The Fantasy Baseball Owner’s Guide to Enjoying Opening Day
The loyal readers of The Dynasty Guru surely have been tweaking their teams all offseason in preparation for this moment. If you’re stumbling across this article out of the blue, maybe you didn’t even realize there’s regular season baseball on today (there is). No matter, there’s still time to get a fantasy team before you sit down on the couch, buckle up, and prepare for the beautiful grind that is the Major League Baseball regular season. Since I’ll be right there along with you, cheering and groaning for all of the players that I own (along with cheering for my beloved Cleveland Indians), I figured I’d write a guide for all of us. We can get through Opening Day together.
Okay, I have to get something off my chest. I don’t know how to refer to Opening Day this year. In the past, it’s been one game, let’s call it Opening Night, and then the real Opening Day, where everyone else played. This year, there’s three games on Sunday, April 2, including two that start before the sun goes down. For the purposes of this article, you can think of both Sunday and Monday as Opening Day, or Opening Day 1 and 2 if you must differentiate. Now, onto fantasy baseball.
- Don’t Overreact
I mentioned it above: the MLB season is a beautiful grind. It might feel like you just invested your soul in some of the players you’ve drafted or traded for. You did. The amazing thing about math is this: after Opening Day, each team will still have 161 more games to go. Sure, make mental notes about players that perform well or not. But don’t let that determine your starting lineup for day two, and don’t drop your third round pick just because he struck out three times. Baseball is a game of streaks. It’ll all be okay.
Watch the Games
I cannot stress enough the importance of watching the games. I understand life can sometimes take over, and there is a short list of things I’d put higher in importance than Opening Day. If you believe your situation falls in that category, do what you’ve gotta do. Everyone else, I urge you to watch, for a number of reasons. One of the coolest scenes is sports is the roster introductions on Opening Day, when all the players line up and run out there. Then, you’ll get to root on all the new talent you acquired this offseason. You might start to realize what a genius (or what an idiot) you are. And hey, it might help with your overreaction. If you see your supposed rookie sensation go 0-4 with four rocket lineouts, you’ll know he’ll be okay. If you see him strike out embarrassingly four times, I’d advise you to return to the first bullet point. Baseball is beautiful, and we play fantasy (probably) because we love the game. Turn on your TV and love it.
Fall in Love with Your Players, including their Flaws
Fantasy baseball is a game. Even more, it’s a game based on other people playing a game. There will be points this season where you need to make tough decisions about your players, whether to cut them or pull the trigger on a trade. There will be times to be cunning and cold-blooded. Opening Day is not that day. Opening Day is the day to fall in love with the nonchalant way your shortstop fields ground balls. Opening Day is the day to fall in love with the way your pitcher curses at himself after giving up a grand slam. Opening Day is the day to fall in love with every little quirk, good and bad, that your players have. Most of us will never meet these guys; our interactions with them will come from behind a screen, or maybe from the bleachers. But these are our players. We’ve put our faith in them in some form or another. If the ship is going down, we’re going down with it. The season will be a lot more fun for you when you decide to embrace every single player you own, all the way down to that backup reliever who never sees the light of your lineup.
Dwell on the Positives
I know how easy it is to get frustrated when someone you started does terribly, while the guy on your bench behind him inevitably goes off. Don’t. Frustration helps no one. Use the good. If your team goes 1-33 on Opening Day, be thrilled that one player decided he’d get you a hit. If your pitchers give up home runs left and right, smile when they get an out on a dead-center warning track flyout. There’s no use in any walk of life dwelling on the negatives, least of all a game like fantasy baseball. Games are supposed to make us smile, so smile, no matter what it takes.
Finally, Enjoy it
We’ve waited all offseason for this moment. No matter what teams we, or our favorite players, get traded to or sign with, we know that the beginning of April will bring baseball once again. The first pitch Chris Archer throws will bring us into a new season, a new season of baseball. This sport could bring us anything. You never know what mundane game you’ll turn on and then see the best catch or longest home run ever. It all starts today. We are blessed to all be here to see another year of baseball. Please don’t stress about your fantasy team or your favorite team. Just enjoy it, because that’s what baseball is for.