A year ago, I was better.
Or at least I think I was.
At this time in 2010, I was fighting my way up the ladder.
This year, I’m simply content being at the bottom of it.
Of course, I’m talking about fantasy baseball.
For the second year in a row, I’m in a league with a few people from work and a few from New York.
We have five Minnesotans and five New Yorkers, giving us an even balance.
Last season, I struggled to maintain any sort of consistency and entered the playoffs as the No. 6 seed.
There are 10 teams in this league, and the playoffs are based on how you finish during the regular season.
The first four teams play off for the top spot, with the next four playing for fifth place.
The last two teams are out of the playoffs.
The kicker about this league is the dues are based on how you finish. If you finish first, second or third, you win money. After that, you pay out. The amounts are determined by the final finishing.
So, needless to say, I had to pay a little money.
I entered the playoffs with the sixth seed, and I finished one ahead of that, taking fifth after winning a tie-breaker with former sports reporter Michael Brauer.
This year, there are some new players — and some of the same. We have added sports reporters Daniel Kerwin and Lance Knutson to round out the Minnesota crew of Ryan McGaughey, Lucas Knutson and myself.
I entered this season with optimism. I felt good about my draft and my current roster.
Little did I know I’d be stuck with a group of under-achievers.
First example would be Yankees pitcher Phil Hughes. An 18-game winner a year ago, Hughes made no impact for me early on.
Another prime example (and a source of my frustration) is Atlanta second baseman Dan Uggla. After hitting .287 with 33 home runs and 105 RBI a year ago, he’s hitting a measly .189 with 15 home runs and a mere 35 RBI.
Early on in the season, fueled by the now-injured Buster Posey, my team was right there. I was in the top four (which is where you want to be), and was poised to make a run at the prize money.
It wasn’t meant to be.
Our league is set up to be head-to-head. Each week, we face off against another team in 10 statistical categories — runs, home runs, RBI, stolen bases, averages, wins, losses, saves, strikeouts and earned run average.
I went through a three-week period that killed me.
I lost 10-0, 9-1 and 9-0 in consecutive weeks. That’s 1-28 in three weeks.
So, now I’m nearly in the cellar.
Thanks to Mr. Kerwin, who is currently in last place, I’m not the worst team in the league.
But I’m close.
After a nice win last week (even though it was a short week with the All-Star break), I’m a mere 2.5 games out of eighth place.
I can smell the playoffs.
But before Tuesday’s games, I’m currently losing 7-1. Not a great follow-up.
There is still six more weeks after this one before the playoffs begin. With any luck, that will mean six more wins. Or at least, that will give the team ahead of me six weeks to lose enough games to allow me to jump over them in the standings.
Either way, it will be a fun few weeks.