Ask NotGraphs!

Dear NotGraphs,

I recently started dating a girl who has no idea how intense I am about my fantasy baseball league. I’m afraid she’ll freak out when she finds out about how I print out multiple spreadsheets to prep for Draft Day, frequently slobber over prospect reports and field trade offers in the shower. I know I cannot be the only person in this situation so I think it would make for an excellent column on the site.

(note: this is an actual e-mail from an actual reader, swear on my fantasy team.)

Dear Reader,

I hate to start off attacking the premise of the question, but, dude, she knows. I know you don’t think she knows, but she does. Women are skilled like that. My wife comes home and she immediately knows everything I’ve eaten, touched, looked at, anything. “You watched 30 Rock already? I thought we were going to watch it together!” “What? How do you know I watched 30 Rock?” “There’s a crumb of cereal on the floor near the couch, that I can somehow see from fifteen feet away. So I know you were eating cereal on the couch, and so I know you must have been watching something on TV while you were eating it, and since there was nothing else on the DVR, I know you watched 30 Rock without me.” It’s like “The Mentalist.” Which I also watched on the DVR without her.

So, even if you don’t think she knows, I think she knows. She’s seen you reading Fangraphs. She’s seen you replying to e-mails from people whose names she doesn’t recognize, talking about men with strange-sounding names she’s never heard of, and she went home one night and Googled “WHIP Ratio” to see what the heck you were talking about and whether this was something to be frightened of. She figured it out. She knows. And she likes you anyway. Because fantasy baseball is better than a lot of other terrible things you could be doing. Like eating cereal on the couch.

But even if she doesn’t know, this is manageable. My wife knows close to nothing about baseball. So I remember being in the same boat as you. I didn’t know how to explain this whole auction thing, and how it takes en entire day, and I’m bidding fake money on real players whose stats I will follow all year, and, yeah, there’s the one in-person league that actually does take all day, and then I have these two other not-so-important drafts for leagues I don’t really care about, and I do them on the computer, so, like, we can be together while I’m doing that, but I’m going to be staring at the computer screen for 4 hours and not able to carry on any semblance of a normal conversation.

It does sound crazy. But as long as you plan ahead, it can work. The first time my wife and I went away somewhere in-season without Internet (this was in the long ago pre-Smartphone era of 2006), it definitely seemed bizarre to her that I *had* to find a computer once a day to set my lineups. “It’s like a drug addiction,” she said, and then went sort of glassy-eyed as I tried to explain it’s not actually like a drug addiction, because if you miss a day of drugs, you can just catch up the next day, but if you miss a day of setting your lineup, it might screw up the entire season. So it’s totally different. And so, I guess, in that way, it’s worse. Uh, yeah, that didn’t help.

So don’t do that– don’t go somewhere without Internet, and then drag her around looking for a wireless connection for two hours. It’s not nice. Have a plan. Pre-set your lineups. Give a friend your password in case of an injury.

Consult her when scheduling your draft day instead of springing it on her. Admit that you know you’re a little insane, and that you take this a little too seriously, but it’s fun, it’s not dangerous, and after your draft, you want to take her out to a nice dinner, where you won’t talk about your team at all, because that’s really boring to her, and she doesn’t care whether you got the shortstop you wanted or you got stuck with Nick Punto.

I read my wife your question, thinking she would have some great advice, since she’s had to deal with years now of me making crazy spreadsheets and trying to explain why she should be impressed by them. But, to my surprise, she really didn’t understand what the big deal was. She admitted she finds it sort of strange that I have this separate group of people I’m in almost daily contact with, people she doesn’t know, wouldn’t recognize on the street, knows virtually nothing about them (except that I hate them all, and want to crush them).

But aside from that, she didn’t think you have a lot to worry about, if you act like a reasonable human being and put the phone down when you’re on a date, or at your wedding, try to avoid scheduling the draft when you already have plans, and don’t sneak around like a crazy person trying to hide a gambling problem. “I just want to check my team before I go to bed” is a reasonable thing for a reasonable person to say. “I just want to check my team for the next thirty-three hours and ignore you while you’re in labor with our child” is not. So just be reasonable.

Alternatively, sneak around with your spreadsheets like you’re cheating on her, and then, when she confronts you, reveal that it’s only fantasy baseball, and she’ll be so relieved that she’ll leap into your arms, and… uh… no, just tell her, it’s no big deal, she’ll understand. Unless she doesn’t.

Good luck,

Have a question for Ask NotGraphs!? I hope so, because I think this has the potential to be a fun occasional feature, and it will be easier to write it if people actually send questions and I don’t have to make them up. E-mail me, or leave your question in the comments, and maybe (probably) (definitely) yours will be next!

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Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn’t go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney’s or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.

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Well-Beered Englishman
Well-Beered Englishman

This is marvelous. Send the man questions, people.