Saturday, August 28, 2010

Draft night

It's that time of the year. Children are heading back to school, college kids are pretending classes don't start for another week, the leaves are changing (in New England, not so much in Northern Virginina where the temperature is dropping regularly below 80 degrees for the first time since April) and preseason football is on television: It's draft night.

I'm phoning it in this year, a marked departure from the last six years. My draft blog diary, a la Bill Simmons is below:

8:22 We're debating adding an extra tight end to the roster. Not sure how this is going to work on the field as there are only so many players allowed on the pitch at any one time. Someone needs to call the commissioner. Also, is pitch a soccer-only term? Discuss.

8:23 Debating whether to keep three or four players from each preceding season. Four sort of defeats the purpose of having a draft, in my book. But that's me. The downside of a keeper league is seeing all the best players taken off the table before the draft even starts. That's depressing. Exponentially so if you've invested in any fantasy football magazines.

8:31 We're still discussing changes in the rules. The league pushes for the extra Tight End. I disagree, arguing that if we're going to add another position it ought to be an extra running-back. I am told that, since I'm not there, I have no vote. The league laughs heartily over this.

8:32 Negotiations over draft picks begin. Shea reminds the group that this should have begun weeks ago. The league again laughs heartily.

8:38 We learn that Cooney doesn't have the money to throw in our annual pot this year, because he doesn't have any cash on him. This is after they've ordered pizza. The league is not pleased.

8:41 It's hard to figure out who is keeping who [in terms of players] when everyone keeps describing each other in not very pleasant terms using various ethnic slurs at the same time.

8:43 Maybe the quote of the night: "If we have to search for who you're keeping [this season] than you already know you have problems."

8:44 Should have bought more beer. On my end.

8:45 Cooney keeps Larry Fitzgerald (WR-Arizona). Too bad that team doesn't have a quarterback. Oh they do? But he's not good, right?

8:47 The league is discussing money options. Apparently, too much pizza has been purchased with too few dollars.

8:49 Some sort of disagreement has broken out over whether we should be using highlighters or pens to cross off our picks. Also, what color highlighters, if we were to use highlighters, would determine what. I'm using pencil. I'm like that.

8:53 Here come the war stories of legend, various players getting injured, arrested or killed right after drafts/trades. I have the ultimate trump card: Tom Brady, 2008. That was a season of rotating QB's on my fantasy team. I finished second to last.

8:58 Someone retains Peyton Manning. The first use of a gay slur follows shortly.

9:00 The chant "Bull-Shit" is less enjoyable when heard over a cell phone.

9:09 I guess Reggie Wayne is taken. I must have missed that in my static-filled world. The league laughs heartily.

9:12 I elect to grab Joseph Addai. Not sure how I feel about this pick, but he's dependable, though he does get platooned with Brown a lot. He's solid and I'd rather not see him racking up points on another team. I can count on him for the goal-line runs. I plan on picking another 'back as soon as possible.

9:14 For my second pick, Pierre Garcon. I know, another Colt. But he saw the ball often last year, the go-to-guy after Reggie Wayne. And Peyton likes to throw, damn him, he likes to throw.

9:27 It's amazing how quickly the list of wide receivers dwindles. Not the physical list, but the list of elite wide-outs. After Round 2 I am officially hoping for some luck on the field and especially the waiver line.

9:29 Over the phone drafts are OK. But I miss the personal contact. Getting to insult some one's mother in person is so much more fun. Also, their mental capacity.

9:33 Wes Welker has been drafted. I am informed he's played every preseason game. Egg on my face. Actually, it's mostly in his knee (although I wish him the best and hopes he kicks butt this season. It's the Pat's fan in me). But seriously, is he playing before November? Matthew Berry says no and when has the Talented Mr. Roto ever been wrong?

9:34 And the first Defense has been picked. It's the Jets! J-E-T-S JETS JETS JETS!

9:38 I'm kinda curious, will anyone draft Edelman? I vote no.

9:39 My first phone call ends as the cellular phone in New England is dying. Just plugged mine into the wall to ensure it doesn't happen on this end. How sad is this?

9:46 PBR, a delicious cheap beer? Or the most delicious cheap beer? You decide.

9:47 LT has been picked. Much sooner than I had expected. I really thought I'd pick him up around midnight, when everyone else was delirious with pizza and PBR.

9:49 We've hit that point in the evening. First pick to get floated as a possible trade for another low pick. Excellent. Let the bargain-deals begin.

9:54 "Remember last year, you were hammered," - could be a contender for top quote of the night.

10:02 My phone is plugged into the wall, feeding off of the electrical current for life. I've just taken Donald Driver. Not sure how I feel about him, but Rodgers is expected to do well this year. And if he doesn't, Driver's only a third stringer.

10:06 I'll say it again, but this is much for fun in person. Although, it's nice to see a league last long enough - and stay serious enough - to warrant phone-in draft picks. When this thing started, we were recruiting girlfriends to fill out a 6-team league. I try to keep that in mind as I fork over my $10 and use up all of my Verizon minutes.

10:10 "Wait, he's hurt? Fuck." Quote of the night, hands down. Thank you Cooney.

10:15 Interestingly, the last few rounds last the longest. Not quite the opposite of professional football, but still entertaining. You'd think you'd spend all of your time debating the first few picks, but everyone knows what the score is. The point is to grab as many of the elite caliber guys as possible in the first 3-4 rounds. Once you get out into the boonies, it's just fun.

10:22 I feel like fantasy football, especially the drafts, is extremely silly.

10:32 It's hard to pay attention when all you can here is people shouting over each other. Not that I'm complaining. Also, we're definitely in the weeds.

10:40 It's official, we're calling off random players and you can hear the sound of people shuffling through the lists to take off names.

10:48 Several awkward good-byes later (The League is very concerned about when I will be returning home again. Mostly to contribute my $10 to the winners pot) I am done. Good night.