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Have you ever gotten really upset over how a TV series or a movie ended? An ending so disappointing that it makes you stand up and scream, "What?!?!" We've all experienced this, whether it's "The Sopranos" suddenly going to black, the "Seinfeld" crew all ending up in jail, or M. Night Shyamalan trying to get you with yet another clever twist that turns out to be not so clever after all. But as much as you may not have wanted Ilsa to get on that plane in "Casablanca," that's the ending you're stuck with. It's not going to change, no matter how much you complain.
Now, I may not like how a screenwriter chose to end his film, whether it's a good movie like "The Shawshank Redemption" -- if the whole point of the movie, as Morgan Freeman keeps reminding us, is the power of hope, then I don't need to see that he eventually does meet up with Tim Robbins, I can have faith that he will get there -- an utter fiasco like "Sphere," where the characters simply "forget" everything that had happened to them, or Mick Dundee finally tying the knot with his "baby mama," but that is indeed the ending, like it or not.
The same thing applies to fantasy baseball. We may call it "fantasy," but it has to have some sort of basis in reality. You can certainly be selective about which stats to count and which ones to ignore when you set up your league's categories, but once you make that call, you can't pick and choose which of those stats to count on an ad hoc basis once the games get under way. You have to go with what Major League Baseball says is what happened. Unfortunately, not everybody understands this
March 26: Rich Harden has a great outing in Japan against the Red Sox, going six innings and striking out nine batters while allowing only one run and getting the win for Oakland.
|Rich Harden started the season on a high note in Japan, long before many leagues drafted.|
Not allowing an owner who drafted Rhodes to get credit for those home runs when he did in fact hit them makes no sense. Everybody knew they were there and had an equal shot at drafting Tuffy. The same goes for Rich Harden. If the draft took place after the fact, everybody knew Harden had pitched as well as he had and was drafting that performance, just like Brandon Moss and his one home run, or Emil Brown and his four RBIs. To deny that these games took place is not living in reality. Kevin Youkilis went 1-for-7 in those two games. Was I really going to lower him on my draft list because of that? No! So if I am allowed to get credit for his 5-for-8 in two games in Oakland, why shouldn't I also have to count the stats that weren't as good from the first two games of the season?
I don't buy the argument that allowing these stats retroactively is unfair. After all, how many more at-bats has Moss had since then? Zero. That's not exactly helping your team win. The point is that if we're going to play a game where we use real-life stats to determine who wins, you have to use all the real-life stats, not just the ones that happened at a convenient time for you. But it could be worse
Would you believe that some Pujols owners actually argued they should get credit for the home run? After all, he hit it. They saw it. It happened, right? Strangely enough, I couldn't find a single Jeff Francis owner who argued the same thing. Look, it certainly is frustrating when your player does well and then the game gets called off and you get robbed of a nice performance. But you can't be manually adding these stats into your league's results. They are not official. You can't use them. Period. Still, even if your league manager decided that Pujols' dinger should count, as wrong a call as it is, it's not the worst decision I heard in the past week. No, that prize goes to
April 2: Tim Lincecum was scheduled to start, but due to the very real possibility of a rain delay, he was held back by Bruce Bochy. Eventually, Lincecum was brought into the game out of the bullpen and pitched four innings. He even ended up with the victory.
|Tim Lincecum only pitched four innings to get his first win of the season because he entered the game in relief.|
Plus, if your league says your starting lineup has to have six starters and three relievers, and you allow a pitcher to be classified as a reliever after only one relief appearance, guess what? Tim Lincecum's owner can now play for him in one of his relief pitcher spots. If you don't like it, then make sure you change the definition of a reliever next season to avoid a one-time bullpen outing creating an unwanted loophole. However, you can't keep your eyes wide shut and simply declare that Lincecum started the game, when he clearly didn't, any more than we can pretend Stanley Kubrick didn't kill off Scatman Crothers in "The Shining" for no apparent reason whatsoever.
We may not always like how the movie ends, but that doesn't mean we can change that Roy Hobbs home run into a strikeout, just because that's what we were hoping to see happen.
Fade to black.
AJ Mass is a fantasy football, baseball and college basketball analyst for ESPN.com. You can e-mail him here.