absolute best. He pushed all the right buttons, and took down two of the league’s biggest juggernauts in the playoffs in the Yankeehaters and the Love Boat Captains.

This was no cheap win or fluke season. Mike deserves to be called the best, and for the next six months, I hope he enjoys being called the champion. Congratulations, you deserve it.

I wonder what the name of his trophy will be?

4 Responses to “The New Champion: Mike’s Rise To The Top”

  1. SportsmanMike Says:

    Thanks for the post, Dan. Let me start off by saying: Damn it feels good to keep the trophy in St. Pete! This season has been more of a grind for me over any of the years in the past. After all of these years, it finally dawned on me that this league is not to be reckoned with. The competition is so fierce in this league that you can not let up, not even for one week. That one week could cost you a spot in the playoffs. Fortunately for me, I made the right moves at the right times that helped solidify my team for a decent run this season. I tried not to take a week off because I knew, like ever season, it would come down to the nitty gritty when it came to a playoff chance. Hell, I felt like a million bucks when I made the playoffs…

    I saw my first matchup being The Yankeehaters. Prior to the game I thought to myself, well damn, I’m in now, what? There’s no way I could possibly get out of the first round in my first ever playoff appearance. Somehow I squeaked out a win again good ole’ Dave.

    Then came the championship against LBC’s. Holly shit, am I the only game left on the screen this week!? This is unreal! All week I shared discussions with Dan about Gingers 4th title. There was no possible was Mike could win against the veteran. Somehow I squeezed it out. It feels great, especially knowing how tough of a league this is. Like I said, every week is a grind, every move and every detail during the course of a long season counts.

    I can finlally call myself the Champ for a year.

    Look forward to next year!!

  2. Dan The #1 Rays Fan Says:

    I really enjoyed writing your champions post, and all the other posts for this season. Let’s do a live draft next year. Is it March yet? Congrats on your title, enjoy it.

  3. Dave Says:

    Well said, Champ! Congrats! Welcome to the Champions Fraternity!

    Dan… Thanks for all the posts this season. I couldn’t have done it better myself!

  4. Dan the #1 Rays Fan Says:

    I’m not sure… The writings of Dave were pretty popular! Everybody seemed to love it when you dusted off the keyboard!

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