Monday, March 31, 2008

Lessons in Probability and Randomness (Courtesy of the Memphis Tigers)

Everyone knows that causation does not equal correlation - you didn't even have to get a B in Statistics for Engineers like yours truly to understand and utilize this particular truth (to be fair, it was a two-credit class that was easy like Emerson sororities, and I'm pretty sure I actually skipped class during a test). I deal with correlative stats on a daily basis, though, and even I learned an important lesson while participating in perfectly legal NCAA pools this year: know the difference between "indicative" and "predictive" and how to apply correlations to sports wagering.

I found myself in an interesting quandary while filling out my brackets for this season's NCAA tournament - in every one, no matter how I did the analysis (and I did them in a variety of ways, from using basic stats to using advanced metrics to using who has the hottest cheerleaders), everything pointed toward one conclusion: the four #1 seeds in the Final Four.

This was a problem, because everyone knows that the four #1 seeds have never been in the Final Four prior to this year. Because it is such common knowledge, it's become a mantra at this point (just like picking a 12-seed over a 5 in the first round) - you never take the four #1 seeds into the Final Four, because it's never happened before. I know this happens because, even though I am basically a rational, stats-minded, in-depth gambler, I intentionally changed my bracket picks to exclude a #1 seed in this tournament (generally Texas over Memphis, although in one bracket I tried to expose a perceived inefficiency by taking Louisville over UNC - puke).

I'm not being results-oriented in claiming this was Corky Thatcher-level retarded, although that may be what it seems at this point - there is simply no viable reason for excluding the possibility of all four #1 seeds in the Final Four. Let's go through the perception, and see the issues.

First, there is really no way to support any assertions that the NCAA Tournament Selection Committee shows any real inefficiencies in selecting the field, or more specifically the top 4 teams to become the #1 seeds in any given tournament. At every point in the tournament, the lower seed shows a higher winning percentage over lower seeds, from the first round on - all data shows that the selection committee, as a whole, gets it right.

But wouldn't that mean it would be incredibly unlikely to go this long without all four #1 seeds reaching the Final Four? To be blunt, no - it's not that unlikely, really. Given the modern 6-round structure of the tournament, even if a given #1 seed were a 3:1 favorite over every team it played (which seems like a fairly impossible situation), that team would only have a 23.7% chance to reach the Final Four - or approximately 1:4 chance. The variance is huge in a single-elimination structure.

That's really what the problem becomes, then - the fact that the Final Four had not been comprised of solely #1 seeds in the past should not be used as predictive - rather, it is simply indicative of the high variance involved in the tournament itself. This means you should recognize that even the better team will often lose over the course of a given six-game, high-pressure stretch, and that the tournament only gives the best team over that stretch, not over the course of the season. This is not an obtuse lesson, by the way - you can actually guide your selections using this information.

For example, Louisville was underrated by most predictions and most analysis systems because Padgett was hurt for approximately the first third of the season - Loiusville's true talent level was closer to their stats over the last half of the season, which showed them to be closer to the level of Texas than that of Pitt or Xavier. Wisconsin was underrated by most - their pace numbers and stifling defense play a low-variance game, one that is a.) well suited to tournament play and b.) subject to being derailed by a hot-shooting team. Wisconsin's matchup against Davidson was thusly terrible, while they should likely have been picked over Georgetown - that's the kind of brief analysis that can lead to much better tourney results.

At the end of the day, I shaped my Final Four picks around some flawed assumptions - namely, that I "had to" leave a #1 seed out, even when everything told me that Memphis was simply the best team in that bracket, and that they matched up well with both Texas and Stanford. Had I not, I would be in slightly better shape in my pools.

However, all is not lost - if Kansas wins, I win two pools outright (one a winner-take-all pool of the degenerates from the big opening-weekend bacchanalia) and finish either first or second in the last pool, with first place coming if the final is KU over UCLA. Why the reliance on Kansas? Well, according to some stats, KU was the best team in the nation and had the highest probability of winning each of its six games (thus, the highest EV) . . . according to others, this was not the best pick. UNC was going to benefit too much from its status as the #1 overall team in the nation, as they become a "trendy" pick among people scared of screwing up their pools and losing to people who "know more" (these fears are primarily unfounded, by the way), so I felt like there just wasn't the value in picking UNC that KU carried.

It turns out I was right - of the biggest/highest-payout pools I'm in, I'm the highest ranked player picking KU in all of them, and the champion-heavy scoring used by CBS and Yahoo! means that I'll win, even from 5th or 7th place, should KU pull it out. Now, this is definitely a flaw, but one I'm more than happy to exploit. However, I would have put a little more space between me and them had I stuck to both my gut and the stats, and stayed on with all four #1 seeds. Lesson learned.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Evan, Salty and the Business of Baseball

Often, fantasy baseball and actual, real-life Major League Baseball run antithetical to each other in key (some would say foundational) ways - a simple example would be the role of defense, which is non-existent in most rational fantasy leagues, but can have a serious effect on a player's value (see: Braun, Ryan or Jeter, Derek) to a real-life team.

One of the often-ignored elements of baseball, from a media/fan perspective, is the business side of the game and its effects on the baseball operations side of things. Now, people like Maury Brown do a great job of breaking down the actual economics of the game beyond the playing field - that's not entirely the scope of our discussion here. However, the economic side plays a strong role in on-field strategy when it comes to the marginal cost of player retention, arbitrage opportunities, and projecting the economic landscape of MLB years down the road.

Us fantasy GMs carry only a small fraction of this responsibility, mostly related to keeper leagues or auction leagues, where projecting future performance versus your own likelihood of success this season can influence trades and player acquisitions. However, the real-world economics of baseball can have Chernobyl-level disastrous effects on fantasy teams if idiots like me are unaware.

One great example comes in Evan Longoria (sub req), the Rays' superprospect that BP projects to put up a .267/.339/.460 line with 25 HRs should he start at 3B for Tampa Bay's version of the Travolta sudden resurgence from the abyss. Just for comparison's sake, that .799 OPS would be slightly better than the 2007 numbers posted by stalwarts like Ryan Zimmerman and Casey Blake, and in the ballpark of Adrian Beltre and Chone Figgins. At age 22.

This would be a pretty sound upgrade for the Rays, who could then move Aki Iwamura to 2B, and count on a year's worth of improvement in their pitching staff and OF to drive them toward (if not above) .500. However, Evan Longoria will not be starting the season on my fantasy bench - he'll be starting it in Durham, playing AAA, the same place he tossed up a .900 OPS as a 21 year old last year (caveat: <200 PAs).

This is a great move for the Rays, as Longoria's service clock will not start, and the Rays can still call him in up in June and get ~400 ABs from their 3B of the future while likely hovering around the fringes of the Wild Card race. The Devil Rays will effectively gain an extra year of arbitration control, going through his age-29 year instead of 28.

Jared Saltalamacchia finds himself in a similar position - he's projected by PECOTA for a decent .269/.337/.446 line at age 23, which would fall right between the 2007 marks by Brian McCann and Jason Varitek. This would also top Gerald Laird's career line by over 100 points of OPS. However, Salty also found his way off my starting lineup, and onto a bus heading for Oklahoma City. This was under the guise of "catching every day" - but given the lack of information we have over catchers' defense, this is most likely a way of gaining an extra year of service time as well.

To be honest, these moves make perfect sense - an extra year later is much more important than the MLB-level development time now, as the next two years will not result in the next (first?) great Rays or Rangers teams. However, these two players, by virtue of being the best available option for these teams, made it well up my draft board and represented a good chance for me to make ground late in the double-digit rounds.

However, this arbitrage comes with risk (weird, huh) - the risk that the teams will actually do the right thing, and not put the best squad on the field every day. Unfortunately, teams are getting smarter (exception: Gordon, Alex) - and risks are getting bigger. This is how you wind up starting Mike Napoli behind the plate - and it's not a good feeling. Not good at all.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Pure Madness, Like "Our House" or Maybe "One Step Beyond"

10:26 pm

So it's now officially a nightmare - just dead bodies everywhere. Troy's down, Jared's GONE, and life is easy.

Tony's fiance is wearing a t-shirt that says "Tri-City" on it - she explains it with "well, there were three cities in my area."

Tony notes, "What if there were two cities? Then it would be 'Bi-city' - which is awesome."

Also I added ND at -7, and JJ and TB took just about the full gamut of terrible o/u bets (UCLA over 126, Wisconsin under 136) . . .

7:15 pm

A little background: in the wayback, Brent and I both took time out of our busy schedules of not sufficiently pleasuring our significant others to dog sit for Tony and his fiance. Brent took Friday, and I took Saturday.

I had an uneventful Saturday - I drank beers with some friends, made it back to take care of the dog, fell asleep in the guest room . . . the dog, who is roughly Cujo crossed with the Indian from the Village People, can't be away from people or it shits/pisses everywhere. So, as a result, it slept across my body - it was borderline sweet, or maybe weird, I don't really know. Either way, it wasn't a problem in the slightest.

The next day, Brent called me and this conversation happened (verbatim):

B: "Hey . . . was the dog weird last night?"
R: "Well, he was a little forward - he slept with me."
B: "(sigh) Oh awesome - he was super odd with me, he was all over me."
R: "Uh, I was kidding - he just slept at the foot of the bed, what the fuck?"
B: "Oh - uh, well, I woke up with the dog spooning me. Like, he was behind me, with one paw over my body, caressing me. We were spooning."

Obviously this was the funniest thing I've ever seen - anyway, the dog just went apeshit toward Michael Beasley (RACIST OBV), and Brent laughed kind of uncomfortably, resulting in this comment:

Brent: "You don't know what it's like to make a walk of shame after the dog."

Also he's a fucking mess - he's a puddle like the Wicked Witch of the West. He'll be Rumplestiltsken within the half-hour. Just unreal.

KState looks great even with Beasley in foul trouble, A&M is just puking all over itself, and WSU makes me want to abuse my pets - what an awkward evening. Tony's in full-on "press" mode - every bet is for the roll (obv a reload later).

By the way - Tony just got a little live with Brent, telling him the reason A&M isn't ahead is because the Mormons "put the orange thing in the hoop."

Well, Brent replied with "I put my little red thing in your mom's vagina over and over again, and I never won anything."

It's going to be like that, apparently.

3:56 pm

Well, Baylor can die in a fire - my plan of "fade the Big Ten" is running hot like Hindenburg. The moral? Lots of variance in sports betting. On the bright side, I accosted Tony (in the mouth, obv) in the UNLV game, and I'm approximately even on the day (minus juice, so like -$3 on the day).

Except for I'm down $20 to Brent on a sick prop bet, where I thought the black kid in the Subway "CONGRATS FOR 10 YEARS OF NOT DYING, JARED!" commercial was actually a midget (specifically, Gary Coleman) - apparently, it's just a kid. Easy mistake to make, really.

So there's that - I'll keep you updated when the bloodbath ends. Tony just tilted off his case money, taking Stanford at -15 in a desperate attempt to actually win a game. Clearly, stay away from Stanford tonight - basically, the Lopez brothers are effectively covered in AIDS.

Also, I think I'm on beer 9, and I'm leaning like a V8 commercial. I can only imagine bad things happening from this point - right now, I'm Bobby Hurley getting drafted by the Kings. An hour from now, I'll be Car Accident Bob Hurley. Which is nice.

2:42 pm

Troy might have to head home for a minute to "help pump" for his newborn - I have no idea what that even means. This started a conversation between the new dads about pumping . . . which is just great, really. It's not that it's gross, as much as I just can't imagine these two kids having children. I'm already composing an affidavit for Child Services.

Tony asked JC if he'd ever just wanted to try it himself, and if he would help pump. JC noted that wouldn't work, because "she gets milk, I would just get blood."

After a stunned silence where all eyes were on him, he asked, "wait, did you mean pumping my boob?"

Uh, no.

PS - Marquette is struggling and looking every bit as up-and-down and awkward as they have all season (JC looks like he's going to choke himself to death), Baylor is raping my face, but I've reset on the bright side UNLV is making me look like a genius. Thanks for the free money,!

Additionally, Tom Crean looks exactly like Dwight Schrute. This has caused an uproar of jokes, including:

-"Tom, did the other guys put all your shit in Jello molds?"
-"Coach Crean, let's form an alliance against downsizing!"
-"Ousman, which is the most dangerous bear? FALSE - Black Bear."
-"Ape and I are heading to Coach Crean's bed and breakfast this weekend . . . "

1:50 pm

Quick re-post - Brent bought McDonald's for everyone for breakfast, which is amazing because a.) he weighs 135 lbs. at 5'10" but eats garbage all day and b.) it's not Tasty Tacos, and the guy eats Tasty's like it's covered in oxycontin. Seriously, it's impressive, but in that kind of awkward-impressive way, like fake boobs or being really good at Guitar Hero.

Anyway, Brent ate approximately 50% of a steak burrito before he hit an "onion pocket" - no joke there, just follow with me - and he's been trying to pass that off on someone else since 9:45. Well, Troy, who is lovingly known as the "trashcan with legs," not only just ate it, but ate it without microwaving it.

I think he'll probably get trichinosis and die - yes, I know that's from pork. I'm pretty sure McD's steak is like 30% pork, and if it's not, well . . . Troy's got worms.

1:40 pm

WOW - What an early session . . . TB and I both took a bath on Temple at +7, who couldn't actually guard MSU's big guys in the slightest, but Xavier pulled the MIRACLE COMEBACK for the most insane cover in history.

So I split, losing the juice - the sportsbook wins again. Weird, they're good at what they do.

TB and I are playing on the same Bodog account, and wanted opposite action on UNLV/Kent State - so now the wager is on, with me taking UNLV +2.5 (so add that to the issue).

Troy showed up - he's a monster, who managed to take his Mike's Hard Lemonade starter beer and chug it in 13 seconds. Justin noted, "it took me 3 hours to drink 4 beers - you're on three in less than 5 minutes." It's the truth - Troy just had a kid too so shit will hit the fan.

JC is a Marquette fan (he's an alum, although we've never seen his actual diploma, so who knows) which means we're all painting ourselves Kentucky Blue and raping our cousins. In honor of Kentucky and Rick Pitino, I picked Louisville to go to the Final Four in a few pools, plus I'm slicking my hair back and planning on sucking like Ashley Alexandra Dupre at my next job. Also I might have intercourse with an animal - I think that's Kentucky, but also, y'know . . . Penthouse Letters.

Dan just arrived too - he has to blow into his steering wheel before he can drive. This is pretty rad - he constantly makes "wanna get some fucking . . . FRENCH TOAST" jokes, so at least he has a good sense of humor about his willingness to put his own life and the lives of others in danger. He's degen like rheumatoid arthritis, which is fantastic. Just a good dude, minus the "blow-n-go" thing.

JC just yelled, "GO UP STRONG WHITE BOY . . . YES! YES!"

Ever see a grown man cry? Here comes . . . he just claimed he "only" pouted for 6 hours last year after Marquette lost. It was more like 26 hours. He might rape a kid if this gets any worse - he's an only child. Clearly.


And it has begun - Zima does not, in fact, actually exist any more, which was a surprise to not only me, but also the gruff old fuck I asked at the Last Stop Liquors next to the Iowa State Fairgrounds. Just so you know, it's probably kind of racist that we decided to look there. My bad. He didn't even say no, he just shook his head in a kind of sad, downtrodden, confused, "wanted to stab us" way.

So the initiation beer is now . . . "reach into a box and pull out a rando Mike's from the pick-a-mix collection of shit beers." I just finished a Mike's Cranberry - it can officially touch me where I pee.

The Xavier pick looks fucking awful - down 6 with 6:06 left in the first half. Minus one unit, apparently - however, Temple looks solid on MSU, playing some solid D. They really need to stay out of foul trouble, however.

All three games are up on the TVs just fine - we had one issue, where JC decided to follow DirecTV's instructions to "press RED button to find out more!" about AXE deodorant and the TV was locked on a fucking commercial for about a half an hour. It took the DirecTV manual, the Internet, and a little luck to get it un-stuck. His explanation? There was a chick wearing a towel on the side of the screen. Weird, married guy - who would have thought?

The lineup:
Me: Retarded.
Brent: Angry at the world, and pro-all things Missouri Valley. This is why people don't care about the Midwestern states. Just got pissed about a UPS commercial, because "everybody delivers to Portland."
Tony: Basement will soon have poop on the walls, thanks to this group of orangutans. Probably as nerdy as me, but much better at basketball.
JC: Just had a baby, so his drinking regimen has declined profusely. He likes to get naked and hide in his pantry.
Jared: Degenerate. Wearing tear-away pants. He's drinking out of a mug shaped like a ceramic boob. Like, you drink out of the nipple.

So there's that.


So yeah - I just made a reference to two different '80s ska songs, which means today is going to be a looooooooong day. I'm sitting at my desk finishing up recommendations for a $30 million lawsuit, then I'm going to head to a semi-finished basement and yell, drink, gamble and just generally appear to be a nightmare. Meanwhile, updates will be posted here - what a country!

Last year's shitshow is up for all to see - so we're going to try it again. Why not? We've got four TVs set up ranging from wall-projector huge to airport-terminal tiny, with theater-style seating for somewhere between 8 and 25 and two Wiis set up for when UNC is inevitably the only game running at the dinner break and they're already up by 29.

My Thursday action so far:

-Xavier -8.5
-Temple +7
-Baylor +3
-KState +3.5
-WSU -9

So the countdown begins - not the countdown to the games, mind you, but the countdown to the beginning of the party. This year's initiation: your first drink has to be a warm Zima. I didn't even know they sold Zima anymore - I figured these guys were the last official Zima drinkers. Apparently I'm about to be proven wrong.

I hope it goes well with McGriddles, because G-d damn it, that's what it's getting.

Here's the track of the day to get you started:
Cheeseburger - Tiger

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

NCAA Tourney Starts Tomorrow

Yeah, so the tournament starts tomorrow and everyone you know has suddenly started asking your opinion on BYU (my thoughts? Mormons are dead inside). Personally, I know less than nothing about college basketball. My bracket is usually just random tidbits I pulled from other sites and my own stupid thoughts such as:

-I picked St. Joes and St. Marys to upset because Easter is this weekend and Jesus has a lot running on this shit.

-I picked Duke to lose to Arizona because....well..Fuck Duke in the ear.

- I picked Xaiver to go to the Elite Eight because X's are cool man, just ask Bender.

- Finally, I picked UCLA to win it all because..... I start drinking at work early? I really have no answer. Call it random idiocy.

So there you have it, I'm no better than that annoying secretary in your office. I think RC is going to be live blogging tomorrow with a little more insight than I can provide. I will be watching from my office and yelling nonsensical gibberish at the screen about missing free throws.

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bear Stearns Shits Bed; Lehman says "That Looks Like Fun"

I'm proud to say that I personally helped Bear Stearns into collapse like a nurse easing an old man into a bath. Seeing as my firm is a rather large client of Bear, we def. pulled a 1870's style run on the bank. Which was fun, even if it did lack old timey music and occasional gunfire.

The fallout of all of this is that Bear isn't the last that is going to shit the bed, and as the Fed tries to prop up our economy, the dollar is going to be worth less than whore diamonds on the Emperor Club website. This is going to get a whole lot worse before it gets better. I hope everyone enjoys bread lines and hobo sticks.

Meanwhile, JPMorgan bent Bear over a table by buying it at 2 dollars a share (which is insane in itself as the building is worth at least 1.3 billion) and leaves us with this amazing picture from the news this morning:
Seeing that as you walk in the door to your soon to be non existent job has to be a fucking punch in the balls. Especially if you just lost half you net worth. Ain't America grand?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Fantasy Draft Hangover

So we had our fantasy draft last night, and while I won't go into strategy too much (30 Helens Agree creator Mitch Kayak is another member of said league), I have to say that my draft was ok, but not as good as I would have hoped. This was the first year where I've had the #1 pick in any draft, which was a nice surprise. However, this is also the first year where I don't have a premium shortstop, which makes me a bit nervous. I reached quite a bit on Upton, which I realized almost immediately, but his eligibility at both second and in center will be helpful, and I was nervous as to the quality drop-off in second basemen after him. Gallardo is hurt, but I thought his potential value could outweigh any issues at the beginning of the season.

Overall, I should be good for stolen bases, home runs and RBI, while batting average could be an issue. Not my best draft, but hopefully good enough to win the league.

(1) Álex Rodríguez
(20) B.J. Upton
(21) Carlos Beltrán
(40) Erik Bedard
(41) Travis Hafner
(60) Chris Young
(61) John Lackey
(80) Matt Kemp
(81) Takashi Saito
(100) Rafael Furcal
(101) Geovany Soto
(120) Nick Swisher
(121) Yovani Gallardo
(140) Chad Cordero
(141) Jeff Francoeur
(160) Joba Chamberlain
(161) Edwin Encarnación
(180) Orlando Cabrera
(181) Adam Wainwright
(200) Orlando Hudson
(201) Billy Butler

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Not That There's Anything Wrong With That

From the "Seriously? Seriously." files - it appears Astros 2B Kaz Matsui will be out for a few days . . . with an anal fissure. That's pretty awesome of Rotoworld to let us know that a fissure is "an unnatural crack or tear in the anus skin" - this simultaneously lets us know that there are, apparently, natural cracks/tears in the anus from which the fissures must be separated, and heads off any easy "DOCTOR I HAVE A CRACK IN MY ASS TOO!" jokes at the pass. Truly inspired journalism.

I can't imagine how you even approach the trainer with that one - I mean, seriously, what does that even feel like? I guess I can see how anal tearing would prevent a good pivot at the ol' keystone, sure - I just can't even imagine broaching the topic with the trainers, especially if I didn't speak English. Can you make international signs, charade or mimic something like "my anal passage is shredded" or "I'm pooping a LOT of blood, and it is frightening me"?

That's without any conjecture as to how you, y'know, tear up your anus. There is some precedent for this situation among Japanese players (note: that's a joke), but regardless, it's good to know that soothing balm is on its way to solving Matsui's "issue" . . . and while I don't want this to turn into a nature vs. choice debate (mostly because people on the "choice" side of that debate make me want to murder a hobo), I don't think it's quite fair to say this has the potential to go "chronic." Let's keep it neutral, Rotoworld - nice and neutral. I cannot WAIT for someone to draft him in any upcoming fantasy drafts. Holy crap I'm excited.


If anyone caught Bob Knight on ESPN last night discussing the NCAA tournament, it was a pure shitshow. Knight took pains to refer to himself as a "consultant," in an attempt to separate himself from the "media" he spent years hating. What a nightmare - the guy has become who he hated, and now has to separate himself from it on TV - all the while being reminded (by the host, no less) that he is now indeed a member of the "idiot" media.

I don't think I've seen self-loathing like this since Sybil - it makes a Woody Allen movie look like Stuart Smalley's self-help group. Just unreal.

Monday, March 10, 2008


It's that time of the year, yet again - just like the salmon of Capistrano, we return to our embryonic chrysalis seeking warmth, WHIP and some of our friends' moderately hard-earned money. Like the first robin of spring, the first fantasy draft brings a mixture of hope and expectation (both in terms of "looking forward" and also "expected value"), along with drinking beer in the morning and making fun of the guy who drafts David Eckstein (11th round in this draft; best lines included "Is 'getting blown by Joe Buck' a category?' and "finally, someone shorter than Conklin" among many, many others).

This is a money league; small time though, $20 entry/10 teams/both leagues, with the following categories:
Batting: R, H, HR, RBI, SB, BB, K, AVG
Pitching: IP, W, L, SV, BB, K, ERA, WHIP

Let's just start off by saying the draft went pretty damn well:

Stop Snitching Andy

View All
Round Pick Player Position
1. (5) Hanley Ramírez SS
2. (16) David Wright 3B
3. (25) Brian Roberts 2B
4. (36) Mark Teixeira 1B
5. (45) Adam Dunn OF
6. (56) Cole Hamels SP
7. (65) Chris Young OF
8. (76) Dan Haren SP
9. (85) John Smoltz SP
10. (96) Nick Markakis OF
11. (105) Francisco Cordero RP
12. (116) Brett Myers SP,RP
13. (125) Nick Swisher 1B,OF
14. (136) Matt Cain SP
15. (145) Matt Kemp OF
16. (156) Rafael Soriano RP
17. (165) Derek Lowe SP
18. (176) Jarrod Saltalamacchia C,1B
19. (185) Stephen Drew SS
20. (196) Randy Johnson SP
21. (205) Lastings Milledge OF

Yep - winners go home and fuck the prom queen, but not after getting perhaps the second-best fantasy player alive with the 16th pick, after getting a consensus top-5 guy at #5 also. Thanks to Baseball Prospectus's invaluable Player Forecast Manager utility, I wound up with the guys ranked at #s 1, 3, 12, 18, 20, 21, 27 and 28. That's the equivalent of picking 8 times in the first three rounds, and not even Chris Wallace or Steve Phillips could fuck that one up.

At every position, I wind up with a premium player, and even get to take a shot at some high-upside guys in Kemp and Milledge. I bought low on Randy Johnson and might squeeze a great half-season, and that's the kind of arbitrage I simply can't pass up. The Steve Drew pick is likely shitty, but I sort of panicked and put on the baseball equivalent of a "handcuff" to Hanley in case of injury. I should win steals every week, and although Dunn and Hanley will make it tough to win batting K's every week, the increase in every counting category should make my hitters unbeatable.

Beyond that, I have a solid, moderate-risk staff, with some superstar potential in Hamels and Myers and Haren (even though all pitch in bandboxes) and the ability to move from strength for more as the season goes on. I just got hard talking about it - I feel like Enzyte Bob, except I get to live freely for the next 20 or so years of my life.