There I was, waging a fierce comeback. I was in second place, down 12.5 points in my friend’s 12-team 7×7 mixed, roto league with just over two weeks remaining in the regular season. The point differential seemed massive, but not impossible. There might be an ‘I’ in ‘quit,’ but not now. Not today. I took a long, hard look at the standings and assessed the situation.
I should never have been in this position actually. I led the league for most of the season, getting off to a hot start and maintaining my roster like a diligent horticulturist tending to the plants in the greenhouse. With each day that passed, my lead seemed to grow just a little bit more. However, due to a number of circumstances, mostly led by hubris and neglect, my lead began to diminish and by the time I gave the league more than just a cursory glance, I had fallen from grace and headed towards the pack I had so smugly left behind.
It would have been real easy to simply dismiss the league and cite my perpetually overwhelming work schedule as the reason behind my collapse and subsequent failure. But I refused to let it end like that. A 12.5 point deficit was not insurmountable. I was still in a movable spot in both on-base and slugging percentage while there was definite room for improvement in wins, saves, strikeouts and ERA. It was time to make some hard and fast decisions with my roster and the body count was going to be immense.
I immediately restructured my hitters. It’s not a keeper league, so cutting the under-performing big names was actually somewhat cathartic. Gone were the likes of Hanley Ramirez, Carlos Santana, Alex Rodriguez, Michael Bourn and Jason Kubel. In came Chris Nelson, Josh Rutledge, Yonder Alonso and Justin Smoak. It was like channeling Moneyball and all I kept doing was pointing to Jonah Hill so he could say, “Because he gets on base.” I still had some power-hitting holdovers, but overall, the roster had a much different look.
I then turned my attention to the pitchers and immediately added the services of Glen Perkins, Brandon League and John Axford to join the two Rafaels — Soriano and Betancourt. They would remain in the active lineup while I regularly streamed in anywhere from two to four starters a day. Slowly but surely I was moving up in the different categories and by the time we reached the final day, I was just 1.5 points out of first with a possible two points to be had.
I was primed to regain my proper place in the standings. Victory was to be mine. When the dust settled I saw that it all came down to Travis Wood. He was an easy streamer with his match-up with Houston and the Cubs jumped out to an early lead. Wood kept the Astros in check and I was on my way to a hard-fought, well deserved championship. I just needed the win to tie the team in front of me and gain the half point needed for the title. With the Cubs up 4-1 after seven, I started counting chickens rather than eggs.
Well, you all know what happened next. Shawn Camp and shoddy defense cost me the win, I never saw that half point, and the comeback was ultimately thwarted. I was beside myself. Angst-ridden. I looked to the heavens and went for the most blood-curdling scream you’ve ever heard, but nothing came out.
Because the season’s over, dude and no one wants to hear your s**t anymore.