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Why do you play fantasy baseball? Here’s my story

People ask me why I play fantasy baseball with relative frequency. They don’t always understand the notions: picking a team of major leaguers and accumulating stats as they play in real life. Of course, that’s the short explanation, and more often than not, those that aren’t interested just change the subject or question my mental health. “That’s a waste of time,” some of them say.

They don’t have to understand me, or those who play. However, I’d like to tell you why I play fantasy baseball and have done it since 2006.

One of the easiest explanations is, well, for the love for the game. Sounds cheesy, I know. But hey, I’ve seen baseball since I was a little kid. I cried myself to sleep when Luis Gonzalez’s blooper made it to left field in 2001, when I was 12. Simply put, I love baseball, and since I can’t play (I’m not particularly good at it) I decided to try fantasy when I was 16, in 2006. It was a way for me to stay close to the game. And I was hooked the minute I tried it.

For me, fantasy baseball is closely tied to friendship. Together with my best friend, we started playing in that 2006 spring. Surfing the Internet, we read about a game in which we could have a team of major leaguers, make transactions, trades, adds and other stuff. Real-life performance would dictate the outcome of the league. So, we decided to create the “Survival League” filling it with random people.

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With each passing year, we collected memories, performances, medals, trophies and prestige within our (small) circle. Three additional friends joined us over the years, and now the Survival League has completed 14 successful seasons.

Of course, it doesn’t matter if we are friends, acquaintances, or strangers: I want to win. That takes us to the next reason why we, or at least I, love to play fantasy baseball: competitiveness. Nothing beats the competitive aroma of a draft room, a league’s message board, and even trade responses. You can feel when a league is competitive, and when you find that, it becomes addictive. It all starts from the moment you begin preparing for your draft and ends with the last out of the regular season, in most cases. That’s a lot of ground and time to cover.

There is no better motivating factor than doing what you love. You will want to thrive, and that drive will make everything that a fantasy owner needs to stay one step closer to the competition more palatable: looking at players’ stat pages, analyzing trends and trying to unmask hidden gems. That requires time and effort.

I guess most, or some, of us had some kind of unrealized dream of taking a team from scratch and winning it all. Playing general manager and being in charge of the destiny of a team brings joy to my life, and I sincerely hope that it provides a similar sentiment to yours, if you are reading this.

Play fantasy baseball if it makes you happy!

The point is, whatever the reason, you should play fantasy baseball if it makes you happy. It is an amazing game and more people should join.

Be aware that some people could be opposed to the fact that you play so much! Just kidding… or not? Ha!

My girlfriend has a hard time understanding why a draft can take longer than a movie. “It should end anytime soon, sweetheart,” I’d tell her, only for it to last two more hours. Have you been in my position, too?

“Boy, you talk with that dude more than you talk with me,” is another one of the usual lines. “We are negotiating a trade, babe!” I reply.

In the end, I can tell, judging by the look on her face, that she is glad to see me happy after that trade I was negotiating for hours is finally agreed upon. She says that when I win a league that is particularly meaningful to me, my mood reflects it.

Fantasy baseball is full of little joys, small pleasures that can help us navigate through a rough day or week. A trade that can elevate us to the top, for example. Earning that star player through a waiver claim, advancing to the postseason, securing a bye week, completing your draft and start managing your personnel are a few of those moments.

Why do you play fantasy baseball? Feel free to tell us about your experience in the comments section or via Twitter, through @Fantrax.

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