I've got the Fantasy Baseball blues

By Chris Ruddick
MLB Editor

Chris Ruddick Logo Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Since nothing is striking my fancy this week in the world of Major League Baseball, I've decided to write about the only thing that has been bothering me in the past couple of weeks as it relates to our national pastime and that is my pathetic fantasy baseball team.

After years of doing a fantasy baseball league with some friends here at the Sports Network I decided to stray off into a keeper league that another friend of mine from work has been in for years with some friends of his from high school.

I have always wanted to join a keeper league, which lets you keep a certain amount of players from year to year, but have never been in one. So when my co- worker told me there was an opening in his league I jumped at the chance to join, despite its steep fees.

A quick run down of the rules in our league. It is a basic 5X5 head-to-head league that counts average, home runs, RBI, runs and stolen bases on the offensive side with wins, saves, strikeouts, WHIP and ERA counting for the pitchers.

Offensively my team looks pretty good, except for the third week of the season when my team managed a whopping three home runs and 24 RBI - both record league lows by the way.

I have the currently injured Jorge Posada behind the plate with my top pick, Mark Teixeira, Scott Rolen and Garret Atkins manning the first base, third base and corner infield positions, respectively.

At second is Tadahito Iguchi with Edgar Renteria at short and Khalil Greene occupies my middle infielder spot. In the outfield, where I start five players, are J.D. Drew, Johnny Damon, Carlos Beltran, Vernon Wells and either Cliff Floyd, Coco Crisp, Aaron Rowand or Josh Willingham. Lyle Overbay is also in the mix as a utility player.

Now here is what is causing me to lose sleep at night - this combined with a screaming nine-month old who is teething - and that is my abysmal pitching staff.

No complaints about my top arm, Roy Halladay, but he is followed by underachievers Barry Zito, Andy Pettitte, Cliff Lee, Jon Lieber and Kerry Wood. Mike Maroth is also on the roster, but he is currently on the disabled list after a stellar one-third of an inning effort against the hapless Royals this past week.

Mariano Rivera and Brian Fuentes are my closers with middle relievers Kyle Farnsworth and Brandon McCarthy active as well.

So how am I doing you ask? Well as I write this I am about to lose 9-1 this week to a team named the Cheese Wizards, which will drop me to 29-43 and comfortably out of playoff position.

I look at my team, though, and wonder how am I not dominating this league? Am I crazy? Shouldn't I be doing better? But then again I am also the same person who believes the New York Jets will win every week regardless of who they are playing. So you have to take into consideration that I might be looking at my team through rose-colored glasses.

As most teams do I made a trade early on that I thought would help. I dealt slugger Travis Hafner along with Bobby Jenks for Atkins, Wells and Willingham. It was considered a good trade by everyone in the league, but it has not helped at all. In fact my team has been worse since the deal.

This is really bothering me that my team has been so bad. I am 30 years old with a wife and a baby at home. I should be over this kind of thing by now, but I am not. It is eating me alive.

Sam Walker wrote a great book titled Fantasyland that chronicled his rotisserie team's actions over a year and how it overtook his life. He, though, traveled and actually got to meet most of the players on his team.

It would be interesting to see what I would say to Pettitte if I ever met him. He was always a favorite of mine when he was with the Yankees, but the only thing that crosses my mind when I think of him now is a 5.76 ERA and 1.63 WHIP.

I know as soon as I let him go he is going to get hot, but can I afford to wait that long on him? Supposedly Pettitte's boyfriend, I mean best friend, Roger Clemens, is coming back soon so maybe he will straighten him out.

I am open to suggestions. What does my team need? Who should I deal? I need some other viewpoints, because like I said before I think my team is great.

Help me out and help save the season for The Cajun Hotsticks before it is too late.

Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Chris Ruddick at cruddick@sportsnetwork.com.
Chris Ruddick
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