During our fantasy baseball draft this year, the inevitable moment came in the 14th round. Mike's team, the Stone Hand Swingers, drafted Detroit right fielder Magglio Ordóñez. Mike has drafted Magglio every year I've played with him. It doesn't matter if Magglio is coming off an All-Star season or an injury-marred year where he played only 82 games. Mike is going to pick him.
Maybe Mike appreciates Magglio's consistent production over the years. For half a decade he was a lock for 30 homers and 110 RBIs. Maybe Mike has a soft spot for Venezuelan players. Or maybe, as his wife suggested, Magglio Ordóñez is Mike's fantasy baseball boyfriend.
Sometimes you simply value one player higher than your leaguemates do, for whatever reason. Mike ends up with Andruw Jones every year for this same reason. But Magglio is different. Mike cares about Magglio. When Magglio went on the disabled list in 2004, Mike posted a note commemorating Magglio's years of fantasy service, and noted that it was Magglio's first trip to the DL in his eight-year career. Since Mike was Magglio's fantasy manager for half of that career, it was a touching tribute.
After the 2004 season, the White Sox didn't even try to retain Magglio, and he signed with the Tigers. Mike didn't hesitate at all to pick up Magglio back for last year's fantasy team, Sam Beckett's Boys. and people say there's no loyalty in baseball.
Do I have a fantasy baseball boyfriend? I seem to end up with Manny Ramirez and Barry Zito every year, and somehow I've ended up with Colorado first baseman Todd Helton on my team two years in a row. If anyone, I think Zito is my fantasy baseball boyfriend. I see him pitch on Two Dollar Wednesday all the time. He's always available in the eighth round of the draft, right when I decide I need another starting pitcher. And while he doesn't strike out quite as many batters as you might like, Barry Zito does have gorgeous hair.