Confessions of a Fantasy Baseball Wife

The St. Onge family really likes its baseball. (via Courtney St. Onge)

The St. Onge family really likes its baseball. (via Courtney St. Onge)

Some of you spouses may think you’re already in scoring position because the baseball season hasn’t even started and you, beloved partners in life and in sports, have already inquired about the strength of Kyle Schwarber’s knee or A.J. Pollock’s elbow.

I hate to break it to you, but if you’ve waited till March to do this, you’re never gonna make the fantasy big leagues.

It would be unfair to paint my spouse as a one-dimensional fantasy fanatic. He’s hard-working, funny, smart and kind, and a terrific parent. But I don’t think he’d disagree that life as a fantasy sports wife, is less Fifty Shades of Gray and more Fifty Days ‘til Truck Day (that’s a Red Sawx reference — or at least it used to be. Truck Day seems ubiquitous these days).

After 20 years of supporting the franchise, I’ve learned a few things that might be helpful to those family GMs out there as spring arrives.

Champions are Made in Winter

I’m a woman who gets sports. In fact, I love them. I even suggested we attend a Giants-Cardinals game on our honeymoon.

I grew up in the South, a long-suffering Braves fan, where the top two sports seasons were college football and spring college football. (War Eagle!)

But none of that prepared me for the overlapping seasons of recreational and tournament baseball, high school baseball, fantasy baseball and winter fantasy baseball.

My teenage pitcher reported in September, just a week after school started, for offseason training and preparation for high school tryouts. My husband was in the chase for a fantasy title in one of two leagues until the finals days of the month. By the time the World Series ended, fantasy preseason had begun.

Thankfully, winter is largely a season for staying in (or going out to throw a bullpen on a sunny day). Some nights you can check out the Oscar nominees and others you can spend at home, just you, your honey … and Ron Shandler’s Baseball Forecaster.

It’s also the time to consider a name change. No, not for yourself, for the team. Team names may be lucky or legacy, but they should be clever. We’ve supported the Bad Radkes and Mild Arm Discomfort. But I held my Southern nose at my New Hampshire-born husband’s favorite, Northern Aggressors.

Embrace Technology

Like so much of life, technology has changed fantasy sports.

One of my first lessons in fantasy ownership came in a late-June phone call from my then friend, now husband, nearly 20 years ago. He was traveling for work and made a call to the bullpen:

He: “Could you go buy a USA Today and cut out the stats box in the back of the sports section? And then subtract these cumulatives from those to get my players’ monthly results? And then, fax the stat sheet to the commissioner?”

Me: “What?”

It was a test of love, and passing meant finding four quarters, a paper box and a fax machine late one night in 1998.

I’m grateful for hand-held access these days. Smartphone apps have made this endeavor easier on everyone. It’s possible to check game-time decisions, change lineups, make a waiver-wire claim, and still make it to middle school violin recitals, family dinners and actual baseball games.

My saturation point may have come in the summer of 2013, when both boys were playing on recreation and tournament teams and my husband was coaching the younger son’s team and also managing three fantasy teams (a one-year only experiment).

A morning query of “Is there baseball today?” was met with a deadpan: “Is this a day that ends in ‘y’?”

It was tougher, and sometimes funnier, to try to keep up with conversations about player performance. Any statement about how “Ramirez” had hit last night left me wondering: Alexei, Hanley or Aramis? Or the outfielder on the opposing 12-year-old team? Or was it the “legend” Manny Ramirez in some online game they play on the iPad?

In between, we enjoyed wonderful summer nights outside, the chance to reinforce elementary math while calculating ERA, and a few world geography lessons as the boys looked up international players and prospects.

Fear Technology

Hand-held access could turn on us at any minute. I’ve read the warnings from conspiracy theorists and technophobes about how artificial intelligence and robots may take over our minds and our world. They’ve underestimated the threat of fantasy apps.

My fear is that someday, developers will create a fantasy app that will allow in-game replacements. It’s been a joke for several years now, the havoc such minute-by-minute potential would bring to life in our home. I’ve spent a long time negotiating to watch an entire half-inning of play in a single game without having to change the channel to see a different batter-pitcher matchup.

The what-ifs of real-time managing give me nightmares. Your starting pitcher getting shelled in the second? Get him out of there. This could cause a pandemic.

Savor the Wins

Fantasy baseball is the root of much teasing at my house. I grouse about the Mariano Rivera exception to the No-Yankees rule and still needle my resident franchisee about his weakness for prospects who may or may not deliver: Toby Hall, I’m looking at you! (My husband, who is reading this, begged me to say Matt Wieters instead, to salvage his credibility.)

This pursuit has brought us much joy. For a dozen years, we’ve eagerly anticipated the annual draft weekend, when we enjoy a trip to see dear friends, one of whom plays in the same league.

We scout the gems of the next generation at family-friendly minor-league parks for the Greenville Drive, the Birmingham Barons, and the Charlotte Knights.

We love our family fantasy players — conditionally. We root for them through torn labrums and batting slumps, and we cheer their total bases and sub-1.0 WHIPs. My boys get to share a game they love with their dad and me. My older son is joining a fantasy league this year for the first time. Future family, be advised.


Courtney St. Onge is an Alabama native and lifelong Braves fan who reads, writes and sings off-key with equal gusto now in Charlotte. As a smitten, and prescient, 9-year-old fan, she cried when Brett Butler was traded for Len Barker. Follow her on Twitter @chstonge.
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BaseballDesert
Guest
BaseballDesert

Wonderful perspective. My partner’s love for baseball is mostly due to my excess love, so I always try to be mindful of the FBB time suck. Has your husband ever done a weekly league?

Courtney St. Onge
Guest
Courtney St. Onge

Thankfully, not yet. Good luck to you – and your partner – this season! We’re all looking forward to opening day.

David
Guest

Nice touch. You should have married me.

bunslow
Guest
bunslow

“Thankfully, winter is largely a season for staying in (or going out to throw a bullpen on a sunny day).”

I think you must still live in the south… that, or you and I have completely different meanings attached to the word “winter”

John McConnell
Guest
John McConnell

This. Is. Awesome.

Guv
Guest
Guv

I’m so hot for her, I’m so hot for her, I’m so hot for her, but she’s so cold.

Anibal
Guest
Anibal

I enjoyed! I met my wife same year I started playing FB; weekly league. Our first anniversary (March 25th) was with my FB fellows drafting and got home at 8 pm. Almost died. 22 years later my son is already playing in my league with his own team…I survived because my wife’s comprehension! I can’t imagine my life without her…and my Fantasy team ! (My love for baseball came first…!)

madalin stunt cars 2
Guest

Nice touch. You should have married me. haha =))

Fake Yeezys
Guest

You’ll have to make do with the 3D-printed Futurecraft 4D sneakers instead. Adidas confirmed last month that it will be putting them on sale later this year and subsequently mass-producing pairs by the end of 2018.

Drew
Guest
Drew

I remember the Butler trade??