Come on, people. Take a moment here. Take a breath. Take a Xanax for all I care. You need to relax. We’re not even a week into the season and I’ve already seen more panic here than I did when Phish announced they were breaking up and the dirty, spun hippies woke up and realized they had no place to go. I’ve seen roster moves galore, bad impulse trades, people giving up on some players already and far too much faith being put into others who are undeserving. I truly wish this was just some strawman I decided to make up and treat like a punching bag for a while, but this is truth I’m speaking here and those of you who are guilty of this early obsession with the panic button need to pay attention.
You need to think of yourself as a premier barbecue chef and your fantasy baseball team is a steak. You don’t just go to the store, buy a package of meat, come home and throw it onto the grill do you? Hell no. You go to the deli counter and you talk to the butcher. You look at a few choice cuts of meat, ask him (or her) what’s freshest, what looks the best, and what’s going to grill up real nice for you. You then take that meat home and you prepare it with the utmost of care. You tenderize it, rub in some spices and then you prepare a marinade so bleepin’ tasty that just the thought of one bite, one delectable taste with the juices dripping down your chin, makes you want to head to the bathroom for a little private time.
You then bag that steak up with the marinade and you let it sit. An hour? Two hours? Three? No. You let that bad boy soak in that marinade overnight; maybe even a full 24 hrs. You’re like a scientist studying the properties of osmosis and all you want to see is that steak soaking up those juices like a giant sponge. You want this sh*t to blow your mind.
When the prep work is finally complete, you heat up that grill. You let it get nice and hot and make sure the flames on the briquettes are spread evenly. Once it’s ready, you drop your steak on it and begin to cook. But you don’t sit there and tinker with it constantly. You don’t slap it on the grill and flip it a dozen times in five minutes, do you? Hell no. You set it down and you close the grill top. You let it cook on one side for a few minutes before making adjustments. When that time is right, you then flip it, close the top and wait again. And when that time passes, then you start making your tweaks.
You make a little cut to see what needs to happen. Maybe it’s perfect and you’ve done enough. Maybe you like it a little more well done and you move it to a different hot-spot on the grill. Maybe you pour a little extra marinade on top. Whatever it is that makes you happiest, you do the necessary tweaking but not so much that you ruin what you’ve started. Once it’s complete, you can take it off the grill, throw it on a plate and have at it. All of that work, from prepping to eating, is pure satisfaction.
And that, my friends is how you need to treat your fantasy baseball team. You didn’t just blindly pick players and draft them, did you? Hell no. You took the time to do some research. You asked questions of those who have opinions you trust and respect. You hand-picked this group of players and cultivated them into this formidable roster of fantasy deliciousness. So now that the season has begun you feel like you’re ready to cook, right? Wrong! This is just the marinating time that you’re in right now. You need to just let them play; get a decent number of at-bats or innings logged. Let it soak in for a while and see where you are in the standings. Only then will you be ready to cook.
Put that team on the proverbial grill, close the lid and evaluate where you need the help most. If a waiver move is necessary, then so be it, but do it because it makes the most sense. Don’t drop an established closer who had a crappy spring for Kyuji Fujikawa because he got the save on the first day and everyone expects him to eventually take over the role. Don’t drop a veteran talent in the outfield because Collin Cowgill had one beastly day in the limelight. Be smart. Make calculated moves that make sense.
Then open up that grill top, flip your team over and close the lid again. Evaluate your needs again, accept the fact that the waiver wire won’t solve all your problems, and set yourself up some decent trade possibilities. Trade from strength and get back what you need. That should be your focus. It doesn’t have to be some big, mammoth-sized roster overhaul, you know. You can do something small that still gets the job done. Some of these ridiculously inane six for six deals just put you behind the eight-ball somewhere else because you’re trying to do far too much at once. Of course everyone loves to trade. It’s exciting stuff. But do it with purpose and intelligence. Any fool can make a trade, but it’s the savvy GM who makes the right ones.
And once you’ve made yourself a nice deal or two, close that grill top again and let it cook. Give it some time. It takes at least two weeks for you to start seeing the effects of a deal in most roto leagues. There’s no sense in making a deal only to turn over your roster again because you haven’t gotten instant gratification. That’s just flipping your steak too soon and not letting one side cook at all.
When that’s all said and done, then you can cut into your team and see what’s left to be done. Maybe it’s perfect and you can hang back and relax. Maybe another waiver move is in order; possibly even one more tweak deal. Whatever the case may be, you have at least given your players enough time to show you what they can do. Some will blossom, some will wither. But you’ve taken your time and hopefully made the right decisions. You have prepared your team like an expert chef prepares a good steak.
Now all that’s left to do is eat.
Welcome to the fantasy baseball dining room. Your championship table is right this way…
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