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Last week I started to write a blog post called “The Death of Fantasy Baseball,” about how the fantasy baseball league I’ve played in for the last seven years had finally dissolved. It was going to be a Classic Bobby nostalgia story about how something I loved while I was in my twenties was suddenly less appealing to me in my thirties. (My recent piece about being called “sir” at a Hoboken St. Patrick’s Day party falls into this category.)

But before I could hit “Publish” in my WordPress dashboard to make the piece go live, thus effectively ending my spotty fantasy baseball career, the league started to gain some momentum. Rather than the twelve teams collectively throwing in the towel and skipping fantasy baseball this year, it seemed that we were preemptively missing our league before the season would have even started. (If my fellow managers from the league disagree, feel free to mention that in the Comments–but I certainly felt this way.) On a group email chain we reignited the conversation and agreed upon a date and time for our online draft–a Friday night at 8:30, which should tell you how much our lives have changed from our twenties to our thirties.

The biggest reason the league almost fell apart was that most of us didn’t feel we had enough time to prepare or maintain our teams. Our league is one of the more demanding fantasy leagues, using advance “Moneyball“-friendly statistics categories (e.g. on-base percentage rather than batting average) that most casual fantasy baseball players wouldn’t pay attention to–and the kind that are harder to find on basic “best and worst” rankers on ESPN.com or Yahoo!. It’s also a daily league, meaning lineups can be adjusted each day, rather than a “set it and forget it” weekly lineup that some leagues employ to save everyone the anguish of feverishly checking each day’s match-ups.

I’d been dreading doing the research leading up to the draft–ranking each player by position (e.g. first base or left field) based on our league’s stats and thinking about a strategy for who I would select first, who I would wait to select later in the draft. In this way I felt like an athlete who retires despite most experts saying he could probably play for two or three more years. It’s not that he doesn’t still love his sport, but the preparation, the conditioning, the practicing, the media attention leading up to game day was no longer worth the high he would experience from actually playing in the game itself. (I realize the irony of comparing my fantasy baseball preparation to what an actual athlete goes through to get ready for a season, but I’m sticking with this comparison. Hey, it’s my blog.)

In fact, preparing for and running the league had been so challenging for me that a few years ago, I approached my friend and fellow fantasy manager, Brian, about running a team together. Rather than throwing away our separate $100 entry fees* on two under-managed teams that would finish last and second-to-last in our league, we figured we could co-manage and only lose $50 apiece.

*This is a hypothetical $100, of course. There, that should satisfy the fictitious attorney The 250 Square Foot View keeps on retainer.

The co-managing approached actually worked, leading us to a second-place finish that season. (I think both our wives were happy to see that after six months of “Honey, gimme two minutes…it’s my week to check our fantasy team,” some money was coming back in our direction.)

Now that we’ve drafted our team, I think we’re in pretty good shape–though I say that literally every year, despite winning the league just once, in my first season, when I didn’t know what I was doing–and I’m feeling confident about the upcoming season.

It’ll also be my favorite real (i.e. not fantasy) baseball player Derek Jeter’s last season, and, perhaps, my last year playing fantasy baseball. Who knows, maybe we’ll both go out on top.

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