Kole Calhoun? Scooter Gennett? Freddy Galvis? Tanner Roark? These are the names that make up the roster of a championship fantasy baseball team? These are not the men who brought me to the Promised Land this year. Where are they? Where are my guys? Where are the men who I hand-picked back in March after countless hours of research? The men who, week in and week out, dominated the competition so fiercely that the engraver was asking for the correct spelling of my team name back in July? When the bats and arms I rode through this long and arduous season are needed most, I’m left scrambling and sifting through a pile of rubble, filled with young hopefuls, cast-offs, has-beens and never-weres. If there was ever a case to be made that a head to head format in fantasy baseball is a disaster, now would be that time.
If you’re sitting here in September and reading this article then you have a full understanding of what it takes to win a fantasy baseball championship. From the pre-draft study to rolling with the punches on Draft Day to the in-season waiver selections and savvy trades that are made, the fantasy baseball season is work; good, old-fashioned, nose to the grindstone work. Anyone who has won a championship can tell you that it is not an easy feat. Of course there’s a certain amount of luck involved, but if you don’t do the proper research, if you don’t put in the time or dedication it takes to win this game, then you’re nothing but an afterthought come the end of September.
But none of that seems to matter in head to head play. OK, maybe not none of it, but almost none of it. In a roto league, it’s about an entire year’s worth of work. The stats you accumulated back in April are just as important as the stats you accumulate now. In head to head play, you can coast throughout most of the season just doing the bare minimum to get by, make the playoffs and with two week’s worth of close attention can sneak in and win your league with a rag-tag group of guys who couldn’t cut the mustard in the bigs for an entire season but thrive on the main stage for a month while they face other Triple-A hopefuls whose non-playoff bound teams are giving them a brief shot at stardom in games that, for the most part, have no meaning at all.
Injuries happen. I get it. It’s a part of the process. But after a season of dominance and a near-perfect record, why should all of that work mean nothing? Over the past month or so, I’ve lost Matt Harvey, Carlos Gonzalez, Jacoby Ellsbury, Jason Heyward and Starling Marte. Brian McCann is resting comfortably for the playoffs and Jose Fernandez has now officially been shut down. Obviously you can prepare for certain things, like the Fernandez’ situation, but why does everything that happened for the five months leading up to now mean nothing? That’s just not right. The format works fine for the meatheads and simpletons of fantasy football who can’t seem to focus on their team for more than an hour a week, but for those dedicated fantasy baseballers, it’s just flat-out wrong. A season of hard work and dedication should be rewarded, not dismissed. Your championship should not come easy and if it does, you need to stop playing with third graders who have no understanding of this beloved game.
Ban the head to head format in fantasy baseball. Mitchell Friedman does not deserve a ring.