Jewish Fantasy Baseball: 2011 Season
It's that time of year again, when good Jewish boys throw on baseball caps and batting helmets over their keepahs and take the field, proving to the goyim that a shnozz and penchant for kvetching doesn't mean the chosen people can't dominate America's pastime.
And that means it's time for another season of Jewish Fantasy Baseball.
I've had my successes over the years, drafting solely Jewish, or Jewish-sounding players. But last year, the Homering Hebrews didn't fare so well. Ian Kinsler was injured for much of the year. So was Kevin Youkilis. Ryan Braun had a solid, but unspectacular season. The emergence of young, only recently Bar Mitzvahed rookies, Ike Davis and Danny Valencia, helped the chosen team, but it wasn't pretty.
This year, I ran into a bit of a problem setting up my Slugging Semites squad. I've always used MLB.com, because it only required choosing a pitching staff, not individual pitchers, and because I could work the autodraft to maximize the possibility of getting all the Jewish players I required.
I'm not sure why, but MLB.com has redone their fantasy baseball site, and its ridiculously difficult to use. I found it impossible to prerank players. After several attempts, I gave up.
So I've drafted a team on Yahoo!. Doing so presented new difficulties. I'd have to fill out a whole pitching staff, using limited Jewish starters. I'd have to fill two utility player spots. Yahoo uses daily lineup changes, not weekly ones. And the way Yahoo!'s head-to-head system works, it would be difficult/impossible to pull out a win. If I stuck to my old methodology, I'd have empty roster spots and wouldn't be able to compete.
So this year, I've taken a different approach.
1. I've drafted only Jewish players (and Jewish-sounding players). I had to make a trade to nab Kevin Youkilis.
2. I will not drop any active Jewish players during the course of the season, unless it's to add a better performing Jewish player.
3. Now, here's the big change: Otherwise unfilled roster spots can be filled by non-Jewish players available on the waiver wire. Much like the brave resistance fighters who helped the Jews during the Holocaust, these players will assist the Jew Crew on their quest to win a championship.
Here's the team I came away with:
Here's the rundown:
C- Russell Martin. Not Jewish. But he's played his ball in LA and NY, so he's had experience in our world. Unfortunately, with the retirement of Brad Ausmus, there are no Jewish catchers in the bigs.
1B- Adam Lind. Probably not Jewish. But the name certainly fits the bill. He had a down year last year, but is more than capable of topping 30 HRs.
2B- Ian Kinsler. When healthy, one of the most feared Jewish hitters in the major leagues. Unfortunately, he's been a bit too much like a glass under the chuppah on a Jewish wedding day.
3B- Ryan Zimmerman. Not a Jew, but a Chosen Team veteran with 30 HR power.
SS- Derek Jeter. What to do, what to do? I've offered 500 shekels for a Jewish shortstop, but until Jake Lemmerman comes along, I got nobody. Even David Eckstein, Jew-in-name-only (JINO) has retired. So I'm gonna use this unverified google find to justify the captain, number 2, as the Gefilte Grand Slams starting shortstop.
OF- Ryan Braun. Jewish, and a multiple Adam's Life Sluggin' Semite of the Year award winner, this guy is the guy that lights this team's shabbos candles. I picked him up for my very first Jewish Fantasy Baseball squad way back in 2007. He's been a winner ever since.
OF - Travis Snider. Probably not Jewish. But Snider sounds close. He's a young guy with oodles of potential. Yes, I said oodles. A 20 HR season isn't out of reach.
OF- Sam Fuld. Jewish... and, this just in: Manny Ramirez has retired. And that paves the way for Fuld to cement a job in the Tampa Bay lineup. He's started off the season strong, leading off and stealing 4 bases. Can he hold off highly touted prospect Desmond Jennings? If he keeps up what he's doing, we might see a Florida baseball team host a Jewish Heritage Day for a player who's actually Jewish.
UTIL- Kevin Youkilis. Jewish, and can play both 1B and 3B in a pinch. Oy, I haven't seen versatility like that since Lainie Kazan played Greek.
UTIL- Ike Davis. Jewish. Ike broke out for the Mets last year, surprising them with a new found power stroke. Just like Moses surprised the Egyptians with that whole parting the Red Sea thing.
BN- Danny Valencia. Jewish, manning the hot corner for Minnesota this year. Yes, Jewish even with that name.
BN- Lance Berkman. Not Jewish. But Lance has been to the hora many times before, as an original team member. He's getting older-- can he thrive playing right field?
SP-Max Scherzer. Probably not Jewish. But this team's Ks have to come from somewhere.
SP-Clay Buchholz. Also probably not Jewish. But Theo Epstein, GM of the Red Sox is!
RP-J.J. Putz. Do I really have to explain this one?
RP-Craig Breslow. Jewish. Hoping he can steal some saves.
BN-Jordan Zimmermann. Probably not Jewish. But I think the extra "N' at the end of Zimmermann stands for "never one to miss a simcha."
BN-Randy Wolf. Not Jewish. But Lazar Wolf was.
BN-Jesse Litsch. Probably not Jewish. But I know a kid named Jeremy Lisch who is. Started off the season strong.
BN-Jason Marquis. Jewish. I'm hoping the Nationals give him plenty of run support.
BN-Scott Feldman. Jewish. On the DL to start the year, and I'm hoping he can bring that ERA and WHIP down from last season.
BN-Anibal Sanchez. Jewish. No, just kidding. But I need Ks, and this guy can get them.
DL-Stephen Strasburg. Not Jewish. But if he comes back at any point this year, he could be almost as big a hero to the Jews as King David.
Will I win my league? My offense is pretty good. Pitching... well, hopefully Scott Schoeneweis will be converted to a starter and suddenly become incredibly good. It's gonna come down to one thing. A little help from the man upstairs. Not Jesus.
If anything though, putting together this team has made me proud that despite my religion's un-athletic reputation, we've got quite a few "Braun-y" boys making themselves known throughout baseball.
Let's play ball!