Rotisserie Roast

April 21, 2002

You smell like a goat. You're unshaven. You work endless hours in
dimly lit caves. You speak a language understood only by others
of your kind. You fear women and put prices on men's heads. And
legions of enemies long to destroy you.

You are, of course, a fantasy baseball geek.

All you care about is your pretend world of major league players
and their stats. You root for numbers, not teams. You have
depersonalized the game, sucked the life out of it; all so you
can say you took $100 off your former friends.

It's not just baseball. Fifteen percent of Americans over 18 have
been in one fantasy sports league or another. There are leagues
for golf, NASCAR, even professional fishing. Dammit, honey, not
now! I'm doing my smelt projections!

And you know you're hopelessly addicted when....

You go to your league draft meeting wearing a cup.

You don't come out to watch your kids hunt for Easter eggs
because you are prepping for the draft.

In bed you ask your wife to call you "the commissioner."

You realize the only person you haven't "activated" all season is
yourself.

You conduct your draft in the Situation Room of the White House
(Sandy Berger, Washington, D.C.).

You go up to a major leaguer and say, "Dude! How you feelin' this
year? 'Cause I'm thinkin' of takin' you in my fantasy draft, and
you kinda let me down on the ribbies last year, bro!" (Can you
imagine if a ballplayer hassled you at work? "Hey, Harlan! How
many transmissions you think you're good for this season? 'Cause
I got you in my mechanics league, and you hurt me on your lubes
last year, y'know?")

The league newsletter you slave over every week is far better
than anything you produce in your real job.

You end a longtime friendship over the trade value of Baltimore
Orioles reliever Jorge Julio.

You refuse to watch any channel that doesn't run a sports scroll
at the bottom of the screen.

During sex, you catch yourself wondering whether you should
activate Steve Cox.

You leave the hospital early after knee surgery, insist that the
person driving you home stop at a pay phone and then stand there
for an hour and a half so you won't miss your draft (Dan Patrick,
Bristol, Conn.).

After a particularly good week you dump a cooler of Gatorade over
your head.

You contemplate waiting in the players' parking lot and running
over Alex Rodriguez's toe in hopes of moving up in your fantasy
standings.

You call an official scorer at home and berate him for taking a
hit away from one of your players.

When asked by your kid whom he could write about in a report on
great Americans, you suggest Peter Gammons.

You hope to get the house to yourself at night so you can call a
1-900 fantasy baseball line.

You curse the Internet sites with live box scores for refreshing
only every 30 seconds.

You cut and paste together your official team photo.

Your witty conversation begins to run the gamut from your fantasy
baseball team to your fantasy football team.

In the last hour of the weekly trade deadline you instruct your
secretary to put through only calls from fantasy league players.

In the maternity ward you make a good trade in between your
wife's contractions.

The number 1-800-BOXSCOR is on your speed dial.

And your girlfriend's number isn't.

You utter the sentence, "Honey, I'm up to 3,129th out of 8,000 in
the Jackpot.com fantasy league!"

You wonder if you could get a tan from monitor glow.

You communicate constantly with people named JockItch and
BallparkFrank--though you've never met them.

You are more excited about minor league prospects than dating
prospects.

You take a second job in order to buy John Smoltz.

Your wife leaves you in May for her lambada instructor, and you
don't notice until the All-Star break.

You realize that the real fantasy is that you have a life.

COLOR PHOTO: DANA FINEMAN/SYGMA

You root for numbers, not teams. You have depersonalized
baseball, sucked the life out of it.

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)