There we were, checked into one of the most stunning hotels in Vancouver, and my husband had just one thing on his mind -- and it had absolutely nothing to do with me. No amount of negligee (or lack thereof) was going to distract him. Guidebook in hand, I headed out to explore the city, while he sat in front of a laptop for the next six hours doing his fantasy baseball draft.
Spring has always been my favorite season. I start to seriously plot out the makeup of my little Brooklyn garden and fantasize about the weekend adventures we'll embark on as the weather warms. But about three years ago, spring took on a whole new meaning, thanks to a certain co-worker my husband befriended. To be fair, I liked him in the beginning, and not just because he liked my dachshund. He also had a nice girlfriend, so I reasoned that he had to be a good guy. Then he did the unthinkable: He asked my husband to join his fantasy baseball league.
One of the reasons that I initially fell for my now-husband was the fact that he seemed to have a complete and total lack of interest in sports. Having both attended a suburban high school that deemed football far more important than funding for A.P. classes, I relished our shared indifference to homecoming and face paint. Sure, he'd occasionally turn on a basketball game, or mention going to the ballpark on a breezy summer night. In other words, it was a sane level of interest.
Nothing about my baseball-obsessed husband today is sane. Everything in our house is programmed to the examining, acquiring and updating of baseball news. Turn on any TV and it is set to one of ESPN's 25 channels. The clock radio wakes us up with sports stats. The reading material in the bathroom? You guessed it. Baseball glossies. Our entire life from March through October revolves around making switches (which I recently learned are now done EVERY SINGLE DAY, instead of once a week), and catching up on scores. Last year, I knew exactly who was on the disabled list, and not by choice. What's up with that pretty boy Wright, anyway? Is he not making enough millions or something? I wish everyone could blame their inability to perform at work on the shape of a stadium -- or cubicle.
Some of our fights have even been provoked by fake baseball. Last summer, my husband almost had a coronary when he found out that we were going camping, where he'd have no Internet access to make his freaking switches. Hello?! It's an imaginary team! But my favorite anecdote is from the summer before. My father had suddenly died that spring, and we had planned -- months in advance -- to drive a U-Haul packed with my dad's worldly possessions up from Virginia. Take a wild guess what day that was. Yup. Draft Day. As I tried to maneuver the truck, he was on the phone with that damn co-worker, telling him which players to choose for him, while screaming at me that he was going to have the worst team ever. I bet my dad was laughing.
To say that I understand these fantasy baseball people would be a lie. Just last week, my husband was watching a documentary on the origins of what used to be called rotisserie baseball. At one point, the founders of the, ahem, sport basically said that all holidays and major life events were off the table when it came to fantasy baseball. If Aunt Matilda dies, the draft must go on. And if there's anything worse than a funeral, it's the auto pick, or so the general manager whom I live with tells me.
So here's the lesson I've reluctantly learned: Men crave sports. Take them away, and they'll find a way back. And when they do, it's bad. Really bad. I actually caught my husband checking stats on his phone in the middle of the night recently. Of course, he's yet to win with his fake (and likely overpaid!) team, but he assured me this year that he had it all planned out, evidenced by the reams of paper detailing the dozens of sample teams he created leading up to the draft. I suspect his losing streak has something to do with the fact that he's a Mets fan.
Or maybe he'll prove me wrong this time and win the jackpot. Of course, it really isn't about the money with those fantasy guys. It's about the thrill of the game and the Internet-based camaraderie. Speaking of camaraderie, I have just one thing to say to that co-worker: You better watch your back, Hunter.
Liz Ozaist is a happily married Lemondrop contributor -- despite the fact that one of her last pieces was about the fact that her beloved husband can't cook.