Over these last few years I have been less and less interested/wrapped up in the excitment of the NCAA Men’s basketball tournament. I still filled out two brackets this year and yet have that connection to the tournament, but I did think about not even doing those briefly.
To me I am much more excited about March because that means I start thinking more about baseball and that I start having fantasy baseball drafts. For me among other things fantasy baseball drafts are a fun way to hang out with friends and meet new people as well. I have long been a baseball fan, and fantasy baseball helps combine two things I like: baseball and numbers/statistics. It is interesting to try to piece together a team in a auction draft, where you have a budget typically of $260 to use imaginary money to buy players. Having the challenge of getting a team that has a good chance at winning the league within that budget. The fun of budgeting your money and figuring out where to spend it, what positions to spend it on and how to balance it on batters and pitchers so that you have enough good players in both of those areas.
There are a few things I think have helped my rise in interest in fantasy baseball over the last three to four years. One is I joined a league with people I have known from my previous jobs and we have an in-person auction draft and that brings the fun aspect of it with hanging out with friends for an evening, with a few of them I only end up seeing once a year at the draft and then interact the rest of the year online. The second part is that there is a cash entry fee that makes the league more competitive and to a certain degree helps keep peoples interest in the league to make that extra push and try to win the league.
Also, the fact that the league is a keeper league, which means we can keep up to nine players from year to year if we want and the strategy that goes into that. Strategy such as do you want to pay the cost it will take to keep the star player you have like maybe say Andrew McCutchen or Miguel Cabrera or go the route of keeping younger players so that you have more flexibility in the auction at the start of the season. The other part to keeper league that makes it fun is that it allows for you to make trades that will hopefully pay dividends the next season in getting a good young player for the star player that you no longer need in the current season since you are no longer in contention. In that way your fantasy team mirrors what happens to MLB teams in real life in building for the future with trades you often see go down at the trading deadline.
All of this fun is kicked off each year in March with the annual fantasy baseball auction or draft and why March Madness has now become more about fantasy baseball to me instead of college basketball.