I've had it. It's gone too far. They're out of control. What started out as an innocent little parlor game played by a few people is fast becoming the bane of professional sports.
I have nothing against people who play fantasy sports per se, annoying though they often can be. My rage and disgust is aimed firstly at the sports media for legitimizing "fantasy" as a veritable professional sport in itself. You can't escape it now. I certainly don't care if people want to get together and play fantasy football for example...but when I'm watching the NFL preview show on Sunday, I DAMN SURE DO NOT NEED TERRY FREAKING BRADSHAW OR CHRIS COLLINSWORTH TELLING ME WHO I SHOULD BE STARTING AS MY THIRD RUNNING BACK THAT WEEK. It used to be that you watched these shows to see analysis on which team would win the game but lately it's becoming more of a "who will have more fantasy points this week" freak show. I can't watch Baseball Tonight without having to sit through some idiotic "Fantasy Impact" crap. I can't read an issue of the Sporting News without having to skim over a half dozen pages of fantasy reports. Even our local newspaper here, the Stars and Stripes, is not immune. Going into the Major League Baseball season they neglected to run their usual baseball preview in their sports section. Instead they ran a FIVE page fantasy preview.
What really kills me are these fantasy "experts" that they have on these programs. A fantasy "expert"?! You know what a fantasy expert is? I'll tell you what it is - it's some sports wannabe (or, in most cases, never was) who probably won his fantasy baseball league 3 years in a row and then one day ESPN decided that reporting on fantasy baseball as if it were a real sport was a great way to increase viewership and revenue so they cleaned him up, threw him on the air and gave him the moniker of "fantasy expert". Now he makes a living by interrupting my Pirates-Cubs highlights to tell me such useful information as "Yadier Molina only hit 2 home runs last month so you might not want to start him on your fantasy team this week". Wow, thanks! Now I can finally sleep at night! Jerk.
Here's another thing I hate about fantasy sports; they go against everything that being a fan stands for. If you have played fantasy sports, admit it - you have cheered for someone on your fantasy team when they played your favorite sports team in real life. This is just unfathomable to me. How could I be a Red Sox fan and draft someone from the Yankees for my fantasy baseball team for example? I have a friend in the US who used to be a fantasy fanatic. He used to do this constantly. We would be watching the Patriots game and he would be cheering for some running back on the other team to score a touchdown because he had him on his fantasy team. When I told him how disgusting that was he offered the typical lame fantasy player excuse - he's cheering for the Patriots to win the game but for his player to get him some points. What kind of fan is that?! I was visiting home for the first time in about 4 years and we made plans to get together at his place to watch the Patriots game, just like old times. Except it wasn't like old times. You know why? Because he kept jumping up every 5 minutes and running upstairs to check his players' stats online. So much for sitting around and watching the game with the guys, drinking beer and high-fiving each other after every big play. I mean, if you're a Red Sox fan and you have A-Rod on your fantasy team...how do you live with yourself?
If anyone in the sports media reads this, I implore you; PLEASE remove fantasy sports from your mainstream programming. If you must, create a separate fantasy sports network where you can debate whether Gil Meche's WHIP is low enough to warrant drafting him as a third starter in your fantasy league alllllllll day long. Publish all the fantasy sports magazines and newspapers you want. Just keep it out of the magazines and newspapers that cover REAL sports so the REAL fans don't have to be bothered with such nonsense. Hell, just look at the name - "fantasy" sports. Fantasy. Not real. Fantasy.
In fact, I've decided to coin a new phrase for anyone who plays fantasy sports. Henceforth, they will be referred to as..."Sports Trekkies". I wonder if I can copyright that...