Why would a grown man play fantasy baseball?

It hasn’t brought me closer to my wife and family. Or to the people I play fantasy baseball with. And yet it’s an absolute priority in my life.

I’ve already gone on record that there was nothing funny about the scene in Knocked Up where they interrupt the fantasy baseball draft, because there’s nothing funny about interrupting a fantasy baseball draft. It is the best/worst day of the year, an eight hour (if we’re moving swiftly) orgy of sports, strategy, and the brand of nerdy fun I used to experience in junior high with all day games of Blitzkrieg or Diplomacy.

On Sunday, I attempted to draft by phone from a rental house in Lake Tahoe. This house has a blue notebook full of rules we’re supposed to follow. Note to vacation rental owners: if you want people to follow all the rules, make five or ten. Making a hundred fifty is really just an invitation to blow them all off.

That’s just human nature–something my league commissioner has little understanding of. He is very thorough, with no sense of proportion, quite possibly on the autistic spectrum, but I’m not sure how that diagnosis would help him any more than it would have helped the kids I played war games with in junior high and where the hell else am I supposed to find players? The beach?

Our commissioner was making rules and judgments right up until draft time–it was a real last-minute flurry. I was on a conference call with a few other out of towners, talking to a group of people on a speaker phone in Los Angeles. The reception was terrible, and we had a hard time keeping up. Before I knew it, I had guests arriving, Bernie and Isa were back from skiing, and we hadn’t even started the National League yet. The room got louder, the phone reception got worse. I was trying to keep the fire going. I couldn’t be sure if I was following all the rules. I still hadn’t read the blue notebook. Or the league constitution.

The upshot of all this is I think I made out pretty well. And I’ve promised my family that, in the future, if I can’t make it to the draft in person, I’ll do it alone from a hotel room.

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