Chapter list for Fanhood

  1. Evolution of a fan: Part 1
  2. Evolution of a fan, part 2
  3. Evolution of a fan, part 3
Evolution of a fan, part 3
Narrowing the focus

This is the final installment in a three part series.

In the past decade, the majority of my sports focus has been on baseball. I had lost interest in the NBA in the 90s. I am still a fan of the NFL and college football and basketball, but my interest has cooled over the years and is now truly seasonal. On the other hand, baseball has slowly become a year-round sport for me. There really is no off-season. The November – March timeframe is packed with all sorts of activity – winterball, free agency, salary arbitration, and spring training, to name a few.

My first major step in this direction was joining – and winning – my first fantasy baseball league in 1998. I was 23 at the time, so I was a bit of a late starter. The fantasy league opened my eyes to the other 29 teams in the league, and I became a fan of the sport, instead of merely a fan of certain teams and players.

I still play fantasy baseball. However, neither of my leagues has a traditional format. My pride and joy is my own creation – a league in which a team cannot start two players whose last names begin with the same letter of the alphabet (for example Alex Rodriguez and Manny Ramirez). This completely changes the values of players. The other league is a keeper league where we carry forward the entire roster from one year to the next. At the outset, I drafted a team almost entirely of prospects. I had a horrible first year, since none my players had substantial at bats or innings. In year two (last year) I won the regular season title (although I did lose in the playoffs).

In addition to fantasy, I also play in a sim league. A friend of mine described this as a baseball version of Dungeons and Dragons. You draft and develop fake players. The league commish use the Mogul computer game as the main engine for the league, but has added a ton of custom features. There are 32 people spread across the US who manage teams in the league. Everyone has different draft, development, and trade preferences, resulting in a league that is a lot of fun and very unpredictable at times.

I read about baseball a lot, especially during the seasons. I have books related to the economics of baseball, the physics of baseball, and everything in between. A topic of particular interest to me recently is the ability to distinguish between talent and luck. It is possible to dissect a player’s statistics and theorize whether a player had a great year because his skills suddenly took a step forward, or if the performance was due more to good luck. I also read a lot of online content, and of course I subscribe to Sports Weekly.

2007 featured the greatest baseball moment of my fanhood, as my Colorado Rockies won 21 of 22 games and put themselves in their – and my – very first World Series. They game up short, but surely a World Series title is just around the corner.

At this point in my fanhood, I am ankle deep into most sports and neck deep into baseball. I’m not quite over my head – yet.

Update: After writing this, and before it was published, the baseball sim league became a casualty of my attempt to juggle too many things at once. Quite honestly, this blog has begun to drain quite a bit of my spare time, and I was forced to make a tough decision.

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Kosmo is the founder of The Soap Boxers and writes on a variety of topics. Many of his short stories have been collected into Kindle books.

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