So I was making some picks for a couple of fantasy football leagues I draft by e-mail. I was in a bit of a rush so I just threw enough names in the pre-draft to make sure I got someone. My starting lineups were already picked so I loaded some names I thought had a chance to contribute, maybe not in September, but hopefully soon thereafter. I did it with a clear conscious, not caring what anyone else thought. If the picks turned out to be bad, I didn’t care. I didn’t even care if the players had been released and were not even on an NFL team – I’d drop them and get an undrafted replacement when waivers begin.
Then it hit me, an epiphany of sorts. I can put on a front and say the right thing and contend that I take off my analyst hat and put on my drafting hat when it comes time to assemble my baseball teams, but I’d be lying. And quite frankly, I think anyone else in my position would be fibbing as well. When we draft, we have millions, OK, thousands, all right, some of us have hundreds of eyes peering over our shoulders, scrutinizing every pick and auction purchase. I’m not saying all my drafts are completely shaped by those shadowing me, but there is no doubt the occasional pick has been influenced by my reputation and was more what I thought I was supposed to do as opposed to what I wanted to do. And again, other than perhaps the Zen Master himself, Lawr, I call BS on anyone else in the industry that says they are in no way affected by their so-called expert status when drafting. It is akin to home calls by umpires or referees. In our minds, we want to be completely unbiased and perhaps even believe we are just that, but the truth is the roar of the crowd influences decisions, even if subconsciously.
I know many of my brethren will take exception to this and proclaim that each draft and auction is a unique, living entity and thus are experienced at adjusting on the fly. As such, they make a pick against some advice they have previously offered, but like the official that says their calls are independent of the situation, there is a reason the term “home-field advantage” is such a staple in sports vernacular. Trust me friends, we have all made picks because we felt we had to and not because we wanted to.
I have hinted this past summer that I feel I do not take on enough risk when drafting my baseball squads and I believe the reason is related to the above. And while I don’t ever recall actually thinking “I can’t pick him, they’d rake me over the coals in the forum”, I have no doubt subconsciously done just that.
How do I know? Because when I make picks in fantasy football, I do say to myself, “Take him, who gives a shit what anyone else thinks.” This means that deep down inside, I care what people think when I make baseball picks.
With due respect to all those who have been following my work for all or part of the past fifteen years, please accept my apology in advance. I am going to make a conscious effort not to give a shit what you think come next fantasy baseball season.
Don’t worry, I’ll be more than happy to explain my actions, and actually feel you’ll get more out of that than if I follow the chalk. But when it comes time to make a pick or bid on a player, what I have previously written or advised will be thrown out the window and the moment will be the thing.
Caring hasn’t been working so well lately.