People give a lot of reasons why steroids are bad. It’s cheating. It’s dishonest. It’s bad for you. Steroids will give you back acne and can lead to cancer and shrunken balls and yak, yak, yak.
But I’ll give you one more reason steroids are bad: they’re killing my fantasy team.
Now, I know that some of the guys in my fantasy league will read this and chuckle, because it will seem like I’m looking for excuses, grasping at straws for a reason that my fantasy team is, yet AGAIN, mired at the bottom of the standings. But that’s not the case. Not entirely.
Steroids haven’t made my players ineffective. But they have made it harder for me to decide just what’s wrong with my players. Take Mark Teixeira, for example. I picked him with my first draft pick. It seemed at the time like an extremely safe choice. Last year Tex hit .301 with 43 HRs and 144 RBIs. The year before he hit .281 with 38 HRs and 112 RBIs. In other words, Teixeira is proven. He’s young. He’s healthy. He is a sure thing.
Except, so far this year, his numbers are down. We’re nearly at the midpoint of the season and currently he’s hitting .282 with 8 HRs and 44 RBIs. That projects to 17 HRs and 93 RBIs. And that’s fine, if he’s just some guy on my roster. But he’s not just some guy. He’s my first pick. My big gun. Every team needs a big gun. An Albert Pujols or Manny Ramirez or Alex Rodriguez. Somebody to drive in buckets and buckets of runs. Mine was supposed to be Teixiera.
So what’s wrong with Tex? In the past I would always weigh several factors. Is it just a slump? Is he playing through an injury? Is he playing in a different league or a different park? But now there’s one more thing to consider. Now that we know about steroids and, more importantly, now that we have steroid testing, I have to ask myself: has Tex gone off the juice?
Of course, there’s no way to know. If he was playing through an injury, I’d probably hang on to him, figuring he’d heal eventually. If it was just a slump, I’d hang on to him, figuring the law of averages would kick in and he’d go on a tear eventually. But if it’s steroids – or, more accurately, a lack of roids – that’s the problem…then what? You trade him, that’s what. But how can I know?
I’m sure I’m not the only manager in my league with this dilemma. But of all the disappointing players this year so far, has any been more disappointing than Tex?