Wednesday, August 02, 2006

the secret life of Bill Simmons

Totally excellent column for some reason rejected by page 2 editors. Thanks, chisports!

The Sports Guy Goes to an Auction


So I'm sitting there the other day watching ESPN2 and I see that Reggie Jackson had a great game. There is nobody, with the possible exception of Kevin Kennedy, that I dislike more than Reggie Jackson. In the pantheon of people that 'Make the Sports Guy Insane,' these two are neck and neck.

The phone rings. It's my friend Bish. Score! Bish is always willing to discuss our mutual distaste for Reggie Jackson. Don't get me wrong--we respect his abilities. But he's the the animated Sports Guy of sports. Totally annoying, yet on TV all the time. Bish mentions that it would be nice if Reggie Jackson caught a case of chlamydia at the beginning of September, paving the way for the Red Sox to the playoffs like on Viagara.

Bish points out that the chances that Reggie Jackson will come down with chlamydia in September are minimal, but that if we expanded the possibilities, there would be a greater chance for debilitating success. As usual, Bish is a crazy genius.

Here is what we came up with:

4. Reggie Jackson receives a vicious piledriver from Sam Malone in front of 40,000 fans jammed into Cheers.

(On a side note, has there ever been a greater moment in sports than when when the Hulkster totally didn't body slam Andre the Giant? I don't even care if it was fake, that was Jeter-esque.)

3. Reggie Jackson is informed by his wife that their child was not fathered by him but rather by either Jonathon Papelbon or Theo Epstien.

2. Reggie Jackson hangs a poster of Brandon Walsh in his locker and is immediately put on the DL.

1. Reggie Jackson meets Clay from The Apprentice, falls in love, and leaves team to begin filming 'My Fair Yankee.'

After we finish with the conversation about Reggie Jackson we turn ourselves to the real topic of conversation, the upcoming draft of the Melissa Stark is Sexy Memorial Baseball Association, a new fantasy league that Bish and I will be joining this year.

Ordinarily, I'm never an advocate of partnering up to own a fantasy baseball team. That's like getting picked up by Stephi Graf and going back to her place, only to find out that Sports Guy is already there. If the best you get is to share, sometimes it's not worth it at all, right?

However, this league only had one slot open, so Bish and I agreed to partner up, in the hope that one of us could switch over and manage the next vacancy. After much debate, and eliminating the excellent possibilities of 'Candy Land with g-strings' and 'Big Papi's Shiny hookers, blow and Dennis Rodmans as potential team names, we settle on 'Palm Springers.'

The thing that-s exciting about this league is that it-s an auction format league, which is totally different than a draft league. I mean, it seems as though it would be the same as a draft league, but it's not. It's like the difference between NHL 93 and NHL 94-you take out fighting and add one-timers, you've got a whole different game, even if they are both hockey.

Pre-Auction preparation is important. First, it is important to choose where the league will be having the auction. Many times people will choose to have their auction in a Palm Springs. This is a bad idea. Nothing good can come of this; at the end of the day every person in the room is going to be grumpy and have an extremely sore neck after four hours.

No, the auction must be held in someone-s house-biggest furnished basement wins. The coolness of the wife/significant other can be a deciding factor if two people have similar options-say, if owner A has a Kid Icarus arcade game, but owner B has a case of Schlitz. Nothing will kill a fun evening faster than the host's wife emasculating him with a '"no, nothing's wrong. I'm not upset. At. All.".' We have selected next Tuesday night, at 8 pm, at a guy's house where his wife will be in Palm Springs, and therefore unable to disrupt the festivities.

I will not be sharing with you my player ratings for this coming season-after all, Jesus doesn't play poker with the hand face up-but I will give you some insight into my auction strategy. The thing is, an auction has so much more of an influence on your season than a draft does. In an auction, every player in the league is at your disposal. Everyone starts out equal. It's the Libertarianism of fantasy sports.

It's also like a doing Paris Hilton. It requires endurance, it requires stamina, it requires concentration and planning. Without further ado, here is my 'Sports Guy Auction Strategy Guide':

Round One-Dance and Jab

Once the auction starts, timing and strategy are much more important than they are in a traditional draft. The first hour or so of the auction has to be spent feeling out your opponents. Are they particularly loyal to the New York Mets? Do they have a tendency toward writing columns for Page 2? You are looking for weaknesses that you can exploit later on. Store these like hickeys

Here is a good place to test people by chucking out a few names of guys you-d never want on your team-aging, oft-injured players, like Nomah, or over-hyped rookies that will never pan out like Curt Schilling.

Everyone is going to get some good players at this point, so make sure you don-t overpay and find yourself begging for money like Turtle asking for Vinny Chase's AMEX Black.

Round Two-Have a Sense of History

In round two, there will be one moment that defines your draft. Things will be going along smoothly, and all of a sudden you'll get involved in a bidding war on a player. It's not unlike a big pot in a no-limit hold-em tournament-you'll have your Tom Brady-Tom Cruise in All the Right Moves moment, and you need to decide what to do.

Oftentimes, this will come down to a single dollar, here or there-if you bid $0.25 for Pedro Martinez, you know you'll get him, but you're facing a bid with the clock ticking. Are you going to be a hero, carried off the field like Aaron Boone? Or are you Bill Billicheck, skulking off the field into the jeering history of your team's fans, with only your family still willing to speak with you. Now is your moment. Set the tone.

Round Three-Moving Day

Hour three of the draft is moving day, like the third day of a golf tournament. You need to shoot a 69. This is where you'll fill out a lot of the players that, while less hairy, make up the core of your team. Do not discount the importance of moving day. If you wait until the next phase to build the core of your team, you'll find yourself as lonely as the Sports Girl in a GLAAD service.

Moving day is the time to make things happen for your team. This is where you are going to define the season that you have. If you end up moving day by taking an accurate mix of future stars, injury-risk players, and Pokey Reese, you'll be okay.

Round Four-The Game of Trivial Pursuit

By the end of the fantasy auction, the endeavor has become excruciating. The only thing it can be compared to is a game of Trivial Pursuit, played among friends. Something that, at the beginning of the endeavor, seemed like such fun, but by the end of it, is just a group of people banging their heads against the wall, adamantly trying to finish what they started, the joy of competing against your friends replaced with a desire to prove that you are more manly and that is that.

In this phase of the auction, you must be careful. This is the '"I gotta admit, it turned me on"' moment of the draft. People will be exploding like my balls, screaming incomprehensible things like the Sports Guy and threatening to storm out of the room if they do not get their way.

Just bite your lip, set your jaw, and try and endure. It's a long season coming forward.

'"You complete me"'