I just can’t escape that bittersweet feeling every time the calendar flips to September. Though some won’t understand my analogy and may have to equate it into their own terms, for me, it’s like being at a Phish show, losing track of the time and suddenly somewhere in the second set the band busts out a Character Zero. It’s a great song, a great jam, high energy and loads of fun. But unfortunately, I also know that it’s the last song they’ll play (encore excluded, of course) and my fun for the night is over. It’s that realization that hits me when September arrives and I know that the fantasy baseball season is coming to a close.
Sure, there’s still a month’s worth of games to go, but in 8 of my 11 leagues, the standings are, pretty much, set for me, much as they are for many of you. I play in two head to head leagues where the playoffs have just begun, but one of my teams has been hit so hard with injuries over the last few weeks that I expect a first round dismissal and in the other, my team is so crazy stacked that it would take the ghosts of Babe Ruth, Lou Gehrig and Ty Cobb to come down and help everyone else in the league for me to lose. The other undecided league is my primary roto league and while I have a fairly nice lead in that one, I always temper my enthusiasm so not to bring about any potential jinx. Shhh. I’ve said to much already. For the rest of the leagues though, there’s little or no reason for me to even go to the league’s home page as there is just nothing left to be done.
T.S. Eliot once wrote that April is the cruelest month, but that’s probably because he never played fantasy baseball and and never experienced the doldrums we sit in once September comes to a close and the fantasy game is over. Obviously, there are the MLB playoffs to look forward to and I still have a couple of my 10 Bold Predictions in play, but that overwhelming sadness of not being able to come home at night, settle into the live scoring page with a nice smokey Rauchbier in hand, study the standings, scour the waiver wire and plot my next move, is just sitting like a pit in the bottom of my stomach. And each day that passes in September, that pit grows bigger and bigger. I’ve tried fantasy baseball for the playoffs, but it’s not even close to the same as players are eliminated from the pool far too quickly to generate any momentum or excitement for me.
So here I sit now, slightly morose, as the fun and exciting baseball emails discussing things like swinging strike percentage, HR/FB ratios, isolated power and line drive rates are steadily replaced by ones with questions from old jocks who used to pick on me in junior high asking if they should sit their number one draft choice because some shlub receiver they drafted in the 10th round has a favorable match-up in Week 1 of the NFL season. Sigh.