It’s the most wonderful time of the year. Playoff beards are a plenty in anticipation of the start of the hockey postseason in just two days. The Red Sox and Yankees sluggish starts make for a tense beginning to a normally tedious baseball season. The Atlantic division is up for grabs as the Knicks, Celtics and Sixers add drama to the end of the shortened basketball season. However April, like March, vanishes like all moments of euphoria, hastily and elusively. In two months, we’ll be longing for multiple viewing options, as a White Sox – Orioles game lulls us into a summer coma. The antidote for long days of humidity and PBA bowling? Fantasy Baseball!
For the first time in my life, I’ve drafted a fantasy baseball team. It always just felt too high maintenance for me. A football season is 16 games, which made fantasy upkeep necessary but not suffocating. The prospect of organizing a lineup 162 games a year was intimidating and just kind of felt not worth it, but I decided to give it a shot and am already feeling the rewards. The beauty of fantasy baseball is exactly what kept me away from it. The constant attention required to maintain a team keeps you involved in the day to day of baseball. It’s an activity that distracts the audience from just how slow the game can be at times. For a younger generation that is growing more disillusioned with baseball by the year, fantasy is a final hope to keep the youth entertained. So for now it’ll be fine ignoring baseball, occasionally checking in during empty moments of the impending playoffs. However when the deep summer hits, and you need your fix for a true adrenaline pump from sports, you’ll realize that fantasy is the perfect way for attention-fleeting fans like me to keep busy.
Tuesday night, three-time NL MVP Albert Pujols was mulling over 10-year offers from both the Miami Marlins and the St. Louis Cardinals. Come Wednesday, the Anaheim Angels came out of nowhere to land the former St. Louis slugger with a $254 million, 10-year contract. Pujols’ deal includes a full no-trade clause, which Albert had been seeking and may have been considering a sticking point in his negotiations with Miami. The 31 year-old Pujols’ contract, is the second-highest in baseball history and only the third to break the $200 million barrier, following Alex Rodriguez’s $252 million, 10-year deal with Texas before the 2001 season and A-Rod’s $275 million, 10-year contract with the Yankees before the 2008 season.
Los Angeles also landed C.J. Wilson, who agreed to a five-year, $77.5 million contract, and was considered the top starting pitcher on the free-agent market. On Wednesday, the Angels spent $335M in four hours on Albert Pujols & CJ Wilson. The Miami Heat spent $343M to ink LeBron/Wade/Bosh combined last year! To add even more perspective to these signings, Arte Moreno, owner of the Anaheim Angels, paid only $184 million for the franchise in 2003.
The Angels shocked the baseball world Wednesday morning! They are a different franchise now than they were a week ago. They have tied themselves to the face, the bat and the aura of the Best Player in Baseball — for the next decade, anyway. And we’ll never be able to view them quite the same way again, no matter how this turns out.