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Friday 15th Dec 2017

I have a hard time thinking in terms of cheating.

It isn't that I don't like to win, and truly, within the rules, I will do whatever I can to do just that.

But, I think of my league mates as just that--my mates--and betraying a friend just seems out of the question to me.

More so, though I do indeed like to win, were I to cheat and finish on top, irrespective of the suspicions of the rest of the league, or even the fantasy world, I would always know I didn't really win, and that would make the victory so hollow it was more than worthless.

I am also a pretty trusting soul, and naive in the sense that I just assume everyone else on the planet thinks this as well, but I am not so lost in it that when I find myself in the midst of a cheater, I am surprised, and yet not so surprised at the same time.

A case in point is the Summer League of Champions (SLOC) that I was invited into this past off-season.

SLOC is a 30-team league that allows a throw-back every three years of all players.

At the time of the throwback, there is a 300-player draft that allows each owner to create a core roster of ten out of the Strat-O-Matic HOF League.

Those players remain constants over the three years, and then to fill out our lineups, the league selects a season (right now it is 1996) from which we then draft our remaining 25 players.

That means I get to have Pop Lloyd, Ed Walsh and Barry and Bobby Bonds on my roster, and it is a fun league, but it is also very tough.

That is because I am playing against a bunch of experienced Strat players, who also know their history.

But, one particular team had a home record of 51-2 before Commissioner Larry Denicola locked the league. Since Larry enforced the lock, the team was 10-6, yet they also had a record of 15-54 on the road in the SLOC this season.

And that suggests something fishy.

It also suggests, to me, someone who wants to get caught, as it would not have been that hard for the owner to win say 65% of his games instead of a gaudy 90% margin.

The owner in question is in a couple of other leagues, and his home record in all three this year is an astounding 193-20 (.903 PCT), and that number sort of hearkens thoughts of the "Superman" movie with Christopher Reeve, when he laments to Earth father Glenn Ford that if he played football he could get a touchdown every play.

To me, even that cannot be any fun, for as frustrating as it is to have the bases loaded in a tight Strat game, with no one out, and not be able to bring in a run, it is equally satisfying to get that single just when the game is on the line, scoring what turns the outcome of the game.

It seems to me, then, when cheating, you simply don't get to experience those highs and lows that modify life itself, making the whole affair something not to bother with, in my meager opinion.

In other words, I would rather lose 90% of the time for real than win 90% of the time by cheating.

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