Take It Seriously and You Miss the Point

I finally broke down and joined one of those so-called rotisserie leagues, because I found one that wasn’t for sissies.

A rotisserie league is where you get a group of your pals together and each person drafts his own imaginary team from major league rosters. Then you earn points based on how your players perform.

If you have Pedro Guerrero on your team and he hits a single, you get a point. A homer, you get 5 points. Pitchers can earn points, too. The team owner with the most points at the end of the year wins the pot, maybe $100.

There are basketball and football rotisserie leagues, too.

The trouble with these leagues is you have to read the box scores every day, which can do serious damage to your eyesight.

The league I joined doesn’t concern itself with hits and touchdowns and rebounds. We earn points based on the extracurricular activities of the players we draft.


For example, you get one point if one of your players stops talking to the media. You get two points if he stops talking to his immediate family. And you get five points if, when the President of the United States phones the clubhouse to congratulate your player on being the hero of the World Series, he barks, “I thought I told you never to call me at the office,” and hangs up.

Here are some other ways my players can earn points (point values in parenthesis):

--Granted immunity from prosecution for testifying in a federal drug case (1). Squeals on his best friend (2). Squeals on any Hall of Famer (5).

--Admits to being hooked on alcohol (1). Admits to being hooked on drugs (2). Admits to being hooked on daytime TV soap operas (5).

--Gets ejected from a ballgame (1). Throws helmets and bats out of the dugout onto the field (2). Uses sporting equipment to bust up urinals in the clubhouse (5).

--When arrested, refers all media inquiries to his (or her) attorney (1). Attorney turns out to be F. Lee Bailey (2). Fires Bailey and petitions the court to be allowed to serve as his own attorney, then disrupts proceedings by loudly and heatedly arguing with himself over defense strategy (5).

--Falls asleep in the locker room (1). Falls asleep on the bench (2). Falls asleep under a table at a black-tie state dinner, after telling a female Supreme Court justice to “loosen up, baby” (5).

--Throws a punch (1). Throws a tantrum (2). Throws a game (5).

--Writes a book, in which he derides another famous baseball player for hitting like a sissy (1). His ex-wife writes a book, exposing his sexual shortcomings (2). Ex-wife’s final chapter is a confession of an affair with the aforementioned sissy (5).

--Explains absence from game by saying his car got a flat tire (1). Explains absence from game by saying his wife took the car keys--to all seven cars (2). Explains absence from game by saying he was taken captive aboard a UFO and interrogated by Martians who demanded to know what Howard Cosell is really like (5).

--Gets caught gambling (1). Bets against his own team (2). Uses his children as collateral (5).

--Gets so high he misses a team plane (1). Gets so high he catches another plane, but to the wrong city (2). Gets so high he flies to the right city, but without an airplane (5).

--Busted on any misdemeanor charge (1). Busted on any felony charge (2). Busted by any foreign government and interred in a labor camp (5).

--Arrested for talking to a lady of the evening (1). Arrested for dating a lady of the evening (2). Arrested for dating a lady of the evening who turns out to be a gentleman of the evening (5).

--Threatens to retire if not allowed to play more (1). Threatens to retire if contract not renegotiated (2). Threatens to detonate nuclear device unless club hires an attendant to keep the coat hangars in his dressing cubicle untangled (5).

--Punches out a teammate (1). Punches out an elderly fan for requesting an autograph (2). Punches out the team mascot (5).

--Admits to having drugs in the clubhouse (1). Admits to sliding carefully to avoid breaking the vial of cocaine in his back pocket (2). Signs a big contract to endorse a brand of shatterproof glass vials (5).

It’s very exciting. I had a great draft, picked up some real superstars, and now I open the paper eagerly each morning.

I can’t win any money, though. Our league treasurer skipped town with the pot. We’re all very proud of him.