July 17, 2009
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I play in a fairly intense, 21-year-old fantasy baseball league, named after Gettysburg Eddie Plank. It used to be run by Bill James Fantasy Baseball, and when that collapsed the league picked up and went independent.

There are 15 teams, made up of 28 real baseball players. You have to field someone at every position, you need 5 starters and 4 relievers, and you can carry three additional players and eight reserves who don’t play but can replace injured or slumping teammates.

Everything your players do, pretty much, gives you points. You get 2.5 points for every hit. An extra point for each run scored, and each run batted in. Your pitchers get a point for every out. It's all remarkably well balanced; the highest-pointing player in the game is almost always either (a) the consensus MVP, or (b) the guy who people say, “this fellow would have been the MVP if writers were smarter.”

Last year, I lost the wild card (to AEI VP Henry Olsen) by 3.5 points out of something like 8000. That is, literally, the value of one more inning pitched by your middle reliever, or one extra hit and a walk. Even for the game of inches, that’s absurdly close.

This year, at the all-star break, I was trailing Henry’s Washington Monuments by 5.25 points. A day later, and I’m 18 points up.

It’s hard to understand how a game with this much noise (I have Manny Ramirez in LF; who counts on their left fielder to take a 50-game vacation?) could generate results this tightly clustered.