I love fantasy sports, love them. I am a stats dork and adore the idea of picking my favorite players and pitting them against my buddies for fantasy supremacy. Trades, clever waiver pick-ups, and getting production out of unknown rookies are all a joy and create the feeling that you are a real General Manager. But honestly, fantasy sports have ruined sports to the point of absurdity. ESPN.com ran a poll not to long ago that asked the question: would root against your favorite team in a meaningless game in favor of a player on your fantasy team? Now I may be plagiarizing somewhat from whoever wrote about this but the logical answer would be 100% no way. How could you root against your favorite team no matter what the situation? The results should be 100% no. I believe the poll results were something like 30% said yes and 70% said no. Now I feel that a lot of those people were lying or in denial that they could possibly root against their lifelong team. I would bet it is closer to 50/50. I find myself constantly doing this and I don’t think of myself as a fantasy sports addict (I feel like I should clarify addict here: you are in 5+ leagues for the same sport, you perform “mock drafts” before your real-fake drafts, you bet a large sum of money on said fantasy sports and this causes you grief/emotional distress, and you have lost or strained friendships over fantasy sports).
Now logic dictates “how can you root against your favorite team?” I have thought about this and came to the following conclusion. During a regular season game of little or no meaning, when your team has absolutely zero chance of coming back barring a historic performance, it is totally understandable to root for players on the opposing team that are on your fantasy team. In fact it’s almost expected, dare I say. Cruel and twisted isn’t it? Prime example: earlier this evening my beloved Red Sox were getting the snot kicked out of them by the Cleveland Indians. I get an IM from my good friend and fellow Sox fan Wig that went something like this:
Wig: Count it, I am kicking ass
Me: Dude, Sox are down like 11-2
Wig: Ya, but Victor Martinez is 3-4 with a two run homer
The weird thing was, I totally understood. I personally had no players going against my Red Sox but completely understood where Wig was coming from. Down by 9 runs late in the game there was no chance the Sox were going to come back. This is a meaningless early season game. Cheering for an opposing player’s good performance that is going to happen anyway is wholly logical in today’s world of fantasy sports. I even find myself during close games being not-too-sad about someone on the other team having a good game, as long as we are winning. To tell you the truth, this is a disturbing trend. I can only imagine the schizophrenic thought process that goes on in a fantasy sports addicts head. “Ok, we’re up by one in the bottom of the 9th. If Vernon Wells hits a homer we can go to extras and then win the game and I’ll get some points out of it!” Who knows, maybe someday we’ll switch jerseys in the middle of games to our favorite fantasy players. Although fantasy sports have subversively ruined the games they emulate, I still love them and will continue on loving them.
And Go Sox! Or A-rod, Teixera, Pujols, Vlad…