Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mail Bag Day

Hey folks, it's just been ages since I sat back on my chucklebutt and let you people do the work. Let's open up the good old mail bag!

Dear FTT -- I've been without a fantasy sports team for nearly two months now, and baseball doesn't start for another six weeks. How do I keep from feeling a vague sense of dread that I may be getting a life? -- A. Builder, Chester PA

Dear Builder -- You see, this is why you need the NBA in your life. Did you know that right now, three teams in the Western Conference -- Phoenix, Los Angeles and Dallas -- have all pulled off ridiculously big trades (for Pau Gasol, Shaquille O'Neal and Jason Kidd, respectively), and that the game has never been better for a fantasy player... because very few teams are really tanking, so there are not too many places where the minutes are incredibly up in the air, and...

Oh, what the hell. You're probably already ranking players for your fantasy baseball draft.

Dear FTT -- Who do you like as sleepers in your fantasy draft? -- Gangsta Mook, Berkeley, CA

Dear G-Mook -- Normally I'd avoid identifying these players until after my own draft was over, for fear of tipping my hand. But since the only league I'm likely to be in right now is an auction with not enough people in it, I'll let 'em loose in a classic double-bluff. Go hard for Francisco Liriano in the classic Rich Harden tease role. While you're at it, go for Rich Harden, too. Brett Myers might be a cheap source of strikeouts and abject stupidity, and Matt Cain has to be better now that the Giants aren't playing ancient monoliths in their outfield.

As for who I'm shying away from, Josh Beckett is a historic injury risk, threw a ton of innings last year, and came to spring training wearing David Wells' stomach. Avoid. CC Sabathia is also fat and overworked, which is rarely a good combination (and it's killing me not to make any number of catty celebrity jokes here, but it's not that kind of blog). Johan Santana will cost the world and probably be the best SP in MLB, but you rarely win with that; you win with the guy that overdelivers on value. This year in New York, that's Pedro Martinez.

On offense, Daric Barton will take the first step towards a lucrative non-A's contract, Grady Sizemore may yet have another gear to access, and Melky Cabrera will be as quiet of a bargain as you can get in the Bronx. I also think Andruw Jones is the kind of guy who does better with no pressure, and there's something about Khalil Greene that makes me keep thinking he'll make a push.

Avoid post-contract Torii Hunter and Ichiro Suzuki, don't overpay for the potentially roid-empty David Ortiz, and there's no way that Jimmy Rollins can do that again.

More later, as we get closer to the season.

Dear FTT -- Do you still have T-Shirts to sell, and if so, in what size? -- A. Shill, Philadelphia, PA

Dear Shill -- The Garment of Greatness is available in Medium, Large, Extra Large and Why Won't You People Buy These, My Children Need Shoes. E-mail us at dmtshooter@gmail.com for details. Makes a great gift!

Dear FTT -- Why don't you ever comment on the Sports Illustrated swimsuit edition? It's not like there is anything else going on at this time of year. - A. Wanker, Dayton, OH

Dear Wanker -- Seriously, this is still a story? I'll admit that I used to look forward to getting the only home-delivered porn that you didn't have to explain away as a teenager, but that was pre-Internet, when your options were extraordinarily limited, assuming you didn't have the ability to just say screw it and go give a bored magazine seller cash and see what would happen. Now, with 24-7-365 people doing all kinds of things to all kinds of things, am I really supposed to get hot and bothered by airbrushed supermodels wearing dental floss? Come back when there's fluids involved. On second thought, don't, because wankery and sports already are way too mixed together -- witness 98% of the World Wide Lemur's non-live event programming.

Dear FTT -- What random link of causality is rattling inside your head today, that I'm going to have to put up with when you get home? - A. Wife, Hamilton, NJ

Dear Wife -- Glad you asked! There's a story in the NY Times today (I'd link to it, but I don't want to be indirectly responsible for a tragedy) about an epidemic of mid-life suicides. It seems that people in their 40s and 50s are offing themselves in dramatically increasing numbers, for reasons that, of course, no one can really talk about, since the people who are doing it are dead and all.

Now, you can wonder if this has something to do with economic stress, or the shaking stress that a society goes through as it transitions from one that depends on religion for all of the answers, to a more secular state where fewer and fewer people face their demise with the knowledge that it's all going to be paradise so long as they don't commit the naughty move of checking out early. You might even position it to technology creating a distance among those of a certain age, who have never cottoned to, say, expressing themselves meaningfully in an e-mail or IM window, and hence, feel left behind from the clicking crowds.

Or, like me, you can wonder if there's some way to blame the World Wide Lemur for the whole thing, because honestly, if you are beyond the age of 30, watching "Who's Next" and not wanting to go Lewinsky on a .38... well, I'm inclined to think that maybe you *should* go Lewsinsky on a .38.

Thanks for reading, writing, and helping me fill the bloghole for yet another day. Remember, all FTT letter writers receive a Garment of Greatness! (Note: We said nothing about free.)

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