I feel like we’ve come a long way to get to this point.
It was the spring of 2010, and thefoulline.com 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 thefoulline.com 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 thefoulline.com 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?