Friday, August 31, 2007

Why Must You Mock Me Ubaldo Jimenez?

Patience is a virtue. My brother used to say that to me all the time. You may have even heard that tiny tidbit of wisdom yourself a few times. Oh, how I've always believed it and tried to live my life according to the sage who espoused this great knowledge.

But you know sometimes..... Well sometimes you just say screw conventional wisdom. Fantasy Baseball is not only a great game, it's a great teacher. Among the many things the game teaches us is that conventional wisdom is often utter poppycock.

We know that the odds of a rookie making the jump from A-ball to the big leagues and having any success is about as likely as Donald Trump hiring Rosie O'Donnell as the next Apprentice. But then, Albert Pujols shows us that it can happen. We know that once a player gets on the wrong side of age 35, that his career isn't going to last very much longer as his skills begin to quickly erode. And at 40 years old, well you might as well bury those guys because they've got nothing left. Say hello to Greg Maddux, Tom Glavine, Roger Clemens, and Barry Bonds. They're all 40 and doing just fine thank you. So conventional wisdom certainly isn't foolproof.

Enter Mr. Ubaldo Jimenez, rookie pitcher for the Colorado Rockies and ex-Sevy Rhinos hurler. He looks young and happy doesn't he? Well, on July 30th, this fresh-faced kid made his way onto the roster of the Sevy Rhinos fantasy baseball team. His salary, all of 30 cents, was barely going to make a dent in my team's $18 salary cap and he could be a nice addition down the stretch. After all, finding decent starting pitching is like finding hen's teeth, and you can never have enough arms to go around. Plus, Ubaldo was sporting a solid 3.50 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, and a terrific .191 Batting Average Against in his first 3 starts. Plus, he's been a highly touted prospect for the past year so he has a pedigree. Me likey!

But jeez, he's just a 23 year-old rookie and he pitches half his games in HELL (aka: Coors Field). So why take the chance when conventional wisdom says this is a super risky pick? Screw Conventional Wisdom, I said defiantly before I made my weekly Free Agent bids and snapped up Ubaldo.

On August 8, when I finally had enough of the constant shellackings that are better known as "games in which Adam Eaton starts", I waived Eaton and called up UJ to the Rhinos starting rotation. He would reward my maverick tendencies with quality innings and life would be grand. Except one little thing happened. On August 9th, one day after Ubaldo put on his red & white uniform with the rhinoceros on the cap, he gave up 10 hits and 9 runs (5 earned) in a mere 2 innings of work. One word summed up my feelings when I saw his line in the boxscore: Sonofabitch.

So on August 13, one week after he was called up to my roster, Ubaldo Jimenez was coldly waived by a GM with no time for self-imploding rookie hurlers. I grabbed someone with a track record, albeit a shaky one at best. Hello Joel Pineiro, goodbye UJ.

As fate would have it, my most bitter and feared opponent, the Lucky 7 Reno Gamblers (my brother's team) snatched Ubaldo Jimenez off the waiver wire and called him up to their roster on August 20th. Then Ubaldo proceeded to pitch two excellent games in a row, throwing a combined 14 innings and giving up a scant 2 earned runs and only 10 baserunners. He also picked up a Win as well.

Seeing my fiercest rival scarf up my droppings and turn them into gold dust made me want to hurl. But in all honesty, the fault lies entirely with me. I went against conventional wisdom again and didn't have the patience to weather one bad outing by a kid who 2 weeks earlier looked so promising. I should have known better.

As it turns out, more often than not, conventional wisdom is right.

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