Fantasy Fever: Umpires and Instant Replay From WhatIfSports.com image

Fantasy Fever: You Make the Call

Classic *Uh-Oh* moments in fantasy baseball
By Joel Beall, WhatIfSports.com
June 8th, 2010
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Bill Cowher The Steelers' Coin-Flip Fiasco

Game Six of the 1985 World Series. The Lions-Steelers Thanksgiving Day Coin-Flip Fiasco. The WWF Montreal Screw-job. Armando Galarraga and his 28-Out Perfect Game now join the ranks with these infamous officiating "uh-ohs." A number of questions were raised after umpire Jim Joyce signaled "safe" to rob Galarraga of his pursuit of perfection. How did Joyce so blatantly miss that call? Wouldn't an umpire give the pitcher the benefit of the doubt if he was that close to throwing a no-hitter? And is Joyce the only guy in sports who is still rockin' the Hulk Hogan blonde fu-manchu? But the most relevant question to us is this: what's the fantasy baseball equivalent of Galarraga's heartache? Granted, the levels of letdown cannot be compared; however, for our purposes, let's examine situations and instances that invoke an "Oh-NO!" from
owners.

Rain Delay

In rotisserie leagues, this doesn't pose a problem. However, in head-to-head divisions, the fantasy frustration is palpable when a big "PPD" is positioned next to a player's stats. Double that dissatisfaction if the doubleheader won't take place until later in the season.

Quality Start, No "W"

Or as I commonly refer to it, "The Mike Leake Corollary." Wins from starting pitchers aren't easy to come by, so you can imagine the aggravation when one of your guys goes seven innings surrendering just two runs, only to be undermined by an anemic offense or inept bullpen. By the way, Leake's stats from his last four outings: 26.1 innings, 2 ERs, 17 K's and ONE WIN. I'm told that Johan Santana has run into the same dilemma, but it's hard to take the plight of a pitcher on a $133 million-3rd place team seriously.

Steroid Suspension

Injuries are tough to handle but are to be expected. A 50-game steroid sentence on the other hand? Ugh. For instance, let's just say an owner drafts a certain dreadlocked, free-spirited West Coast outfielder with their 1st-round pick in 2009. Let's just say. And, hypothetically speaking, that outfielder gets nailed for taking fertility drugs which correlates to a ban that spans a third of the season. I'm going out on a limb and theorizing that said owner would go berserk if this scenario played out. Not that I have an intimate understanding of the situation or anything.

Starter Sits Out

Nothing starts your morning off worse than checking how your team did the night before, only to see zeros across the line from one of your starters. I'll concede that Lou Gehrigs' are few and far between, but it'd be nice to have this knowledge earlier in the day so owners can adjust their lineups accordingly. The main culprits of this crime are catchers, as teams are moving towards platoons eerily similar to the way Mike Shanahan utilizes running backs. This is not a good thing.

Your Closer's Team Records a Save, Sans Your Closer

You're at home watching TV, and you see "OAK 5, MIN 4" scroll across the bottom screen. You immediately fist-pump, because chances are Andrew Bailey, who just happens to be your fantasy closer, got the save for Oakland. And just as all in the world seems right, "SV: Wuertz (1)" is flashed on the monitor. Wuertz? WUERTZ? WHO THE HELL IS WUERTZ?!!!

A Bench Player Blows Up - On Your Bench

The ugly stepsister to the "Starter Sits Out," this occurrence makes you want to hurl a bobblehead across the room. I went through this hell with Miguel Olivo for two straight games in May, as Olivo went 7-for-8 with 2 bombs and 4 RBI. (In my defense, I have Joe Mauer at catcher. But Mauer's stats over that time period? 0-for-3. Not well played, Mauer.) Obviously, a player is a backup for a reason, which makes this a little more tolerable than - - -

Forgetting To Set Your Lineup

Self-explanatory. And anyone who says this hasn't happened to them is a full-fledged Floyd Landis.

Javier Vazquez

Start 'em: Javier Vazquez, Yankees: Holy cow, a Javier Vazquez sighting! Supporting an 8.01 ERA just a few weeks ago, Vazquez has shown signs of life with his last two starts, totaling 14 innings with only 3 earned runs. Now some detractors may claim this production should be expected from a guy making a cool $11.5 mill, but in Yankee terms, that's comparable to the league minimum.

Sit 'em: Nick Markakis, Orioles. The Baltimore outfielder is 3 for his last 23. The recent slump has dropped Markakis's batting average down 20 points to .288 on the season.

Fantasy Flashback: 1932 Jimmie Foxx. "The Beast" belted 58 long-balls, drove in 169 runs, and scored 151 times in only 154 games. Speaking of flashbacks, how about the decision to revitalize the A-Team franchise? Judging by the promos, it appears to be filled with terrible acting, cheesy lines, and tons of explosions. In short, I couldn't be more ecstatic. Give me a bad-but-enjoyable movie any day of the week over some bullcrap that takes itself too seriously. Of course, this is coming from a guy who thought Rick Moranis should have been nominated for his role in "Little Giants," so what the hell do I know.

Waiver Wire Watch: At this juncture in the season, many owners will start to cut ties with besieged ballplayers. Although picking up an underperforming star might not be ideal, it could prove beneficial in the long run, especially if you have room on the bench to let him "marinate," per se.

Rookie Review: Buster Posey, Giants. A late call-up in '09, Posey is starting to show why he was the 5th pick in the 2008 Draft. Since being recalled to the majors in late May, Posey is hitting a robust .455 in 33 at-bats for San Fran. Better yet, he's only taken in 50% of leagues, so pick him up if you have the chance.

This week in Jonathon Broxton: The Ox's stats for the week: 3 games, 5 Ks, 0 ERs, and 1 save. In a related note, while I'm fired up for the new "A-Team" movie, I'm extremely upset that Broxton wasn't offered the role of B.A. Baracus. Can't you picture Broxton with a Mohawk, gold chains, and mumbling lines of, "I'm gonna' strike you out fool!"? In fact, let's make that Broxton's new nickname: B.A. Broxton.

Armando Galarraga

Trade Talk: If you have an overabundance of wealth at a certain position, pair two of your good-but-not-great players in exchange for one superstar. Your goal should be to contact a struggling owner in your league, for chances are said owner will have multiple needs, and be willing to give up a star if it brings back more production.

Big League Chew Player of the Week: Armando Galarraga, Tigers. It sounds bizarre, but if anything, Jim Joyce's mistake allowed Galarraga to cement his legacy in baseball lore. Perfect games have been done before; it takes a man's man to get back on the mound and retire the next batter after being deprived of glory. And if Bud Selig had any stones, he'd recognize Galarraga's achievement with the following stat line in Cooperstown: 9.1 IP, 0 H, 0 BB, 3 Ks. But considering this is the same guy who thinks the All-Star Game should dictate home-field advantage in the World Series, I don't envision this happening.

Spit Your Tobacco At: Mark Teixeira, Yankees. Historically, Teixeira has been a slow starter, but in the words of Luke Wilson in Anchorman, "This is getting re-%@-damn-diculous!" Teixeira hit .143 this past week with no homers or runs batted in, bringing his average to .211 during the 2010 campaign with only 8 bombs. It might be time to shop around the Yankee 1st baseman and see what's out there.

That's it for today. And before I go, the "Dumb and Dumber" Quote of the Week:

Harry: So you got fired again?

Lloyd: Yeah, they always freak out when you leave the scene of an accident.


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