Most fantasy baseball seasons ended on Sunday, and while two of my teams fell flat in the championship round — I’m fine, I don’t need your consolation … I said don’t touch me — there was one story from this season that will always resonate with me. And it might be the only interesting fantasy baseball story of all time.
This year, I joined a league in which I didn’t know most of the other owners. The buy-in was $25.
The start of the season was innocent enough.
But in May, every member in the league was sent a link that led to a LinkedIn slideshow titled, “A Descent Into Darkness: A Commissioner Caught Cheating.” The presentation included a total of 26 slides exposing transactions made by the commissioner to retroactively place better-performing players from his bench into his starting lineup.
The report was comprehensive and scathing, including headlines like, “Evidence,” “Cheater, Cheater, Pumpkin Eater” and “A Possible Defense” — the last of which was immediately followed by “Bullshit.”
All in all, it was beautiful if you like whistleblowers and suffer from an unhealthy dedication to fantasy sports.
Perhaps still reeling from the exposure or just reluctant to deal with something so explosive yet largely inconsequential, the members of the league didn’t acknowledge the revelation for hours. But I eventually broached the subject in the group message.
The commissioner apologized for what he did, explaining that he let a habit of updating the rosters of underperforming owners snowball into allowing himself liberties with his own team. (At the same time, all record of our fantasy basketball league, with many of the same owners, disappeared from ESPN’s servers. Curious, indeed.)
The commish was jettisoned from the league and paid a $20 fine, and the league went back to normal. The whistleblower would go on to beat me in the championship round and at being an investigative journalist — a tough pair of developments to swallow.
The morals of the story: 1. Never put yourself in a position to get exposed by your friends over $25. 2. Exposing injustices builds good karma — enough to overcome several injuries to beat the smartest, most handsome guy in the league in the championship round.
(I said I’m fine. Leave me alone.)
Ten players who ensured fantasy championships*
1. Rick Porcello, SP, Boston
2. Trea Turner, OF, Washington
3. Freddie Freeman, 1B, Atlanta
4. Justin Upton, OF, Detroit
5. Jean Segura, 2B/SS, Arizona
6. Jon Lester, SP, Chicago Cubs
7. Aaron Sanchez, SP, Toronto
8. Chris Carter, 1B, Milwaukee
9. Seung Hwan-Oh, RP, St. Louis
10. Ian Desmond, SS/OF, Texas
* These players weren’t the highest rated player at his position going into the draft, but they maximized their impact over the season — with bonus points for being second-half performers. Getting these players is how you actually bring home the hardware.