The other day I was asked who my favorite baseball team is. I instantly replied with my fantasy team name. Wait, What?! Did I just say what I think I did? I couldn’t believe it. I’ve always been a Cubs fan, but now I find myself holding my fantasy team in higher regard than an actual MLB team.
This got me thinking, how has fantasy sports taken away the want or desire to be a fan of a real life team? I had confirmation of my answer the other night as I watched the Cubs play the Marlins. In my fantasy baseball league I have Dontrell Willis, who of course was pitching that night. I found myself rooting for him to shut down the Cubs so I could get as many points as possible. Late in the game, the Cubs rallied, and part of me was glad they did. Not because the Cubbies could win it, but because this would mean that the Marlins closer, who I own, would come in to attempt to earn a save. Giddy up!
I was rooting against the only baseball team I like. The team that I supported as I sat in Wrigley Field in the rain and cold to watch them lose year after year, but enjoyed every minute of it. Now in my first year of fantasy baseball, I have turned my back on them. I guess I should have drafted a guy who plays for them in order to keep my allegiance.
What has become of me? Where did I make the turn from a true Cub fan to a fantasy team fan? I find the same situation in fantasy football. I have always been a 49ers fan. However, because I own Terrell Owens in a dynasty league, I root for the Cowboys. This is sacrilegious! How can I root for the 49ers biggest rival? Hey, I need the points.
I’m sure there are fantasy owners who still hold true to their favorite professional team, but I guarantee those same owners want to see their fantasy team win each week. How do
they handle watching their star fantasy player go against their favorite professional team? Do they go through the same questioning of their allegiance as they watch their top fantasy QB tear up their favorite professional teams defense? Or do they cringe and yell at their favorite professional team as they shut down their fantasy players?
Ive been involved in fantasy football for 10+ years now and every time someone asks me who my favorite team is, I mention my fantasy team name. Oh sure, I still keep an eye on the 49ers, but as long as I don’t own anyone on their team I will care less if they win or lose. Whats important is that I win, that my fantasy team wins championships, and that my players are the guys every other team in my league wants.
But, on the flip side of this, I am now interested in watching teams I would have never cared about before just because one of my fantasy guys is on that team. Why on earth would I want to catch an Oakland Raiders game last season when I despise them? Because I own Lamont Jordan and Randy Moss and I need to see what they’re doing. Fantasy has opened the door to interest in teams that I never cared about before. Now I watch the NFL draft in its entirety to see who drafts what key position. I never did that before. I was only interested in what the 49ers did. I also know more about players than I did when I was in high school imitating the stars of the league. You know you imagined being Joe Montana or Eric Dickerson as you played a pick up game in the street.
I now know who is healthy and who might be headed to the IR. I know rushing yard averages per game, per opponent whether the game is held on grass or turf. I know which teams are focused on running or passing and which ones have an easy schedule. Its sickening how stats oriented I have become. I used to read every newspaper and watch every sports show I could in order to have the advantage when I first started and it paid off with three championships in four years. Nowadays, there is so much more information available through the internet, a huge selection of magazines, and fantasy shows both on television and radio. My Sundays are now spent listening to sports radio that bounces from game to game for updates while watching on the internet where I can click from game to game. Gone are the days of watching my favorite team and tracking their progress. As for those 49ers, Frank Gore is awesome and I think Alex Smith will be one of the top QB’s within the next few seasons, but outside of a few individuals, I have no idea how the team is as a team.
Fantasy killed the team fan in me like video killed the radio star. Rest in peace my once favorite passion as the new kid in town known as the Chitown Studs, are here to stay!