A Special Message From Mrs. Dynasty Guru
I have loved baseball ever since I was a little kid. Some of my best memories revolved around watching the Yankees with my father. On his day off we would camp out at the stadium early and try to get a glimpse of the players walking in and analyze batting practice together. I loved hearing stories about when he played college ball. Most days my father would say about 20 words max, but there was something magical that happened when we watched baseball together: we connected.
So naturally when I married a baseball enthusiast—a man who loved baseball even more than my father did—I thought it was going to be awesome. And despite our love for different teams (me being a Yankees fan, him being a Mets fan) we found a way to make it work.
He would keep his snide comments about how spoiled I was to a minimum when I complained that the Yankees didn’t win every year and try not to talk about how overrated of a player Derek Jeter was when I wore my jersey. And I would try hard not to make fun of him every year when the Mets lost the division in August and not bitch about what a dump the old Shea stadium was (though I have to admit, I do have a soft spot in my heart for that damn home run apple). He even let me hang up my 2000 World Series Championship framed picture in the hallway of our apartment. Looking back, even I admit that was probably taking it too far.
One of our favorite traditions that we have kept for ten years was watching the home run derby together and eating appetizers. Every year we would make the same jokes about Chris Berman. And every night we would watch Baseball Tonight or Pardon the Interruption together before bed (though I usually fell asleep on his chest by the end of Role Play). When I decided to convert to Judaism for him, I told him I would willingly give up Jesus for him—the Yankees however were an entirely different story. When we were pregnant with our first child, a little girl, he bought me Mets maternity shirt as a joke. I almost killed him. Baseball, for as long as I can remember, was as much a part of our routine as anything else.
Life was good. Then, my husband started playing more and more fantasy baseball and suddenly baseball wasn’t so much fun anymore. In fact, baseball became a huge pain in my ass. I should have known it. The writing was on the wall. I still remember the grin on his face the first time I saw him go off to a baseball draft ten years ago. This was no hobby. Oh no, this was going to become an obsession.
“How long will you be gone?” I asked him.
“It’s a day long draft,” he told me.
“A what?” I said.
“A day long draft.”
“What the hell are you guys doing over there, nuclear fusion?”
A few hours into the draft our apartment bathroom flooded with water. I called him up asked him to come home and help me. “Help me?” Was I crazy? He still had $130 dollars left and Curt Schilling was waiting to get called. He wasn’t going anywhere. He had another woman in his life and her name was Fantasy. Fantasy Baseball.
When he got home later that evening I was pissed. He had let me down just like Rivera did in 2001 against the Diamondbacks. I had been snakebitten all over again. “That man is a machine,” he yelled back at me. “You Yankee fans are all the same—your expectations are always set too high. When the bathroom floods, you call the super. That’s what he is there for.”
As the years passed drafts turned into more drafts. Keeper leagues. Dynasty leagues. Points leagues. Just shut the f— up about it leagues. I couldn’t even keep up. Before I knew it, my life revolved around fantasy baseball. We would schedule our vacations around all the March drafts, which we jokingly called “his busy season.” Passover dinners became a problem. And every year we would be nervous about what draft could potentially fall on March 24, my birthday. “It’s a Wednesday this year, whew,” we would say. Then, the writing gigs came and suddenly in what felt like overnight, my suit-wearing wall street husband became a very well-respected full time fantasy baseball writer.
“My husband is working tonight,” I would tell people.
“Oh, what does he do?“
“He’s a fantasy baseball writer.”
“Oh, is that kind of like sports writing?”
Being the wife of a fantasy baseball writer is a little like being married to a doctor without any of the perks. There is always someone to check on, they are constantly on their phones, and you honestly have no clue what the hell they are talking about most of the time.
Our Sunday morning pancake breakfasts at the diner started going something like this: he would break down why Cliff Lee’s WHIP was important while I tried desperately to get him to talk about something else and stop my daughter from throwing sugar packets all over the floor. I wondered how I was going to get used to all the late nights up writing and the constant stat checking on his phone. It got so bad that I felt like I couldn’t talk to him about baseball anymore—he was in a different league than me. In fact, in ten years, the only piece of baseball trivia I have ever scooped him on is that David Cone pitched a perfect game in 1999. That was about eight years ago and I still hold onto it for dear life.
Then his first byline in a book came in and as a writer myself, I couldn’t have been more proud of him. Slowly, as time went on I began to see the passion and the pride it brought out in him and I wanted him to feel that all the time. I stopped resenting what I thought baseball had taken away from us—our game nights, watching TV shows together—and I started to appreciate the late nights we spend together two writers writing behind the haze of our computer screens. Albeit, it was not what I had imagined it would be, but we were doing it together.
In some way or another baseball has always been there, through all the ups and downs and life cycles of our relationship. It has been a metaphor of such for the compromises we made to be together whether professional or religious and the dreams we have always supported in each other at all costs. I had no idea when we first got together that life would take us here, but it’s easy to support the dreams you know are coming. The real test is supporting those that take you by surprise.
With our second child, a little boy, having just entered the world, I thought this was the perfect time to start thinking about what role baseball would play in our entire family. I didn’t want baseball to be a pain in my ass anymore. And I wanted to get back those moments we used to share together over baseball and share them with our entire family. Don’t get me wrong I thought about this with my daughter too, but considering the fact that whenever she holds a baseball bat she waves it around and says, “Bibbidi Bobbidi Boo,” I didn’t think it was all that imminent. It won’t be easy and we will both have to compromise. I’ll have to be more understanding. Bret will have to learn to spend a little less time with his mistress: fantasy baseball.
In fact, we are making progress already. When we found out we were having a boy I was so excited that one of the first things I did was buy Bret a couple of Mets onesies. That Mets maternity shirt, however, I’ll wear over my dead body.