Fantasy Owners Suffer From 'Sheets Apnea'

By BILL KONIGSBERG
Associated Press
Thursday, June 8, 2006; 6:01 PM

Feel churning in your gut every time you watch baseball? Chances are you're suffering from one of the myriad fantasy baseball psychoses out there.

You're not alone, if that makes you feel better. (It probably doesn't.)

The only known cure is complete abstinence from fantasy sports. To get back to the place where you no longer feel personally invested in every at-bat, every pitch, here's my advice: Stop. Don't play anymore. Go back to your spouse, your family, doing actual work at the office. Pet your dog.

If you can't, or won't, you're probably suffering from one of these afflictions:

Turnbowphobia

Condition: A type of paranoid delusional narcissism, Turnbowphobia is the belief that the television knows who is on your fantasy team and has the power to change outcomes of games just to torture you. Just because every time you turn on a game you see Derrick Turnbow blow another lead in the ninth doesn't mean your Sony has special abilities.

The guy blows a ton of save opportunities.

Alternately, the illness includes an obsession with the idea that Turnbow recently has imploded only because you traded for him.

Prognosis:Treatments include trading Turnbow for anything: A can of soda, two sour cream Pringles, Matt Lawton. Treatment side effects include the likelihood that you'll begin to notice, days after the trade, that your TV keeps switching to Turnbow walking triumphantly off the mound after successful saves.

Better perhaps to live with the chronic illness.

Sheets Apnea

Condition: The recurring nightmares about the day of your draft, when you were choosing between Ben Sheets and Brandon Webb with your 10th pick. The illness manifests itself in the way your brain keeps slowing down the part where you said the word "Sheets" because you were afraid they'd all laugh at you for taking a Diamondbacks pitcher so early.

Prognosis: The treatment is time. Within a month, you'll be sleeping more soundly as the Brewers ace returns to the mound. But can one ever really sleep soundly when relying on Sheets? The arm is fine, but how's his back? How's his inner ear? You can't sell now. Get used to the sleepless nights.

De Jesus Complex

Condition: Named after David De Jesus, the Royals outfielder who any day now is going to become a five-category fantasy star. Soon, maybe. Him, and Mark Teahen, and John Buck. Just you wait. De Jesus could be the second coming of Rickey Henderson, just without the speed. And less power.

Those with this affliction actually believe that day will come for these Royals players with all their potential.

Prognosis: De Jesus is 26, approaching his prime, and while he's yet to reach double digits in steals or home runs in his first two seasons, he's come close and should be available in almost all mixed leagues. He has talent, and the only way is up. Just don't buy the idea that he's still learning how to steal bases. He has 13 in his first 230 major league games. It doesn't take three years to learn how to steal a base.

Delusions of Granderson

Condition: A grandiose sense of accomplishment based on having drafted Tigers outfielder Curtis Granderson. He's been every bit as good as the hype, and you feel that you've, in a way, discovered him. 20-home run, 20-stolen base candidates don't grow on trees, and you found one late in the draft. You're amazing, aren't you?

Prognosis: Get real. You can't discover a human being, and in fantasy baseball terms Granderson already had a track record, hitting eight home runs with a .272 average in 162 at-bats last season. He's producing at just about the same clip this year. He's officially no longer a sleeper, so put away your delusions.

Delirium Timmons (aka Fahey Jitters)

Condition: Also known as Fahey Jitters, these are the anxious body tremors that accompany the rush to your computer as you try to pick up just-promoted fringe players. Named after Ozzie Timmons, a now-retired Cubs outfielder who many times was called up midseason to no avail, the disease infects fantasy owners who have the philosophy that any player has a chance to be the next Albert Pujols. Hence the mad rush to the computer when light-hitting Orioles second baseman Brandon Fahey joined the big leagues in late April.

Prognosis: Mostly heartache. In AL-only and NL-only leagues, it's sometimes necessary to take a flyer on a Fahey, or an Omar Quintanilla of the Rockies. The vast majority of these lesser-known rookies or longtime minor leaguers barely make a splash. Save your waiver-wire trolling for big names. If you recently picked up Kendry Morales of the Angels or Jason Botts of the Rangers, good job. But those were names that expert fantasy owners already knew. Don't drop a perfectly usable player for the next Fahey. Spare yourself the jitters.

Quick Hits

Orioles OF Corey Patterson had his streak of nine games with a stolen base snapped on June 6. Through June 8, he's the major league leader in steals and appears to have the green light at all times despite batting sixth. He's a must play now. Blue Jays RHP Casey Janssen, a rookie, currently has an 0.91 WHIP through his first 49 innings. That's second to Pedro Martinez in all of baseball. Janssen is a smart two-start pitcher next week, going up against the Orioles and Marlins.


© 2006 The Associated Press