The title of this is nothing to do with any of my dreams, before anybody gets remotely excited. No, I’m talking about sports. Baseball, NFL, Premiership – anything that has the fantasy sports effect.

What is this effect? It’s the wrenching, tearing feeling you have in your gut as a sports fan of a specific team, when you’re forced to either pick a player from a hated team, or root for a player against your own team. Why would you do this? Because all’s fair in love and fantasy sports! For an example, my fantasy baseball team. I run a team – The Bongonian Conspiracy – in a Yahoo league. It’s safe to say, I like baseball. A lot. My team? Well… for my sins, I’m a Houston Astros fan.

I’ll just wait a couple of moments for you all to stop laughing, and pick yourself up off the floor.

Are we all back? Good. As an Astros fan, in real life, I know my team for the most part, is guff. Sure, there’s Lance Berkman, and Roy Oswalt that are legitimate fantasy picks… but nobody else. In my draft, Berkman was gone before I could get him. In any case, I’d gone for Ryan Howard and Derrek Lee as my first basemen, but that’s beside the point. The point is – as an Astro fan – would I pick anyone else from MY team to fill out my fantasy draft?

I let emotion get the better of me, and drafted Roy Oswalt. A few days later, I picked up Matt Lindstrom to boost my relievers. If I’d been using my head, I probably wouldn’t have gone anywhere near them. Oswalt’s best days are behind him now, surely… but you know what? He’s still an Astro. And I just HAD to have an Astro on my team. As it stands, he’s a fair-to-middling player on my roster; not someone that needs to be dropped, but not someone who is marked as a “must keep” either.

Also, I despise the Yankees. I really do. I don’t like their win at all cost mantra, their disregard for fiscal stability, the fact that if you see baseball items in sports shops here in the UK, It’s generally only filthy Yankee stuff! THERE ARE OTHER TEAMS!!! In previous years, I’d opted for a No-Yankee draft policy. This year, I wavered… and I wavered so more… and I cracked. I drafted Mariano Rivera. I now want the Yankees to win, but close enough for Rivera to take the save. I feel dirty just saying it. I need a bath…

You can see now “The Fantasy Effect” on watching your sports. Many’s the time I’ve been watching a non-descript Wigan game and cheered like crazy for a goal, because Charles N’Zogbia drove (arf) down the wing and crossed for Hugo Rodallega to score. Guess why? That’s right, they’re on my fantasy Premiership team.

Fantasy sports have grabbed the interest of the armchair fan, and made every stat suddenly important. You judge a player’s worth by what he can do for your team, not by how well he plays. A player can have a really strong at bat, lasting for ages and testing the pitcher in a classic duel… but because he doesn’t get a hit, it’s a bad at bat for your fantasy team. The Fantasy Effect is a great thing to get people involved in a sport, to get them investing in a set of players and results… bit as a fan, it can cut you to the bone.

Now let’s go Oswalt, let’s go *clap clap*

Advertisements