Author: Daniel, Bert

Fantasy Bluegrass

I'll see you up here, real soon, I hope!
My baseball obsessed son, Ethan (age 10) is really into this online game called fantasy baseball. You can sign up and play for free at a number of sports sites, for example. Right now there are 160,000 players in Ethan's league. Everyone starts out with no points and you collect points each day according to how well your players do. You purchase a starting lineup from a limited budget so if you want a certain superstar on your team, you might have to make some compromises at other positions in order to get him. A home run by your player counts so many points, a complete game victory is another point value, strikeout, etc. As the season progresses, players change in value, so you can make trades and refine your lineup for maximum efficiency.

As I sit here writing this, I can see Ethan's worksheet from last night. He's very careful to constantly trade pitchers to make sure that he has a good pitcher starting every night in one game or another. In less than two months, he's moved slowly up in the standings to about # 4,500 out of 160,000. That's better than the Red Sox are doing. By the time this column actually runs (I'll be in Spain, then Grass Valley) he may be even higher because he seems to move up almost every night. Honestly, I think this ten year old could manage in the big leagues right now. It seems like every time we watch a ball game together and I ask him what he would do strategically, something happens right away that validates his judgment. Put in a pinch hitter? Bring in a lefty to face this hitter? Pinch run? Just ask Ethan and he'll give you a good answer.

One of the things I like about the fantasy game is sharing opinions. Ethan asks me who would be good for certain trades and I tell him who I think is hot and who is not. When Sam Fuld stopped producing and Kevin Youkilis got hot, I got the credit. Jose Bautista on the other hand was all Ethan's call.

Today is the start of music camp at Grass Valley. Ethan can still follow fantasy baseball on the Internet, but now he has more time to do other things like play his fiddle (hopefully). It's a constant struggle for me as a parent to keep him focused on that instrument which I know will be his fast friend and comfort in future years. I've written in past columns about how I bribe him with baseball cards so he'll practice. Unfortunately that strategy may be limited because he has so many baseball cards now that the pile is becoming unmanageable. We need a new incentive.

How about fantasy Bluegrass? Can you imagine picking a team of your favorite pickers and gaining status according to how well they do? It would be great fun! You could select your favorite musician at each instrument and see how they "sound" together. Points would be awarded each period based on concert appearances, CD sales, downloads, IBMA and other awards, You Tube viewings, thumbs ups, etc. I need your help here to come up with a logical point system to make this concept work.

As a fiddle player, Ethan's favorite fantasy player would be Michael Cleveland for sure. If you'd had Michael on your team in recent years you would have racked up incredible scores in fantasy Bluegrass. But he'd be awfully expensive to put on your team with those palmares. He's like an Albert Pujols kind of superstar. Recently, I heard speculations on the CBA message board about possible health problems for Michael (based on Flamekeeper band member relocations). I sure hope he's not injured. Hate to lose that guy whether he's on my team or not.

The festival this week should be a good opportunity to get out there and get a scouting report on some of the very best talent in the world of Bluegrass. Who's on your fantasy Bluegrass team?

Posted:  6/12/2011

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