Having our "HEY PHIL, EJECT THIS" sign ejected from the Rogers Centre. Irritating the Yankee pitching staff from all the way up in the 500 level so much that they complained to stadium security. Richard Griffin telling me in person how much he disliked an article about him without realizing I had written the article. These things were the very definition of Dubious Achievements. And now I may have out-dubiously achieved all of our exploits.
I didn't set out to create the World's Worst Fantasy Baseball League. But guys... Oh man, have I ever done a bad thing.
It started innocently enough. I was given a CBS Sports Fantasy Pool as a thank-you, and while I figured I'd never use it, I decided to see what makes it different from the free pools that I'm accustomed to. I noticed that I could make really terrible roster rules, like setting minimum numbers for injured players. And then I saw the scoring. Oh, the scoring! Catcher Interference can be a scoring category? Balks? Hit Batters? Batting Average with Runners In Scoring Position? Suddenly I was really into making a fantasy league that rewards terrible players. I started pitching the idea to Bauxites past and present. Rob Pettapiece called it "the kind of league David Cronenberg would run." He promptly signed up.
And then I noticed the button that said Custom Stat Categories. Clicking that button changed everything. Suddenly I was able to add stats to other stats, multiply them against irrelevant stats, chop them into pieces and repackage them like so many toxic mortgages. My first attempt was so completely nonsensical that I named it Moustache Quality (2012 leader: Garrett Olson). I made an equally complex-yet-useless stat that combined obscure measurements of hitting and fielding and called it Intangibles (Reed Johnson, 2012: 1353; Curtis Granderson, 2012: 0).
While discussing it with my friend Neil, he suggested making a statistic that rewards Adam Dunn and calling it Effort. We came up with a formula that involves multiplying home runs by strikeouts with a few other modifiers. Here are the last four years of Effort Leaders, along with their scores:
2012: Adam Dunn, 105%
2011: Mark Reynolds, 88%
2010: Adam Dunn, 87%
2009: Mark Reynolds, 110%
Notable no-Effort bum: Alex Rios, who scored 26%, 11% and 23% over the last three years.
Suddenly I had 36 teams registered in my fantasy league.
Naming some of the stats became hard. Sure, the stat that combined Balks, Wild Pitches, Hit Batsmen and Home Runs Allowed was a measure of Pitcher Mood (later renamed Grumpiness, and more recently renamed Fortitude), but what about this thing that multiples Caught Stealing, Hits with Runners In Scoring Position, Intentional Walks Received, Men Left On Base, Double Plays Started, Putouts and Triples by each other to come up with a ridiculous nonsense number?
I was trying to describe how one of the stats was measured, and a coworker asked if I was talking about Dungeons and Dragons.
HELL YES, WE ARE TALKING ABOUT DUNGEONS AND DRAGONS. I immediately renamed the league and all of the statistics. We no longer had teams, now we had Parties. Defensive stats? Armour Class, Dexterity. Offensive stats? Strength, Gold. Pitchers are now Wizards. And so on.
We draft in a week. I'll leave the last word to Friend of the Box Spencer Fordin:
"This looks awful."