Yom Kippur begins at sundown tonight, and before the atoning begins I wanted to share a story about one of the Jewish players who has had a long and successful career in the big leagues. But, of course, there’s a personal angle to this tale, which you may or may not not be able to relate to, but can hopefully learn something from it anyway.
A number of years ago, I proposed starting an online fantasy baseball league for the office I was working at. A few others were also interested, and we held a fantasy draft in a conference room at work one day. The season began, and it was a straightforward 5 x 5 rotisserie league (5 batting stats and five pitching stats), and any player moves had to be made by Sunday night, which would then lock the roster in for the rest of the week.
My outfield was bolstered by Shawn Green, who was fresh off a 49 home run season. It’s amazing to think he could hit that many homers and not lead the league (Bonds did that with 73) Ah, the steroid era. And I’m NOT suggesting that Green, or anybody else, used steroids. But hitting 49 homers and tying for 5th place in MLB with two other guys wouldn’t happen today.
Anyway, I patiently waited for Green to start hitting. The rest of the team was doing fine, but Green was the weak link. But my patience ran out and so, in late May, I dropped Green and picked up a player who I’ll never be able to remember. Problem solved, right?
As if to prove something to me, Green went out the next week and hit four home runs. Not for the week, but in one single game. And he threw in a double for good measure. He ended up hitting 42 homers that year, so he obviously got over the indignity of being dropped from my fantasy team. Or maybe he used it as motivation to pick up the pace and start hitting better. If that’s the case, I’m glad I could help.
My point is that I had no reason to believe that Green wasn’t going to be a 35+ home run hitter for the year. He started off poorly, but got hot and made up for it by year’s end. Such is baseball. Such is life, too.
I don’t remember where I ended up in the fantasy standings that year (or any other, really). But the league is still going, after nearly a decade, and I am proud of that. Baseball, fantasy and otherwise, will continue to endure, and as long as it does it will give us memories and stories like this one to share.