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How to Play Fantasy Baseball Without Losing Your Girlfriend

March 30, 2009

A wise friend once told me that he had two girlfriends: his actual girlfriend, and fantasy baseball. Truer words have never been spoken.

fantasy-baseballIt’s a scientific fact that during fantasy baseball season (which starts about 2 months before regular baseball season, since managers need plenty of time to research for the draft), guys use 85% of their brainpower to think about fantasy baseball. That leaves 15% for work/school, understanding Lost, and engaging with your girlfriend. Split three ways, that’s 5% each.

Girlfriends need more than 5%. Trust me. I’d say they need 20%, minimum. On “special” days–birthdays, anniversaries, weekends, days when Grey’s Anatomy is on–she needs more like 70% of your brainpower focused solely on her.

If you give her 5%, you will lose her.

But clearly we’re not giving up fantasy baseball either. So I’ve compiled a handy list of six tips and tricks to employ during fantasy baseball season (March-August) to ensure that you still have your girlfriend when the season is over.

  1. When you’re talking to your girlfriend, don’t be thinking about your fantasy team. Hopefully you’re interested in the majority of things your girlfriend talks about. Sure, fantasy baseball is probably even more interesting, but you’ll have plenty more time to think about it. The last thing you want is for her to ask you if she looks good in that dress, and you answer, “Miguel Cabrera.”
  2. Don’t check your stats when you’re hanging out with your girlfriend. I promise you that no matter how often you refresh your Blackberry, you’re going to have no impact on whether or not Hanley Ramirez gets that steal you need to win your head-to-head match. Wait until you drop her off and then check your stats at home. Or if you absolutely have to check (maybe you will have an impact on Ramirez), do it in the bathroom. You’re allowed one bathroom break per hour for such purposes. Drink a lot of water.
  3. Use your enthusiasm to your advantage. Here’s one way that fantasy baseball can actually help your relationship. When you have a big day (I love it when more than one guy hits two homers on the same day), or you win a matchup, or you make the playoffs, you’re going to feel a rush of endorphins. It’s like runner’s high, but lazier. Don’t make the mistake of sharing this information with your girlfriend. Instead, take out your enthusiasm on her. Treat her to a special dinner. Dote over her. Give her a back massage. Anything unexpected and full of energy is perfect–just channel that fantasy baseball energy into her. She won’t see it coming, and I guarantee she will love it. (Sidenote: Seeing your girlfriend should also excite you in itself. This is just an added bonus.)
  4. Don’t talk about trades with your girlfriend. When you’re pondering a trade offer, there is nothing more interesting in the world. Dolphins could be taking over San Diego, but you’d rather compare stats on ESPN than check the hostage list over on CNN. Regardless, your girlfriend could care less. If you don’t find something interesting to say to her, she’ll find someone else to talk to sooner than later.
  5. When you’re talking about fantasy baseball with a group of friends, don’t try to include your girlfriend. This is a tricky one. The key is to wait until she’s talking with other people before you can slip into baseball mode with the guys. If she’s standing around in the circle of males, the last thing she wants is for you to try to explain how Dan–idiot–left Tim Lincecum on the bench when when all he needed was one strikeout to win that week. Again, she doesn’t care, and she’ll feel excluded. Change the conversation topic for her benefit. (Sidenote: If she rolls her eyes, says, “Fine, talk fantasy baseball,” and moves on, don’t protest. Wait 5 minutes and then go over to her, roll your eyes, and say, “I can’t believe that’s all they want to talk about.”)
  6. Never, ever let your girlfriend join your league. This isn’t a chauvinistic thing. Many women are just as–if not moreso–knowledgeable about sports as men. But you don’t mix business and pleasure. This isn’t something you two do “together.” You walk in the park together or go to wineries together or learn to scuba dive together. Not fantasy baseball.

If you have any additional rules to add, please post them in the comments section.

Also see: How to Play RISK with Your Girlfriend

19 Comments leave one →
  1. Trevor permalink
    March 31, 2009 6:09 am

    This post rings very true. I completely missed when those damn dolphins took over San Diego. With fantasy sports blocked at work, I had to choose between dating (any woman) and being truly committed to fantasy baseball. I refuse to give anything less than 100% to either, and I just don’t have 200% in me. As the world knows, I abdicated “The Lumber” on Black Wednesday in October of 2007. It was like losing a child or having the closest Papa Johns close. I could have been a contender.

    • March 31, 2009 9:54 am

      Trevor–We’ve missed you in the league, but we definitely understand. You had bigger and better things to move on to.

      • Patrick permalink
        March 31, 2009 5:27 pm

        Bigger and better than Ridiculous Baseball? Pshaw. That’s blasphemy, Stegmaier.

  2. Sonja S permalink
    March 31, 2009 8:03 am

    Oh, how funny. I know totally nothing about fantasy baseball (gasp!) except that it exists. I really don’t follow baseball at all (double gasp!!) Football is my sport of choice. I know. I know. What do you do in the off season? However, this didn’t prevent this blog from being a total hoot, right down to the comment. I’m looking forward to reading additional comments.

    • March 31, 2009 9:55 am

      Sonya–Thanks for the comment. I’m glad you brought up football, because a lot of what I wrote applies to fantasy football as well. The major difference is that baseball is played every day of the week for 6 months, while football is only one day a week. But some people still get really into it.

      What do I do in the fantasy baseball offseason? Mostly just sit around and think about what I’ll do differently for my team/draft the next year.

  3. Arianna permalink
    March 31, 2009 11:15 am

    Wait. Do you think that my involvement in fantasy baseball has anything to do with my lack of a boyfriend?

    • March 31, 2009 11:23 am

      It’s quite possible. Although, you haven’t technically violated rule number 6. You just can’t date guys in our league.

      • Arianna permalink
        April 10, 2009 12:29 am

        But there are at least three of you I was so hoping to get my hands on.

    • Nancy permalink
      March 31, 2009 12:33 pm


      I will confirm Jamey’s #6. I was in a fantasy football league with a previous boyfriend and his friends a while back, and I beat all of them. That relationship ended and I was never invited back for subsequent seasons by his friends. It’s a dog-eat-dog world out there. Men are intimidated by us women who know our sports.

  4. Lee permalink
    March 31, 2009 11:30 am

    So true. Excellent post. I had to learn the hard way but like all tough roads it leads to better things… For a many years I would lose a gf or a girl would stop dating me in the august to september months. Around week 10 I would reflect and wonder why… To me, it came from no where, then I realized the trend. I took many of these (at the time) unwritten rules for the successful juggling of fantasy sports and the needed girlfriend to heart and made the necessary % changes. But here is the kicker. My current girlfriend, who I love and would do anything for, has made it successfully through 2 full baseball season and this years prep. I have two “neighborhood” leagues that are $$$ and an decnet size investment (to win itsupplements my income). In those two years…I have a back to back championship in one and a 1stplace/2nd place finish in the other….. Thankfully she is an amazing woman!!

    • March 31, 2009 11:43 am

      Case in point: You followed these rules (before they were even written), and you have both a successful relationship and a full wallet. Perfect!

  5. Susie permalink
    March 31, 2009 12:53 pm

    This is so true… but what happens when the couple lives together? I am coming up on my 6th season of vying for attention over the Cubs/Fantasy Baseball, and should pass this post on to my husband!

    • March 31, 2009 5:39 pm

      Susie–When the couple lives together, that means the guy has to try harder to separate fantasy baseball from everything else. He could wait until you go to bed to check his team, or wake up early. The bathroom trick still works too.

  6. Patrick permalink
    March 31, 2009 5:25 pm

    I think you should mention that the inverse of #3 is not recommended. If your team goes 2-for-33 with one RBI, your girlfriend (probably) had nothing to do with it. She does not deserve the silent treatment or sarcastic remarks because you thought this was the year Willy Mo Pena would finally break out.

    • March 31, 2009 5:41 pm

      Pat–Excellent, excellent point. I focused more on the highs of fantasy baseball than the lows. You have to try really hard not to let those bad fantasy days carry over to your relationship. They’re totally separate. It’s not your girlfriend’s fault that you stacked your team with 7 closers and no starters and complain about a lack of wins and Ks.

  7. March 31, 2009 8:38 pm

    Excellent post. Juggling between fantasy sports and a relationship is hard. I agree with your comment about focusing on the good results of a day of fantasy baseball and not the bad. Days are ruined when spent thinking about leaving Brian McCann on the bench or loses by one or two points. Also, I like how you mentioned leaving out girlfriends in conversations about fantasy baseball. Most of the time they have no clue what you are talking about and will end up ditching you because of your passion for the game. This is all so true.

    • March 31, 2009 10:26 pm

      Thanks, JP. I think it’s a delicate dance when you’re talking with friends about fantasy baseball and your girlfriend enters the group. Most of the time, all you really want to do is keep talking about fantasy baseball. But for her sake, you have to at least pretend to entertain the notion that you want to change the subject or just talk to her. Again, this is no insult against the girl–she has interesting things to talk about. But none of them compare to McCann when you’re in that fantasy baseball zone.

  8. Bess permalink
    April 1, 2009 8:50 am

    Thank you for this. I love my boyfriend very much but lose a slice of his brain (and the man I love) every year around this time. He tries to be good about keeping it separate but his moods change wildly when he goes to the bathroom and I’m stuck dealing with the fallout. I am like Susie, the victim of highs and lows (mostly lows) of a born Cubs fan. I think we should start a support group.

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