2006 – Dick Dogs


Fantasy Baseball is a marathon, not a sprint. The 2006 Durham Dick Dogs paced thier way to the Shooter Cup Championship.

October 2nd, 2005 the Durham Dick Dogs had completed a last ditched effort to avoid the basement and dreaded ‘Fantasy Baseball for Dummies’ award for the second consecutive season. After spending back to back seasons building a core of keepers worthy of taking a run at the most coveted prize in fantasy sport, the Shooter Cup, our long and mysterious journey awaited us…

March 11th, 2006 was a beautiful Saturday morning full of hope, promise and dreams of hoisting the Shooter Cup as 11 owners (1 via satellite) gathered at Five Tool Software headquarters to begin the 5th rendition of the OBFBL draft! Durham had an average draft at best opting to select various disappointing stars such as Lidge, Beltre, Clement & Perez. On the flip side of the coin they managed to land some veterans coming off poor seasons in Giambi & Mussina and landed a future star in Atkins. This example goes to show you, a Shooter Cup will not be won at the draft table, however it can be lost. Since I’m on the topic I’d like to thank Larry for talking me out of drafting Webb in the 4th round and pushing me towards Lowry. This is quite possibly the only poor fantasy advice I’ve ever received from Mr. Ellis.

To ensure success it’s important to view baseball players as commodities and not people. Far too often owners get emotionally attached to a given star and will refuse to deal him regardless of price. I myself have been guilty of this as I hold a soft spot for Grady Sizemore, although if I truly felt dealing him would secure a championship parade in Durham, I would not hesitate to pull the trigger. March 24th, 2006 Durham pulled its first deal of the season prior to opening day. Upon drafting a surplus of closers we dealt from strength to address an offensive weakness.

Durham Dick Dogs to receive:
Raul Ibanez (2006): .289 avg, 103 r, 33 hr, 123 rbi & 2 sb (yahoo rank – 48)

Beaverton Gapping Gash to receive:
Joe Borowski (2006): 3 w, 36 sv, 64 k, 3.75 era, 1.38 whip (yahoo rank – 148)

Looking at the final standings, this trade helped me keep pace with Port Delousie in the offensive categories (52 of a possible 55 offensive roto pts) and did not effect my position in the saves category (11 roto pts – 170 saves).

Opening day had come and gone creating a 6 month journey ahead of us. It’s much like a poker game where each owner stands pat waiting for the other to go “all in”. In fantasy terms “all in” equates to dealing a stud keeper, 1st round material to obtain the depth necessary to address various needs and insulate against injuries and slumps. With every “all in” action there’s subsequent reaction. Where one owner draws a line in the sand and says “This is my year”, another has raised the white flag and opted for greener pastures.

April 16th, 2006 the first owner to draw the preverbal line in the sand was non other than Chris Lowry a.k.a. Pepsi. One of, if not the most successful franchise in OBFBL history, his actions sent tremors across the land. Beaverton made a bold statement by sending arguably the best fantasy starting pitcher this decade, Johan Santana, to the Port Delouise High Tops. Many had thought this was an indication that Larry had raised the white flag……little did we know.

April 22nd, 2006 Durham still not prepared to go “all in” opted to make a smaller and more strategic move which would pay dividends later in the year:

Durham Dick Dogs to receive:
Roger Clemens (2006): 7 w, 102 k, 2.30 era & 1.04 whip (yahoo rank – 138)

Ajax Super Sods to receive:
Garrett Atkins (2006): .329 avg, 117 r, 29 hr, 120 rbi & 4 sb (yahoo rank – 19)

This was a perfect trade, Durham rolled the dice on Clemens coming back to pitch in 2006 and Ajax rolled the dice on a young kid off to a hot start. As you can see, Ajax received the superior player however Durham addressed its pitching weaknesses required to make a cup run.

The next owner to “tap out” was none other than defending Shooter Cup champion Mike Conley. Frankford exhausted their resources during the 2005 stretch run and knew 2006 was going to be a rebuilding year. Although Durham was heavily involved with Frankford in trade talks surrounding Guerrero, Mike went in another direction and obtained Teixeira from Etobicoke. This deal vaulted owner Sean Chard into the forefront as he managed to deal a struggling superstar for an abundance of talent. It was then Durham circum to the pressure and made a knee jerk decision.

May 3rd, 2006 Durham owner Steven Dickie caught the next flight to Seoul Korea to discuss an “all in” deal with Damon Hawkey involving fan favorite Carlos Beltran:

Durham Dick Dogs to receive:
Scott Rolen (2006): .296 avg, 94 r, 22 hr, 95 rbi & 7 sb (yahoo rank – 103)
J.D. Drew (2006): .283 avg, 84 r, 20 hr, 100 rbi & 2 sb (yahoo rank – 162)
Cliff Lee (2006): 14 w, 129 k, 4.40 era & 1.41 whip (yahoo rank – 150)
Chad Cordero (2006): 7 w, 29 sv, 69 k, 3.19 era & 1.10 whip (yahoo rank – 65)
Pepsi’s 2006 rk pick

Seoul Snot Rockets to receive:
Carlos Beltran (2006): .275 avg, 127 r, 41 hr, 116 rbi & 18 sb (yahoo rank – 10)

This was by far the worst move our organization made in 2006. After supporting Carlos through a difficult first season in New York we had him on a short leash heading into 2006. With complete disregard for the “buy low, sell high” philosophy Durham put itself in a position where another “all in” move would be required to continue their quest for the Shooter Cup.

June 4th, 2006 Etobicoke continued to strengthen their team sending Carlos Lee to Beaverton in exchange for various pieces. Unfortunately Beaverton suffered some early injuries which would make a run at the holly grail a difficult one. Hindsight is 20/20 and had Pepsi known the injury bug was lurking, he would not have dealt Santana. Look to Beaverton to be more cautious when pulling keeper deals in the future.

In unorthodox fashion, on June 7th, 2006 Larry Ellis shocked the OBFBL world when he decided to trade NY Met phenom David Wright to North York in exchange for numerous closers and starting pitchers. Although the High Tops could afford to deal their excess of offense, it was out of character for them to deal such a high profile superstar. This had become a 3 legged race between Etobicoke, Port Delousie and Durham.

Not to be outdone, on June 9th, 2006 Sean Chard teamed up with Chris Lowry to deal the most successful rookie keeper pick in the history of the OBFBL, Ryan Howard. Etobicoke had made a statement that they were serious about success (Devry WHAT!) and would not be pushed around.

Durham was slowly falling from contender to pretender and had to do something to keep up with the Jones’. Then all of a sudden, Durham’s fantasy season took a huge hit as Rich Harden was hit with yet again a serious arm injury. Durham thought this would be the straw that broke the camels back yet in a last ditched effort choose to issue multiple offers for the immensely talented yet oft injured star. Well, the fantasy gods we’re looking down upon them that June 10th, 2006 afternoon as the following deal was processed:

Durham Dick Dogs to receive:
Adam Dunn (2006): .234 avg, 99 r, 40 hr, 92 rbi & 7 sb (yahoo rank – 122)

Ajax Super Sods to receive:
Rich Harden (2006): 4 w, 49 k, 4.24 era & 1.22 whip (yahoo rank – 379)

Carey Gunn was in rebuilding mode and pounced on the opportunity to land such a remarkable talent. In return Durham landed a young powerful stick which would push his offense in an upward direction in hopes of competing with Sean and Larry. Of note, Durham managed to win their first monthly prize in June! After a hot June, the Dick Dog offense began to slow as they approached August. It was once again time to address the power outage.

Durham Dick Dogs to receive:
Carlos Delgado (2006): .265 avg, 89 r, 38 hr, 114 rbi & 0 sb (yahoo rank – 84)

North York Muff Divers to receive:
Rafael Furcal (2006): .300 avg, 113 r, 15 hr, 63 rbi & 37 sb (yahoo rank – 55)
Pepsi’s 2006 rk pick

Although I lost this deal, I could afford to lose the avg, r & sb Furcal provided due to my healthy lead in each of those categories. The hr and rbi battle between Larry, Sean and I was so fierce that something had to be done. It’s ok to lose a deal on an individual basis provided it betters your team as a whole. After all, is a keeper downgrade worth a shot at the Shooter Cup? In my opinion, yes it is! As they saying goes “there’s no ‘I’ in team”.

It was during BRT IV at a Marriot hotel in Cincinnati where opportunity knocked and I answered. Sean Chard, 1st time BRT participant, had approached me regarding a deal which would send Vlad to Etobicoke. At first I was taken back, was Chard drunk? After all it was BRT and we all know BRT & sobriety don’t exactly go hand and hand. As it turned out, Sean had run the figures and felt it wasn’t his year and with the trade deadline upon us, this was his last chance to improve on next season.

Some may say I could have won without pulling this deal but I’m adverse to risk and jumped at the opportunity to eliminate yet another team from the equation. On Aug 22nd, 2006 the following deal was processed:

Durham Dick Dogs to receive:

Jason Bay (2006): .286 avg, 101 r, 35 hr, 109 rbi, 11 sb (yahoo rank -43)
John Smoltz (2006): 16 w, 211 k, 3.49 era & 1.19 whip (yahoo rank – 26)
Curt Shilling (2006): 15 w, 183 k, 3.97 era, 1.22 whip (yahoo rank – 56)
Huston Street (2006): 4 w, 37 sv, 67 k, 3.31 era & 1.09 whip (yahoo rank – 67)
Dan Uggla (2006): .282 avg, 105 r, 27 hr, 90 rbi & 6 sb (yahoo rank – 93)
Edgar Renteria (2006): .293 avg, 100 r, 14 hr, 70 rbi & 17 sb (yahoo rank – 136)
J. J. Putz (2006): 4 w, 36 sv, 104 k, 2.30 era & 0.92 whip (yahoo rank – 24)

Etobicoke to receive:
Vladimir Guererro (2006): .329 avg, 92 r, 33 hr, 116 rbi & 15 sb (yahoo – 16)

Action which occurred between the OBFBL trade deadline and the completion of the MLB regular season seems nothing but a blur. Night in and night out it appeared as though there would not be a clear cut winner and the race between the High Tops and Dick Dogs would come down to the very last day! 3 days prior to the conclusion of the regular season I contemplated proposing Larry and I split both the 1st and 2nd place prizes and simply fight for the cup. This was of course due to my lack of confidence in Durham’s ability to win. However as I’ve stated before, it’s not about the money; it’s about the Shooter Cup. I wanted it all or nothing!

In the end Durham was victorious at achieving the goal they set out to obtain in 2004 (1st rebuilding year). It was a long, winding road and in the end a most deserving championship if I do say so myself.

Thanks to everyone for fighting hard and making this my most enjoyable fantasy season thus far.