Posted by: Captain Easychord | August 27, 2009

Quitting Fantasy Sports

With the NFL season just weeks away, fantasy football players everywhere are gearing up for the season and drafting the team that will bring home a fantasy championship.  A few years ago, that’s what I was doing at this time of year.  Every week, I’d make sure to keep an eye on the television to monitor what was going on in every game around the league.  After all, I always wanted to keep tabs on my guys and you never know when a key injury would turn a backup into a valuable fantasy commodity.

And I hated it.  I really didn’t care about Jacksonville vs. Green Bay or the Cowboys-Bills game.  It was just a few discrete nuggets of golden information that I was looking for amidst the worthless silt of three-and-outs, telestrated replays and commercial breaks.  But I thought that in order to do fulfill the objective of doing well in my fantasy league, this was what I needed to do.  The solution to the problem I faced was pretty simple:  three years ago, I quit playing fantasy football.

Freed from the need to keep up with goings-on around the league, I found that my interest in football more or less disappeared overnight.  Not only did I pay no mind to position battles and roster moves, but I stopped caring about the standings, the storylines… and one Monday night, given the rare opportunity to see a Steelers game televised here in DC, I chose to watch Heroes – and stay tuned for Journeyman* – instead.  That was when I realized that complete apathy towards football was the consequence of dropping out of the fantasy football world.

Now I’ve always been, first and foremost, a baseball fan.  When I was young, I played a lot of baseball, I collected baseball cards, I fell asleep listening to Pirates games.  I grew up with baseball and I had been playing fantasy baseball every year since… 1996?  Nevertheless, the same incessant need to stay up-to-date with the game for fantasy purposes had been dogging me for the last few years.  In light of my experience with fantasy football and the NFL, I was awfully curious to see what would happen if I cut the cord on fantasy baseball.  This year, that’s exactly what I did.

Just like the football example, I find that I care about Major League Baseball a whole lot less.  Frankly, I didn’t even recognize all the names on the All-Star teams this year.  Just like football, I don’t know who’s good and who’s not anymore.  But while the Steelers fell off my radar along with the rest of football when I quit the fantasy game, I’ve found that in the absence of fantasy baseball, I’m paying more attention to the Pirates than I have in a long time, if not forever.

To some extent, I suppose this makes sense.  For their part, the Pirates are a more interesting franchise today than they have been for at least a decade.  Given the sad state of the Pirates franchise for the last 17 years, they haven’t been substantial players in the fantasy world.  The last few years, I found myself rooting for my fantasy players against the Pirates because I knew that the Pirates weren’t going anywhere… but my fantasy team might!  Now, my rooting interests are more or less undivided.  I don’t pull for a hitter or two on 7 or 8 different teams and a pitcher here and there.  I only have to root for one team.  (Well, admittedly, I’m also a Tim Lincecum fan, but I don’t really have anything riding on that, so it’s different.)

All of this is kind of a fancy and roundabout way of saying that I’m still very much paying attention to the Pirates.  So if you’re wondering what happened to Pirates Thursday, the answer is that it has gone on a brief hiatus.  The first missing Thursday, I was on vacation.  The week after that, I was having surgery.  After that… I was lazy… and I had so much to say (it was an eventful couple weeks!) that I couldn’t put a post together in one night… and then it just kinda snowballed.  But Pirates Thursday will return next week… so stay tuned!

* Yes,  Journeyman was kind of a ripoff of Quantum Leap, but I still kinda liked it anyway… after all, Quantum Leap was awesome…


  1. I am paying attention to the Pirates’ long-term moves (and farm system) with an above-average degree of interest. But with each passing year I find myself more unable to watch the team itself. I have attended two games this year (free tickets both times) and have not watched more than a couple innings at a time of any game on TV in two or three seasons.

    Like you, after 17 years, I have given up the longtime pretense of having “divided loyalties” in fantasy. I blatantly root against the Pirates.

  2. […] Sometimes it’s console gaming, other times it’s board games or card games (although not fantasy sports games anymore).  But today, I’m going to talk about a couple free web-based adaptations of board […]

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