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Way back in 2001, I started a fantasy baseball league with fellow lawyers and staff at Munger Tolles & Olson. Naturally, we called the league "BatMungers." Even as several of us left the firm (and in some of our cases, left the state of California), we kept the league name. Munger or ex-Munger managers who dropped out were replaced by non-Mungerites, but the name stuck. By 2010 or so, however, the league faded away.
Until this year, when we revived it. Well, eight of us, anyway. Our live draft was held this morning, though only half of the managers showed up, and then, not even for the entire draft. I held the #7 pick. Here are my picks, 1-25, in a standard 5x5 league:
#1 -- In a different, public league (10 teams), I also picked #7, but for some reason, I was able to snag Carlos Gonzalez at that spot. I was pretty underwhelmed by Jacoby Ellsbury, but felt better about taking him than Chris Davis, who strikes me as being due for some serious regression.
#2 -- I was pretty happy to take Hanley Ramirez here. He was once possibly the best player in the game, and while he's 30 now, he's hit well with the Dodgers. Adrian Beltre was tempting, but he's older than Ramirez. Robinson Cano was definitely NOT tempting here.
#3 -- I waffled between taking Jason Kipnis or David Wright. Joey Votto was also available. In real life, Votto is the best among those three (and better than others taken earlier), but the standard 5x5 scoring undervalues Votto's skills. I ended up taking Kipnis over Wright because my motto is, when in doubt, go with the younger player. Yes, I'm an ageist. But this is fantasy baseball....
#4 -- Adam Wainright was available here and I considered taking him (Kershaw, Lee, and Hernandez were already drafted amongst starting pitchers), but besides favoring youth, I try to avoid taking pitchers at all in the early rounds. I figure there are often strong young pitchers who come up mid-season (like last year's Jose Fernandez and Michael Wacha), plus the injury risk is much higher with pitchers, so why risk a high pick?
#5 -- But I gave in to temptation here. He did get bombed today by Atlanta, but Stephen Strasburg is the kind of pitcher I like to draft: lots of Ks. Otherwise, I would've taken Shin-Soo Chin, who I think will have a monster year in Texas.
#6 -- Jose Batista isn't likely to hit 50+ home runs again, but 35+ should be in reach. The other players around this pick were mostly starting pitchers (Sale, Greinke, Bumgarner) or broken-down Angels (Pujols, Hamilton).
#7 -- Nobody jumped out at this spot.
#8 -- This might have been a mistake, especially when Carlos Santana popped up on the screen a couple of rounds later. I was tempted to take Kenley Jansen, but I don't like to take relievers before the 10th round at the earliest.
#9 -- Except here, Greg Holland was clearly better than the other players around this spot. I guess it's basically like taking Jansen a round later.
#10 -- Matt Cain is kind of boring but steady.
#11 -- Gio Gonzalez is not boring; he strikes out lots of batters.
#12 -- It was really hard drafting Mark Trumbo, because he's the kind of player I don't like to take -- all power, not many walks. But his walk rate has been improving, and Arizona is a hitters' park. It was either Trumbo or Werth or Alex Gordon.
#13 -- I could've taken Shelby Miller or Doug Fister. Fister was probably safer, but I think Japanese pitchers do well their first time through the league.
#14 -- I got to this point and realized I still didn't have any first baseman! And this league calls for a first baseman plus a corner infielder (1b/3b).
#15 -- Dominic Brown was once supposed to be a star in the league. That probably won't happen, but the Phillies are so bad now that he should get to start regularly.
#16 -- I don't like the Cardinals as a team (they win too much), but they seem to know what they are doing with young players. And I need to fill that corner infielder spot.
#17 -- Closers are the most overrated players in the game, but David Robertson throws gas.
#18 -- I didn't realize Cole Hamels was on the DL when I drafted him, but that explains why he was still around this late. He's been pretty consistently good though not stellar.
#19 -- I picked Leonys Martin up from the waiver wire last year and got a lot of stolen bases from him. He's a useful role player to sub in as needed.
#20 -- Yeah, this might have been a mistake too. Kind of hoping for some kind of rebound.
#21 -- See #17. I tried to get the league to consider dumping saves as a category but failed.
#22 -- So I draft a lot of these overrated players. I'm surprised Jed Lowrie was still available, though. If I hadn't filled my second base, shortstop, and middle infielder spots, I would've taken him.
#23 -- Michael Bourn is another speedy type player to swap in. I also think steals are a stupid category, and suggested getting rid of them too, but failed here as well.
#24 -- Hmm, I may end up dumping Yelich for a different kind of player. Or maybe Bourn, and keep Yelich.
I'm not one for sit-coms, so I didn't watch "How I Met Your Mother" during its 9-year-run, but being the avid Entertainment Weekly reader that I am, I know something about the show. So I was mildly curious about how it would end, though not enough to tune in. And what's fascinating is how many fans (based on critics' reviews and comments added) hated it. When I saw "hated," I'm not exaggerated. I've seen a lot of comments to the effect that it ruined the entire series for them. TV critic Alan Sepinwall does a great job dissecting all the problems with it.
A common theme among the criticisms has been that the showrunners knew what ending they wanted, but it was no longer suitable given how characters had developed over the course of the show. However, they had already shot the footage of the kids' reaction to the story way back at the end of season 2 to lock in the age of the actors; there would be no way to film a scene now with 27-year-old Lyndsy Fonseca trying to look 16 (which she could pull off at age 20).
Of course, they could have just abandoned that footage and adapted the ending without the kids' reactions, so this seemed to be an instance where the producers wanted a particular ending.
Now, a number of long-running serialized shows that I've watched have, to varying degrees, fallen apart by the finale when it became clear that the producers/writers had been making everything up as they went along and thus couldn't possibly tie everything together without contradicting the past or retconning. So in that sense, one has to admire the HIMYM producers for knowing how they wanted to end their series and getting there. On the other hand, as the criticisms persuasively argue, that ending no longer made sense given what had transpired over the past few years.
Well, I guess that means we can cross HIMYM off the list of possible best series finales. I think I'm going with "The Shield" if I have to choose.