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About Jon
Thank You For Not ...

1) using profanity or any euphemisms for profanity
2) personally attacking other commenters
3) baiting other commenters
4) arguing for the sake of arguing
5) discussing politics
6) using hyperbole when something less will suffice
7) using sarcasm in a way that can be misinterpreted negatively
8) making the same point over and over again
9) typing "no-hitter" or "perfect game" to describe either in progress
10) being annoyed by the existence of this list
11) commenting under the obvious influence
12) claiming your opinion isn't allowed when it's just being disagreed with

This Was Only Supposed To Be About Rotisserie Baseball
2004-02-23 20:54
by Jon Weisman

I can't play Rotisserie baseball.

My allegience to the Dodgers is such that I don't want to be committed to rooting for a player on another team to do well, out of fear that his success would domino smack into the Dodgers' pennant chances, no matter how slim.

I can't stand for my rooting interest to be diluted. It's hard enough fretting about the boys in blue - the last thing I need is grief because some random player from Philadelphia or Baltimore went 0 for 4.

Beyond that, I guess I'm not sufficiently interested in the premise. Can I draft the players most likely to excel in whatever criteria the fantasy baseball league has created? Probably not. Do I care? No.

The thing I did love to do, back in my single days when I could, was play my own Strat-o-Matic baseball league. I would form a league of the top eight or 10 teams from the previous season, create a schedule, and manage both teams in every single game. I love picking lineups and I love in-game strategy. I think my peak was a 10-team, 60-odd game schedule, where I played more than 300 games.

Not that I was opposed to playing Strat against another human being - far from it - but I really got a kick out of my own universe. Shades of The Universal Baseball Association, Inc.

God, there was drama - both in the pennant races and in the statistics. For all of Strat-o-Matic's hard-earned mirror of reality, there was the year that Bruce Benedict led my league in hitting; there was the year Dante Bichette chased the Triple Crown. There was a Houston Astros team that went something like 11-1 in one-run games, snuck into the World Series, and rallied to beat a vintage Joe Torre Yankee team.

And again, none of this competed with the Dodgers of my reality, so all was well in the universe.

We're having a baby boy this summer. I've known this for a couple of months now, been wondering how or when to share it on this website. But as I write this, I realize that one of the things I look forward to - just one among many things that include books, hugs, ski trips, hugs, Dodger games, hugs and that essential game of catch - is sitting down with my boy and playing Strat-o-Matic. Not that I'll force it on him - and not that I won't give my daughter, now 17 months old, first crack at the game. But I've been wondering how to express to you all the excitement I have about my second child, and it occurs to me just now, near the end of this meandering bit of writing, that if I get a kid of mine hooked on Strat-o-Matic, even for just a month or a summer, it'll just be neat beyond description. And that feeling almost begins to convey my excitement.

Parenting is tiring stuff, let me tell you (and I'm scared to death of what happens when they become teenagers), but I've got no complaints. I love my wife and daughter and son-to-be-named-later. And I've got a day job that, while it isn't the most rewarding, allows me to get home every night and every weekend to be with my family. And I've got a baseball writing job that doesn't pay dime one but fulfills me in a way I never would have predicted. Give me a baseball season to go with my family - even if I can't go to or play as many games I used to - and that's the tops.

Comfort and joy is really all you need. Love, baseball and a nice boss bring me those things. In the words of Sam Cooke, "That's where it's at."

I'm lucky. I may be breaking too many rules about how to craft an essay, but I don't know if I've ever felt luckier.

And so, with a clean conscience, I respectfully decline the invitations I've received to play Rotisserie baseball (ah, there I go, bringing this all full circle), and I apologize in advance for the days off I'll be taking somewhere around August 4.

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