It’s the most…wonderful time…of the year?

Fantasy baseball is gearing up. A whole season lies ahead, with me preparing to “field” two teams again.

My more important league is $50/person with 14 teams, and is run by two very cool and committed guys from a previous league. All of the owners are active, judging by the tons of trades I made over the past couple months. We’ve already cut down to a $150 salary cap before the draft. For the draft on March 16, I have $162 in salary to spend on 9 roster spots. To compare, the other guys have anywhere from 14 to 26 spots to fill, with anywhere from $135 to $179.

In preparation, I’m putting together lists of all the guys who weren’t kept (or weren’t owned previously), compiling their stats from last year, then ranking them based on stats and my gut instincts.

The other league is a no-money league with my buddy Charlie and various friends and colleagues of his. It’s more for pride, that league. We’re only allowed to keep six guys from the previous year (a lame rule that most of us dislike), no salaries involved. I have to submit my keepers soon, and just asked for advice from a couple guys in League #1.

I have a rather extensive history with fantasy baseball. My first team, Rubin’s Rookies, was in the U.R.B.L. Tea League at my undergrad alma mater. (Ursinus Rotisserie Baseball League, if your curiosity was piqued.) I was the first student allowed into the league, which had players including the dean of academics, the baseball coaches, the sports information director, one of my English professors, and the director of admissions. I will never forget riding my bike back to my house on a warm night, thrilled that I had Darryl Strawberry for cheap. (He sucked.)

Charlie actually helped me a bunch the following year, when the Rookies became Harley’s Wallbangers. After graduating, I ended up in another league I found online with a bunch of mostly Pennsylvania guys. But the money league I’m in now is far superior.

Nutshell: 15 years of fantasy baseball, 0 championships on my own. Last year, came in 5th out of 14 in the money league, and 3rd out of 15 in the free league.