Baseball Aholics

baseball_layout.jpg

Somewhere on the internet exists a rotisserie baseball league. Now if you are unfamiliar with what a rotisserie baseball league is let me fill you in. Simply put, rotisserie baseball is a collection of make-believe baseball teams managed by real people who fill the make-believe teams with real players generating real stats that are compiled to determine a real winner of a make-believe league. In some way the game was invented to give the ordinary person the experience of managing their own sports franchise by taking the concrete reality of baseball statistics formed in real life and applying them to a imaginary expression of a league.

The league I am talking about in particular is the Baseball Aholics. From my understanding the league itself has been in existence for close to twenty years. A few guys that had grown up and worked together (doing anything but work, at least that's how all their stories sound to me) had a love for baseball and found this rotisserie expression a perfect way to couple that love of the diamond with a desire to run one of those fair teams. So, for almost two decades this league has moved along. Ownership has changed hands dozens of times, if not more. The geographical boundaries of the league has extended as well covering all four continental time zones. Old men have moved on, young men have come in, teams have sprouted co-owners and some have divided from their team-ownerships to form new clubs. Yet, the league moves on. Many of the original owners still pressing on. This year a few new-bloods step into the historic league. Some holding trophies of old. Some are newly minted champions. Some wish for the day they will finish the season at the top. Each one knows however that that goal is still six months away.

The 2014 edition of the Baseball Aholics features ten teams compiling the real stats of players in ten categories. Offensively, the batting categories measure a hitters batting average, runs, home runs, and runs batted in (RBI). Additionally, to quantify excellence in base-running, players are also credited with stolen bases. On the other side of the plate pitching categories are kept. Earned run average (ERA), wins, strike outs, walks/hits per inning (WHIP) and those strange birds known as closers, saves, are the categories of choice.

Each roster consists of twenty-five players. Twenty-two of those twenty-five are in the active roster each day compiling statistics for their owners. Three players sit on the bench each day and a disabled list consists of two spots for players who are hurt indefinitely. This particular season is a "keeper season" in which each owner can designate up to seven players from the last year as keepers and retain the right to that player as if they were under a multi-year contract. The remainder of the team rosters will be filled within days at the league draft.

From the outside this looks like a rather silly exercise for young boys. Maybe that's true. But for each owner, the beginning of the season before the draft is a season of hope. They look down the line at players that are available. Each owner takes stock of his respective spot in the impending draft and tries to project who will be available for him to acquire. Each owner desires to demonstrate to his peers that if he was in charge of big-league club then he could get his team to the top. Each man wants to pretend that he could be the manager to break the Billy Goat Curse.

This year, because of the keepers, his team is already weighted to some degree of success or failure. He has positions filled, needs to be met, and a roster to fill. Daftly, he desires to draft a club that gives him the best shot at the championship. Even though the season is six months long it feels as if a misstep in the first month will derail the entire season. A deficiency in saves is hard to make up come August.

This season I will tell the story of one particular team, The Air Capital Abstracts and the league they seek to win, the Baseball Aholics. My hope is to chronicle the highs and lows (probably more of the latter) of a fictional team in a real league. Each week I'll share the human drama of a baseball team (that doesn't know it's a team) working together (even thought they might be opposing each other) trying to bring a championship to the real-world manager who gains absolutely nothing by winning this league. I'm sure there's a story to tell. And for no other reason than writing about sports, even the real make-believe sports, is something I've always wanted to do. Welcome to what it means to be a Baseball Aholic.