Because this video never gets old... a 46 year old in his final season getting a guy 20 years his junior in a headlock for a few knuckle sandwiches.
Firstly, since I've been asked about fantasy baseball advice from a few people, let me steer you towards the folks at Fantasy Baseball Crackerjacks and their free draft kit. Their site is chock full of draft strategies, player rankings, and prospect reports. I'm not going to float all of my secrets out there, but consider this one me throwing you guys a bone!
Yours truly has thus far landed in 4 different Fantasy Baseball Leagues for the upcoming season. New to me this year are The 06010 Board Dynasty League, fan board for the world famous ESPN Fantasy Focus podcast, and the COSFBA Blog/Twitter League hosted by a gentleman that now writes for Full Spectrum Baseball. I'm pretty stoked to be invited into a couple of highly competitive leagues like this and I'll surely keep everyone posted as to how the season progresses. This is of course in addition to my usual Pop's Fantasy League that I've been in for almost two decades.
Speaking of Full Spectrum Baseball, they had an interesting article the other day on why baseball could use a little "linsanity?" Unless you've been living under a rock, you've probably heard about basketball star Jeremy Lin and his rise to fame. ESPN mentioned his name on Sports Center 350 times last week, Knicks tickets have tripled in price in the secondary market, and this past weekend Saturday Night Live spent 4 minutes exhausting every Jeremy Lin pun in the book. In just a few weeks, his rise from an unknown guy destined for D League has transcended the game and turned basketball into a pop culture topic. And I think that's exactly the kind of thing baseball is in need of for two different reasons. First of all, baseball is ripe with Asian born players, but very few of them have reached a level of pop culture stardom similar to Lin. The one who has had the most success on the field, Ichiro, has spent his entire major league career in the Pacific Northwest where baseball is an afterthought. The mild success had by Hideki Matsui was met with international popularity. Just imagine if he had a Barry Bonds like career. But above all, baseball simply needs a player who can invigorate fans with the chase of a major record. The world tuned in when Mark McGwire and Sammy Sosa chased down the single season home run record. Chris Berman announced the game on national TV when Cal Ripken played in game 2,131 to break Lou Gherig's consecutive games played record. And fans stormed the field when Hank Aaron passed Babe Ruth for the all time home run record. But it's been more than a decade since baseball has had anything nearly as memorable as any of those moments. Seeing someone chase a .400 batting average or notch a hit in 50+ consecutive games would put baseball in a spotlight it just hasn't seen in recent years. Matt Kemp having a 50-50 season would be a good start! "Linsanity" is out there for baseball in one form or another.
Another interesting read this week is Deadspin's take on the classic Simpsons episode, "Homer at Bat" which was the first show to vault the Fox network to the top of the ratings and an episode that was nearly a year in the making. This article gives a behind the scenes look at how baseball's biggest stars came together in 1992 and the eerie foreshadowing that episode really had for many of their careers. Wade Boggs in a bar fight, check. Don Mattingly with long hair, check. An obscenely muscular Jose Canseco, check.
And lastly, I encourage all of you to check out the NQA Podcast for a "somewhat weekly, somewhat Phillies related podcast for the Philadelphia fan experience." Those guys podcast for much the same reason I write a blog. They have fun, don't take themselves too seriously, and genuinely embody the common Phillies fan experience. Where most Phillies podcasters (and most bloggers and podcasters in general) attempt to play the part of amateur reporters or analysts, these guys just put on a fun and entertaining show. Plus NQA Dutch vows to go T-Mac Free for the entire 2012 season so that alone is enough to get my endorsement. Season three will kick off any day now, but don't be afraid to check out a few of their old episodes on iTunes!