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Tuesday 20th Feb 2018

Second guessing seems to be second nature for most of us.

And, it isn't like I cannot be decisive, although if I cannot decide between the grass fed beef strip steak or the fresh coho salmon until the waiter in the restaurant is standing over me, order pad in hand, tapping his pen waiting for me to choose. Although the good news is once I have placed my order, I rarely wish I had ordered something else.

Truth is when I was younger I did second guess almost everything I did. Which job I accepted, or whether it would have been smarter to throw in with this girl rather than that. 

When I started playing fantasy baseball, however, second guessing haunted me almost on a daily basis as it seemed no matter who I had on my squad, a player I had thought about drafting was hot.

In 2001, my first year in Tout Wars, I had picked up Raul Ibanez for my reserve list. As the season progressed, I made some trades and Ibanez' totals were not that strong, and the outfielder lost to the roster numbers game and went into the free agent pool.

Another owner (I think it was Jim Callis) snatched Ibanez up, and the Royal established himself as an everyday player with a .288-8-35 second half that still grates on my nerves. The stupid thing is I won that year, meaning I didn't need Ibanez or his homers or RBI, but the fact that I let that production go still sticks in my craw 15 years later.

At some point within my first years of playing fantasy ball, I did have this realization about doubting my choices in life, especially in the game I loved, so I made a decision: I could not second guess any aspect of my life except fantasy ball.

In reaching this internal accord, I did not think my internal doubt mechanism would lessen, let alone stop, but I did realize that as much as I cared about my teams, this was the one aspect of my life where it didn't matter if I questioned myself ex post facto.

However, as I yielded to my own indecision, I found it easier to stop my internal doubting Thomas for some reason, determining that at any given time I was making the best possible decision for my team at large, and not to worry about the details: it was the team and results, not necessarily this move or that move that brought success or failure.

This has all worked pretty well until I started playing daily games, where sticking to my guns has hit me in the parental context of "do what I say, not what I do."

Just yesterday, Lord Zola and I were discussing our daily rosters and he noted, "I screwed up tonight - last second got fancy - put in Finnegan, took out Zob and Bryant - making it worse is I was using Arrieta who's facing Finnegan."

Of course, I commiserated with Z, but then noted, "Once I pick, that is it. I try to forget it for every time I change my original lineup, I regret not trusting my initial plays and instincts." This was after the monster 16-0 no-no Thursday.

That held true for almost 12 hours this last instance, for yesterday afternoon I entered my Tout Wars and Beat the Expert rosters, going with Robinson Cano at second, Ryan Howard at first, and Matt Duffy at third.

When I select my lineup so much earlier than first pitch the following day, I do always go back in, check the weather, make sure starters--like Felix Hernandez who was slated to start Friday but fell to a bug and was scratched--are indeed slated to play.

Aside from that, I try to trust those first instincts as my inner voice usually knows much more clearly what to do than my conscious rational one. 

But, as I reviewed my roster, and the starting pitchers, I simply could not resist adjusting my roster, and swapping out Howard for Chris Davis (facing the Royals' very hittable Chris Young), putting the red-hot Josh Harrison (8-for-22, with six runs, five RBI, and three swipes this past week) against Patrick Corbin in Arizona, and then Nick Castellanos at third facing another hittable arm in Josh Tomlin.

So, I remade my bed as they say, and this is what I will die with barring any rainouts, but now I am second-guessing the dropping of Cano and Howard (not so much Duffy, but that means he will likely have the biggest day), and I am almost hoping my also ran selections have a bad game even if my guys do. 

But, I also have a healthy respect for karma, and throwing negative energy out into the universe is not something a Zen Master would advocate. (Neither is schadenfreude, for that matter.)

I guess the bottom line is that I might understand the balance of the universe, but when it comes to fantasy ball, winning is everything, right?

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