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Saturday 22nd Jul 2017

Sundays at the Arizona Fall League are always both fun and challenging.

The fun is that it means the last day of the BaseballHQ First Pitch, and saying good-bye to friends (and, seeing friends who both play fantasy ball, and are in the industry is the best part of the whole affair).

Since the soiree usually ends the last weekend of October or the first of November, there is always that pesky time change from daylight savings time, which Arizona does not observe, but which California, and the rest of the contiguous U.S. apparently does.

So, that makes setting Sunday football rosters and anticipating kick off times and all the 10 AM deadlines I am used to making off by an hour.

It also means that the hour of extra sleep I would have received had I simply stayed home is lost in the proverbial ether.

Since Sunday morning at First Pitch is just a half-day’s worth of program—followed by goodbyes and the masses of attendees running for the airport—there is also the jumble of confirming those rosters, catching presentations and trying to watch a little of the morning NFL games.

The tradition we have coming home is that Z (that would be Lord Zola) drops Pasko Varnica and me off at the airport within an hour of the end of the program, and Pasko and I then plod through security, and then once safely in the terminal, have lunch before our flight.

I actually really love that part of the trip, for it means an hour of sitting in a bar in the airport—which are always resplendent with televisions—having some kind of bistro lunch, and watching bits and pieces of the games being shown.

Which can be a tricky thing, for it means I don’t necessarily get to choose.

We were lucky enough to have the Chiefs and the Bills going at it at the place we ate yesterday. I not only have Alex Smith (the Mark Buehrle of QBs) on a couple of teams, but first week I dumped the Ravens defense in lieu of the Kansas City one.

So, I not only lucked into a great waiver acquisition with the Chiefs, but in having them, I have really enjoyed watching their defensive squad every week. In fact, of late I have realized that I really prefer watching defenses go at it more than offense.

I am not sure how this happened.

I think some of it goes back to when I started following the Bears a few years back, noting that though their offense was erratic, their defense was not only deadly, but more than capable of scoring points.

Last year as I became more and more interested in the Seahawks, it was due to the play of Marshawn Lynch and Russell Wilson as much as it was the Seattle D and Richard Sherman.

So, this year the Chiefs, and now emerging Raiders defensive squads are really fun for me to track.

I think a lot of this is rooted in the pleasure I get in fantasy rebuilding in keeper leagues, for I get as much enjoyment watching pro teams go through the same process.

Still, since I am too lazy to load all my fantasy stuff on my iPhone—and since my now seriously outdated iPhone 4 only has 16 MB of storage anyway—I have to track the bottom line of whatever game the bartender at the airport choses to try and glean exactly how my players are doing.

Then comes takeoff, where for the most part our devices are either still not usable per the FAA (though shortly), or where I simply don’t care to pay for internet time for a two-hour flight.

That meant when I left the ground at a little after three yesterday, the Raiders were down to the Eagles 21-10. It further meant I missed the next four Nick Foles TD passes, which I think turned out to be a good thing since all those points went unanswered till the end of the contest.

Sometimes, after all, the universe has to save us from ourselves.

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