In honor of the Major League Baseball opening weekend, I decided to take a moment today to reflect on why I love the start of the season in each of the sports that has a fantasy game I enjoy.
By this point in time, the vast majority of fantasy leagues have completed their drafts and are waiting in anticipation of the first pitch. While this may seem like the time that fantasy sports games start to the casual observer, that is far from the truth.
You see, fantasy games can be a year-round activity for the hard core player. I know many a fan who follows nothing but football or baseball every single month on the calendar. On the other hand, there are players like me. These are folks who play every major fantasy sport, which conveniently enough, just happens to touch on every month of the year.
Typically, depending on just how interested you are in a particular fantasy game, you may put in a couple of days researching who to pick, or you may be preparing for months. Some of us even continuously prepare for future seasons while we are not even finished with the one under way!
The most competitive and savvy players will spend at least a few weeks doing their research for the season. Many of them keep their own projections or download these stats from one of many websites that offers their take on prognosticating actual numbers. They spend time debating and splitting hairs between whether to take a rookie second baseman with a new starting job or an established shortstop with a track record but minimal upside.
Finally, at some point within the last few weeks heading up to opening weekend, they draft their team or teams. Believe it or not, the date of the draft is a HUGE event for the fantasy sports aficionado! You spend all this time preparing, figuring out when you have to draft certain guys to get them before someone else does, and mapping out how you want to approach the draft itself, and this is the day when you finally know what you're going to battle with.
But it's not over there. You spend the next week (s) until the season starts re-evaluating the selections you made. Oftentimes, your last pick or two are expendable if someone else better comes along. So you have to watch new developments and react in a way that will best position you to compete.
Obviously, with all this prep and hard work, the anticipation heading up to the first day of games can be nearly unbearable some years. I know I completed all of my serious drafts by last weekend, and the last week has been great, but there's nothing like the games actually starting.
Anti-fantasy sports naysayers may call this a waste off time, but many a fantasy player has compared either the draft itself or opening weekend to Christmas morning. Y'know, that excited feeling you got when you were a kid when you walked into whatever room "Santa Claus" left his gifts in? It's a lot like that.
So in honor of the first round of a long 162 game season, I'll take this chance to say it for myself … "Play Ball!"