Wednesday, January 31, 2007

JB's Offseason Report: Because Basketball Doesn't Count

With KFSers all over the nation trudging through the fantasy sports sewage pipeline known as January through March, it is not uncommon for one to lose the drive to care about our collective addiction. But fear not, because Yahoo! Fantasy Baseball signups are just days away. With that in mind, it's time to take a look at the off-season headlines from around the league:

Another year has passed and another expansion must be made to the "Championship Wing" of the Gallup Estate. The Pimps of Worcester captured their third baseball championship and proved yet again that it is NOT impossible to win with Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, and Gay-Rod... and Jose Reyes and Justin Morneau... and Vernon Wells... and Roy Oswalt and Frankie Rodriguez. The KFS Ownership Committe has submitted a new challenge to the Pimps in 2007: "We bet you can't lose! Prove us wrong!"

Unlike fellow 2006 KFS champs, the Denver Shalhoubs, the Pimps did not spend their championship off-season in Thai whorehouses getting fat, old, and decrepit. Instead, Owner Rich Gallup kept his players on a strict diet of Sprite, ice cream sandwiches, and video games. "It's an in-house regimen that we came up with. It seems to work pretty well," Gallup said after years of keeping the tactics in secrecy, "it's really no secret. It's just common sense. Sprite-plus-ice cream sandwiches-plus-video games-equals-dynasty. How hard is that?"

Life is pretty easy for the fans of The Pimps, as they are once again the favorites to win The Package Series going away. They are assured a healthy stable of keepers and the upcoming draft poses little threat to Gallup. "I figure, even if I shit the bed at the draft, I'm pretty sure I'll be able to fleece Frieds on a couple of trades."

Projected Keepers: Albert Pujols, David Ortiz, Alex Rodriguez, Justin Morneau, Roy Oswalt.

Quietly being referred to as "Team Bridesmaid" in some circles around the league, the Baltimore Devil Jays finished another season with an unsuccessful playoff run. As disappointed as they were, the owners of the team were not completely unhappy with their team's performance. "We kind of stumbled into the playoffs (10-17 in the final three weeks), but we were still able to dash Adler's hopes of winning a championship," a team spokesbot said, "I think any owner in the league would be happy with that. The rest is gravy."

The Devil Jays are notoriously strong at the draft and always seem to put together a solid team. After landing Grady Sizemore in the first round of the 2006 draft, the Jays are more than likely to cut ties with slugger Richie Sexson who has struggled to live up to expectations since joining the squad. The addition of Sizemore and Johan Santana, coupled with returning stars Chris Carpenter, Adam Dunn, and Michael Young give the Jays a great foundation for 2007.

"This year we're setting our sights a little higher," the robot said, "This year, we want to finish with at least 110 wins. Of course, we'll probably lose in The Series to Woosta again, but everyone in the league is prepared for that at this point."

Projected Keepers: Grady Sizemore, Johan Santana, Chris Carpenter, Adam Dunn, Michael Young.

Poor Adler. Maybe for the first time in his fantasy career, he had everything going for him. His team was 43-20 after the All-Star break. He managed to get Phillies slugger Ryan Howard away from Baltimore. He had a 13 point advantage over said Devil Jays going into the playoffs. He had Lance Berkman and Lyle Overbay ON THE SAME TEAM! Alas, the Tiger Army was not able to get the job done when it mattered and Adler spent most the off-season thumbing through Baseball America looking for future #1 draft picks.

Still, the future is bright for Los Tigres. With an impressive list of eligible returning players, Adler has some decisions to make as to who he wants to see drafted by another team in the first round on draft day. There is a possibility that multiple former Soldiers will be selected by lower seeded teams before Adler gets his first selection. When alerted to this fact at the KFS Winter Meetings, an enraged Adler sprung from his seat, screamed, "You'd better not draft my fuckin' team... cock boy!" and stormed out the room.

It has been a love/hate relationship between Adler and KFS baseball in general, and for the sake of Adler and all those who know him, one can only hope it does not continue in 2007.

Projected Keepers: Lance Berkman, Ryan Howard, Carlos Beltran, Manny Ramirez, Carlos Zambrano.

As in years past, the 2006 slogan for Speedway was "Baby 'Wipes." But Ryan Friedman's squad showed they were anything but rugrats. The Wipes tallied 110 wins and ended the year with an impressive list of 20-somethings on their roster, led by Chase Utley and Miguel Cabrera who led their respective positions in scoring.

Frieds' squad took great strides in 2006 and appears well on its way to competing for the first championship in Wipes franchise history. "Every year there are a couple of speed bumps," Friedman said, "but I feel that if we can rally together, and keep from running out of gas, we should be able to cross the finish line and win the cup. CARS."

While a master of the English language and witty witticisms, Frieds has yet to come up with the proper formula for winning a KFS baseball title. 2007 should provide him with perhaps the strongest list of keepers he's ever had. Mix in some quality pitching, the aversion to the yearly questionable trade, and a little luck, and it would be n'an surprise to see the Wipes in the playoffs yet again.

Projected Keepers: Chase Utley, Miguel Cabrera, Roy Halladay, Matt Holliday, Jake Peavy.

Don't look now, but Bob Colayco's team is about to squat on the rest of the league. Now that someone actually cares about this once beleaguered franchise, the fans in Chavez actually have more to look forward to than the annual 1st or 2nd pick in the draft. After years of frustration and an countless number of trade proposals for Alfonso Soriano, Colaycoz Boyz are a hardened group of vets who pretend to never have heard of Mike Keyes.

The 2007 Squatters will feature three of the scariest sluggers in the game in Travis Hafner, Jim Thome, and Soriano. After Woosta, there might not be a greater offensive 1-2-3 punch in the league. Mix in Paul Konerko and David Wright, and who needs pitching?! This team led the league in HRs and RBI last season. But the Squatters have a decent list of hurlers to choose from as well, including Brandon Webb, Dontrelle Willis, and Rich Harden.

A candid Colayco spoke with the media during the winter meetings. "Basically, my strategy going into the draft will be to cut the guys I know I can sucker Adler and Frieds into drafting, thereby decreasing the value of their teams, and increasing the probability that I will get a quality player in the first round." That shit's so crazy... it just might work.

Projected Keepers: Alfonso Soriano, Travis Hafner, David Wright, Brandon Webb, Paul Konerko.

Leafing through the lists of high scorers for 2006 makes one appreciate just how epically bad of a season it was for Mile High and New Haven that Marshall Street finished ahead of them. Like the Mackerel and the T-Cones, there were very few bright spots for the Menace in 2006.

"I have no idea who the hell I'm going to keep," Owner Jon Watterson lamented, "Mauer is in. After that, maybe we'll have a spelling contest or something to figure it all out."

After years of dominating the Keene baseball circuit on juggernauts such as Bergeron Construction and Massielo, Watterson is finding it hard to adjust to the mediocrity of his KFS team. "I'm trying not to adjust to it," he said, "because it's unacceptable. This team used to scare people, it used to be elite. Our goal is to get back to that level sooner rather than later."

Mauer is a good start. Even if he is used as a means to acquire more talent, he will prove to be an asset for Watterson. Jason Giambi, Troy Glaus, and Barry Bonds are just a few big names with health concerns that he will have to decide on keeping before the draft. J-Dub definitely has experience and a competitive spirit on his side, but there isn't a lot of dependable talent to work with going into 2007.

Projected Keepers: Joe Mauer, Troy Glaus, Derek Jeter, Ben Sheets, Jason Giambi.

Few teams around the league had a more frustrating season than the Mackerel. From the failed keepers, to the draft, to the bitter end of the season, many Mile High faithful were left shaking their heads in a combination of shame, disgust, and amazement. Things actually started to go wrong for the Mackerel in October of 2005 when Brad Lidge lost his ability to pitch after giving up a playoff-game-winning 847 foot home run to Albert Pujols. The only thing Lidge did well in 2006 was mask his newly acquired weakness to assure his keeper status on the Makerel roster before the draft.

Lidge's colossal woes also hid the struggles of other key Mackerel keepers Miguel Tejada, Derrek Lee, Vladimir Guerrero, and Bobby Abreu... yes, those were all five of Mile High's keepers. "Draft Bust Bart" Colon flat out sucked and was a microcosm of the entire draft for the Mackerel. Other draft lowlights included Livan Hernandez and Brad Wilkerson.

Team owner Jon Bielecki has spent much of the winter with his hands over his ears shouting "LA-LA-LA-LA" in fears that sometime soon he will be forced to make more big decisions about who will comprise the 2007 squad. If the Mackerel have anything going their way it's that they should be able to expect a healthy Derrek Lee, no Brad Lidge, and an early draft pick that will definitely not be the cancerous Bart Colon. Sorry Colón.

Projected Keepers: Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee, Bobby Abreu, Miguel Tejada (farewell tour?), Mariano Rivera.

Snow Birds in New Haven migrated south early this year with the success of their adopted AFL home team, the Palm Beach Squid. Attendance at Cones games hit an all-time low as owner Jeff Stanley's "Closers?! We Don't Need No Stinking Closers!" campaign flopped. The "You Must Be This Old To Make The Team" line in the locker room didn't go over very well either.

After many discussions with poker dealers, bookies, and cocktail waitresses, Stanley ultimately decided that the only thing he could do to fix the problem was to go to Vegas as many times as possible. That mission being accomplished, he was disappointed to find that his roster still did not contain anyone named Soriano, Pujols, or Ortiz.

The draft will be more important to Stanley's T-Cones than any other team this year, as virtually the entire roster must be overhauled. "I'm tired of this crap," Stanley said, "if I don't win it all this year, I'm going to start a new league. And I'm taking Adler with me. We shall be known as the LOTWHNWA, which is short for the League Of Teams Who Have Never Won Anything." Unfortunately for him and the way things are shaping up, the LOTWHNWA might be the only chance for the T-Cones and Tiger Army.

Projected Keepers: Aramis Ramirez, Jermaine Dye, Ichiro... ummm... Carlos Delgado... and... uhhh... Adam LaRoche? Gross.