Yep, it's been a while since you heard anything from the ongoing Twinkie Town Fantasy Baseball League, but we've wrapped the season now and the winner is...Mike Fix's Nathan's Elbow.
In which the season concludes and lessons are, perhaps, learned.
That shouldn't be a surprise if you read the Week 5 update in which I described how thoroughly Nathan's Elbow was dominating the league. What you probably don't know, unless you were in the league (since I never got around to mentioning it) is that Fix's win wasn't completely effortless, nor was it a wire-to-wire win (since, technically, Neil Fennell's Dr. Neau led the league at the end of week one).
But while Nathan's Elbow was racing out to an early lead, as high as 37 points during week six, Justin Taylor's Hometown Discount hung back, planning and waiting for his moment. And, sure enough, the standings started to move, thanks to the Law of Competitive Balance.
If you're not familiar with the Law of Competitive Balance, it can help explain how bad teams improve and good teams get worse, even though everybody involved is trying their best. In the simplest version applicable here, the Law says that, if you've got a really good player at a position and lose that player due to injury, it's really hard to replace his production; if, however, you have a really crap player and lose him, it's a lot easier to replace him, and it's even possible that the replacement will be an improvement over the original (this will become even more important later).
So, when the inevitable injuries and such began washing over the league, Hometown Discount slowly began making his move, first moving up from down 37 in week six to down 23 at the end of week nine, down 17.5 at the end of week twelve, down 14.5 at the All-Star Break. Then, after a minor setback, the pursuit continued, with HD down 12 at week twenty, then breaking single digits to be down just 7 points with five weeks to go. Unfortunately, that's as close as he'd get on a weekly basis (after one day's games, HD was down just six points and may have even gotten closer when I wasn't noticing), and the Elbow ended up winning by nine.
Then there's the third place team...run by yours truly.
Yes, I know I've prefaced the few reports I've filed as 'bottomfeeder's reports', and when I was posting them it was largely true; the week five report in which I lamented the Elbow's hot start saw my club in eleventh out of fourteen teams with one of the worst offenses in the league. I wish I could say that it was skill and determination that projected my ballclub up from the cellar into a comfortable third-place finish, but mostly it was the aforementioned Law of Competitive Balance.
Back in week six, for instance, I managed to grab Jose Bautista as a free agent - -yes, the same Jose Bautista who ended up leading the AL in home runs. But I can't take credit for my 'leet skillz'; for each Jose Bautista or Juan Uribe I cleaned off the waiver wire, I tried out a Nate Robertson or Trevor Plouffe and dumped him again. Basically I was cycling free agents until I found some who'd stick. In real baseball, that'd lead to a riot in the clubhouse. In this league, it got me third place.
So thanks for the games, Adam -- it really was a fun run. And congrats to Mike Fix for his near wire-to-wire league championship. Here's hoping next year's games are fun, too.