Whatever happened to the power of positive thinking? Obviously it’s a lost art form when you’re talking about a certain percentage of fantasy baseballers. If you recall a Kicking Rocks piece I did during the spring called Draft Characters, you’ll remember the outline I provided of the different types of people you’ll likely face in the war room on Draft Day. The first “person” discussed was the Know-It-All — the guy loaded with information and always willing to endow you with his wisdom. Well, what I didn’t tell you is what happens to this person once the season begins. The best way to describe it is to equate him to a petulant child who just learned the word ‘no.’ No player you like, does he like. No trade that you make, would he make, and heaven forbid you play with him in a league where you vote on trades. The transformation takes place shortly after the start of the season and your league know-it-all sadly becomes The Naysayer.
The last time I checked, fantasy baseball was still a game and games are supposed to be fun. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with making a league a little more interesting and developing a little healthy competition, but above all, this is supposed to be an enjoyable pastime, dammit! Unfortunately, it is the Naysayer who sucks the joy right out of every moment and it turns every conversation, every trade negotiation, every league discussion into a chore. You’d rather spend three hours in a dentist’s chair having a root canal done than you would spending one more minute talking with this person [for the record, I really wanted to use the word ‘asshat’ here but was concerned with an editorial reprimand].
I like owning Jean Segura. Who doesn’t? Through 38 games, he’s batting .353 with seven home runs, 18 RBI and 14 stolen bases. He’s playing out of his mind and fantasy owners lucky enough to have grabbed him are reaping massive benefits. But yes, his .380 BABIP is likely unsustainable and he will eventually slow down. But just because you expect some regression doesn’t mean the guy is a worthless piece of sh*t destined to bat .240 the rest of the way. The Naysayer won’t even discuss him in a deal and if he does, he’s not offering you up anything more than a struggling Rickie Weeks or an overachieving Travis Wood. His biggest trade negotiating tactic is to run down all of your players no matter who they are or how well they’re doing. Selling Matt Harvey? No. He’s got no track record and his arm is going to fall off. Offering Carlos Beltran? No. He always gets hurt. No matter how well your players are doing or how crappy his are, your team sucks, his players are the best, and getting a deal done is an impossibility.
And when someone else makes a deal in the league, this guy has nothing but negative things to say about it. It could be the most innocuous trade in the world and this guy is either seconds away from crying collusion or he’s sending one of the trade participants a scathing email telling them that they’re an idiot who just got rooked and that he was offering better players. Inevitably, it is the Naysayer who starts those ugly email wars that clutter up your inbox and somehow always escalate to the old 6th grade “I’ll meet you over the hill after school.” You want to say, “Lighten up, Francis” to ease some of the tension but that only incites him to talk more.
It is a constant struggle with the Naysayer, but one you usually have to endure. While he’s the biggest pain in the ass to deal with on a daily basis, he’s also a highly competitive owner whose participation in the league is at its highest level. It’s always tough to find owners so committed and so dedicated to the game that kicking him out and replacing him isn’t always in the best interest of the league. Sometimes you just have to bite your tongue and accept the fact that he’s the smartest guy in the
league world and you’re just Willie Lump Lump (thank you Brandon Phillips).
There is one saving grace, though, in that this is also the guy who didn’t believe in Albert Pujols during his rookie year, didn’t believe in Yu Darvish’s ability to pitch in the States and didn’t believe in Mike Trout. He’s so busy running down players that he misses the boat on some of the most exciting, up-and-coming talent. Sure, he’ll try to rip you off in a deal for them at some point down the road, but rarely is he the one who initially digs up the gem.
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