If you’ve been reading the site for any amount of time, no doubt you’ve seen me mention my fantasy team. Yeah, yeah – I know – no one wants to hear about your fantasy team. But with the season being delayed, my belief is that you would rather hear about my team than my views on COVID-19. Besides, if you want to read about the coronavirus disease, there are plenty of places to go with a lot better information than here. But this is the expert stop for information about my fantasy league. To the best of my knowledge, none of the other owners has an active blog on any topic. So, there you go.
The Luigi League is a keeper league which started back in 1985. I joined in 1992, taking over the worst team in the league. The participants were from my workplace, which was responsible for keeping the stats for all of the affiliated minor leagues. Therefore, a requirement of the league was that your team name be taken from the nickname of an actual minor league team. The franchise I took over was the Mudcats. It was a pretty cool name but had the stench of being a last-place team so it couldn’t be kept.
A fellow league owner, the future best man at my wedding, declared if I ever turned that team around, it would be a miracle. As fate would have it, there was a team in the Florida State League named the Fort Myers Miracle. It was in the FSL for a number of years as an unaffiliated team in an affiliated league but in 1992 they became a farm club for the Minnesota Twins. And thus, the Joura Miracle came to be.
Since the league had been around for awhile and really long before the fantasy sports craze took off, there were (and are) some funky rules in place. It’s a minor detail for the purposes of this story – just know that it’s not your standard Roto league.
We have a four-page document on rules, which is updated whenever a rule change happens. Among the rules is something that was added back in the mid-90s, when we had to come up with how to handle strike-shortened seasons. It’s relevant again now for the first time since 1995. Essentially, it says that anytime MLB plays at least 100 games, we have an official season, with prizes being awarded.
It’s lost to time if 100 games was chosen because it was a nice round number or if in the year played with the fewest games in our lifetime, the strike-shortened 1981 season, each team played at least 103 games. Regardless, we’re faced now with wondering if MLB will play 100 games this year.
If the season is only shortened by two weeks, we’ll clear the 100-game bar without any problem. Of course, it’s far from a given that Opening Day will happen on April 6, as it’s currently slated. The optimist in me says that a virtual three-week quarantine of large gatherings may be enough to keep the pandemic in check. But the realist in me recalls an article that said we were 16 days behind Italy, which today has over 1,000 deaths and 60 million people in actual quarantine.
We should be gearing up for our Draft Day, scheduled for Monday, March 23. I’ve done only minimal prep for the draft – part due to laziness and part due to the unknown of if we’ll have the draft – or even a season at all. It’s not fun times.
At last year’s draft, I ended up with Brandon Nimmo, Gavin Lux, Jarred Kelenic, Nolan Jones, Matthew Liberatore and others. It was a very good draft, considering my draft position and the fact that my second and third-round picks were dealt in trades to ensure a money finish in the previous season. And this year’s draft should have been even better, given that I had all of my picks plus an additional one at the beginning of the third round.
Back when I first joined the league, Draft Day was the best day of the year, like adult Christmas. Our office would have a big party to celebrate and not only would we have the fantasy draft, we’d have the draft to divvy up the company’s season tickets for Red Sox games. They were great seats, too. They were on the first base side, lower level, straight up from the dugout. Just high enough up to easily see over the people walking on the path to their seats or the concession stands.
Many, many times throughout the years, I’ve wished for it to be the 1990s again to live the early days of my involvement with the Luigi League, specifically Draft Day. And now here in 2020, I just want there to be a Draft Day, even if it’s all done online with no two people even in the same room. And with no party and no Red Sox tickets given away, either.
“Can’t pretend that growing older never hurts”