- Matthew Berry, Fantasy
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I'm not sure why, but I love children's content. Children's books, artwork, cartoons, movies, shows, all of it. Maybe because it reminds me of my own childhood or I respond to the innocence and optimism or maybe it's just higher quality than some of what gets produced for adults. In my home, I have artwork from Dr. Seuss, Curious George and the Babar series on my wall, there's two cartoon cells (Hong Kong Phooey plus a Blue Falcon and DynoMutt; who remembers that one?) and I absolutely love all the Disney and Pixar animated movies.
"The Lion King" is among my favorites, both the movie and the stage show, which, if you've never seen, is a sight to behold. Truly magical. Anyway, in "The Lion King," the following exchange, which I've always liked, takes place.
Adult Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back will mean facing my past. I've been running from it for so long.
Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick
Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn't matter. It's in the past. (laughs)
Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or ...
Rafiki again swings his stick at Simba, who ducks out of the way
Rafiki: ... learn from it.
Rafiki is not just a monkey, he's a wise monkey. And wise monkeys are only the second-best kind of monkeys ever, topped only by monkeys that play sports and help awkward kids win the big game in movies that feature a referee or umpire looking through a rulebook and determining that, "Well, there's no rule that says a monkey can't play!"
So, other than avoiding getting hit with a stick by a crazy/wise monkey, the most important thing Rafiki teaches us is when we look back at the past, we feel the pain, sure, but we also learn from it before we move on.
Looking back at my "You Heard Me!" bold predictions column from the preseason was an interesting exercise.
There were some nice calls in there (Adrian Beltre, Juan Pierre, Francisco Liriano, Jason Bay's struggles, Matt Capps, Corey Hart, Colby Rasmus, Edwin Jackson's struggles, Jonathan Sanchez and a quarterback scandal among them) and there were some absolute clunkers (down on Sabathia, healthy years from Ben Sheets, Justin Duchscherer and Erik Bedard, Julio Borbon, the Pirates' outfield, Randy Wells and Kyle Blanks were just some of the misses).
Jury is still out on some other calls, but this is what I took away: The biggest losing bet is saying injury-prone players will stay healthy, and the best propositions involve taking players who have done it before, but just not recently (Beltre, Capps, Pierre, Liriano, etc) rather than those who haven't done it before, period.
But the biggest thing I learned was that while betting on an underdog is a high-risk proposition, it can also, if you get it right, be highly rewarding. (It can also kill you if you stock your entire team with high-risk, high-reward players.)
The one thing I have still not learned? (And never will?) How to go gentle into that good night. This is my final baseball column of the season. There are only so many hours in the day and only so much TMR to go around. With football kicking into high gear, I'll be flying around the country to various fantasy football conventions (Pittsburgh on Aug. 22, Chicago on Aug. 28 and Los Angeles on Aug. 29, not to mention all the content, mocks, TV, radio, podcasts and online video we do to help you prepare for your upcoming drafts).
If you still crave your TMR fantasy baseball advice, I will still be doing a daily (well, Monday through Friday) 30-minute podcast with Nate Ravitz, I will still be doing a lot of tweeting about baseball, and I have my weekly chats, in which I'll talk about anything, including baseball and football. We will also still have tons of fantasy baseball content from the great Tristan H. Cockcroft, Jason Grey, AJ Mass, Adam Madison, plus the comprehensive Karablog from Eric Karabell.
But for me, this is the final baseball column of 2010, so I thought I ought to go out the way I started the season: with a bang. So, with six or so weeks left in the season, and the trade deadline in ESPN standard leagues looming large on Friday, here's one bold prediction for each team for the rest of the season. If there's a percentage after a guy's name, that's his ownership percentage in ESPN standard leagues and I suggest you think about picking him up.
And with that, for the rest of this baseball season ...
You Heard Me, Part Deux: Rafiki's Revenge
1. Mike Gonzalez, RP, Orioles (28 percent) leads the Orioles in saves from this point until the end of the year.
2. Five wins and a sub-3.5 ERA for Josh Beckett the rest of the way. But the Red Sox don't let him face the Yankees again.
3. Jeremy Hellickson, SP, Rays (17 percent) keeps his rotation spot the rest of the way, has 75 strikeouts and is higher on the player rater than Matt Garza. Three in and I've already blown the whole "better to go with someone that has proven it before" approach.
5. Lance Berkman, 1B, Yankees, continues to struggle. To the point where he hits only two home runs the rest of the year and his batting average is on the wrong side of .225
6. Alexei Ramirez, SS, White Sox, currently at 11 home runs and 8 steals, finishes 20/20.
8. I come from behind and win both of my bets with Nate Ravitz on "The Board>" that involve Max Scherzer, SP, Tigers. Max finshes higher on the player rater than Chad Billingsley and within 10 spots of John Danks.
9. Ten more steals for Gregor Blanco, OF, Royals (0.1 percent).
10. Ten more home runs, 30 more RBIs for Matt LaPorta, 1B, OF, Indians (9 percent).
12. Kurt Suzuki, C, A's (78 percent)? Meet 20 home runs.
14. Ian Kinsler has played his last regular-season game for the Rangers this year.
15. Mike Minor, SP, Braves (5 percent) has more than 60 strikeouts the rest of the year with a sub-4.00 ERA.
16. Logan Morrison, OF, Marlins, who is on Twitter as @LoMoMarlins, gets to 10,000 followers and makes good on his podcast promise to walk up for an at-bat to the Fantasy Focus theme song.
18. Carlos Ruiz, C, Phillies (38 percent) goes 5/20/.300 the rest of the way.
19. Ten more home runs for Mike Morse, 1B/OF, Nationals (1 percent).
20. Joey Votto, 1B, Reds, goes on a tear and finishes the season with 40 home runs.
21. Carlos Lee, OF, Astros, gets to 100 RBIs.
22. Six wins, 60 strikeouts and an ERA under 3.50 for Randy Wolf, SP, Brewers (15 percent)
23. Currently 26th among second basemen on our player rater, Neil Walker, 2B/3B, Pirates (40 percent), despite not playing for much of the year, finishes the season as a top-15 second baseman on the player rater. For the entire season.
24. Seven wins and an ERA of under 3.25 the rest of the way for Jake Westbrook, SP, Cardinals (9 percent)
25. Aramis Ramirez, 3B, Cubs, gets to 30 home runs.
26. Aaron Heilman, RP, Diamondbacks (17 percent) gets 10 more saves.
28. Pablo Sandoval, 1B/3B, Giants (93 percent), currently with only six home runs on the year and in a homerless drought of almost 200 at bats, will hit 10 homers the rest of the way.
29. Melvin Mora, 1B/2B/3B, Rockies (1 percent) finishes with a .300 average and 10 home runs.
30. Chris Denorfia, OF, Padres (2 percent): Finishes with a 20/15 year.
Matthew Berry -- The TMR -- is predicting a win over the Jonas Brothers in softball on Friday. He is the creator of RotoPass.com, a website that combines a bunch of well-known fantasy sites, including ESPN Insider, for one low price. Use promo code "ESPN" for 10 percent off. Cyberstalk the TMR | Be his cyberfriend