Baseball is full of good debates: Does pitch count really matter? Does batting lineup really matter? Does coaching really matter? Well, Baseball Widow would like to add one more provocative question to the mix: Does the team really matter?
To recap: The Eye-Candies are Baseball Widow's fantasy team, chosen for their good looks. The Eye-Candies compete in a Yahoo public league. Bitter rivals to the Eye-Candies are the Knoxville Photons, Baseball Hubby's painstakingly researched and drafted team that competes in a private ESPN league. Baseball Widow does not actively manage her team. (She has dropped two injured players, picking up Danys Baez and Nick Green.) Hubby actively manages his team.
Baseball Widow's Eye-Candies are in fifth place of twelve. Hubby's team is sixth of ten.
To refresh your memory, here are the lineups as originally drafted. . .
|Javy Lopez 30||Jason Varitek 17|
|Tino Martinez 11||Mark Teixeira 13|
|Michael Young 21||Jose Vidro 19|
|Eric Hinske 2||Aubrey Huff 21|
|Jose Reyes 12||Derek Jeter 18|
|Craig Biggio 20||Carlos Beltran 28|
|Pat Burrell 9||Manny Ramirez 28|
|Jose Cruz 17||Marlon Byrd 16|
|Joe Randa 14||Milton Bradley 18|
|Brad Ausmus 2||Torii Hunter 16|
|Joe Mauer 0||Roberto Alomar 7|
|Eli Marrero 3||Corey Koskie 21|
|Ryan Klesko 13||Bobby Crosby 0|
|Jeff Cirillo 3||Vinny Castilla 14|
|Larry Walker 18|
|Tim Hudson 23||Javier Vazquez 21|
|Mark Mulder 17||Keith Foulke 21|
|Brad Lidge 8||Hideo Nomo 17|
|Jaret Wright 1||Brandon Webb 17|
|Eric Milton 2||Wade Miller 9|
|Tim Wakefield 12||Carlos Zambrano 18|
|Joe Mays 2||Jake Peavy 7|
|Francisco Rodriguez 9|
|Chad Cordero 2|
|Jerome Williams 9|
If you'll recall, Hubby predicted that Baseball Widow's team would suffer from lack of pitching. (As most pitchers have facial hair, it was difficult for Baseball Widow to field a rotation of suitably good-looking players.) Baseball Widow is pleased to announce, however, that she is first in wins and second in ERA. Baseball Widow is going to let Hubby take over now to finish the analysis. . .
If the thing that makes Baseball Widow happiest is taking a bite of Ben and Jerry's latest creation, then second on her list of favorites is enjoying the demise of my fantasy baseball team. Now, couples are supposed to be there for each other in good times and in bad, in sickness and in health, during the playoffs and in the offseason . . . but I'm not worried, I'm confident in The Photons' second half chances.
Here's reason number 1: the gap between the Eye-Candies and the first place team in their league is 19.5 points. For my sixth place Photons, the gap is only 4.5. That's right, only 4.5 points separate the Photons from first place glory. Of course there are 5 teams in between.
Reason number 2? Well, the Photons have had a surge in the past few weeks, as a few of the key players are getting on track for the year. Take a look at the lineup and notice how many poor performances were turned in by guys like Jeter, Huff, Teixeira and Vidro. These guys are quality, and they're coming around, but their early season slumps still have the team's batting average at league bottom.
As for the bright spots of the Eye-Candies? They've gotten good production from Burrell, Young, and Lopez that should last into the second half. Younger guys like Nick Green and Joe Mauer have been pleasant surprises, but Green's playing time will be threatened when Marcus Giles comes back for the Braves. Another positive is the promotion of Brad Lidge to closer, when The Widow picked him up he was just middle relief.
So for now I'll just have to grin and bear my team's first-half misfortune, but when the Eye-Candies turn ugly and the Photons shoot to the top of the standings I won't brag too much, if I know what's good for me.
Have a good All-Star break.