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This is why there won't be a section of the book entitled, "Why I Kick Ass at Fantasy Baseball."

I play fantasy because it's fun. Or rather, I play fantasy baseball when it's fun. To me, that means playing in leagues with friends. I don't play NFBC or online leagues or anything where there isn't some connection to the people involved. The fantasy and Strat leagues that I am in because of the people.

Yesterday, the AL Tout Wars draft was held out at Citi Field; I like my team, and it could win–single-season deep leagues are high-variance monsters, and you win as much because you catch well with health and random big years as anything–but whether it does or not, the season has already been a success. I got to hang out with a dozen great guys, laughing and joking and competing over players for six hours, and then most of us came back to the city and spent the night laughing and joking and telling stories together. If I finished last every year–don't put it past me–Tout would be worth it just for a day like yesterday.

So much of the image of fantasy baseball and its participants is distorted through the lenses of people with an axe to grind, with a story to tell, with a vested interest in making the game seem less than what it is, in making the players into caricatures. What the game really is was on display at Foley's in midtown at 11 p.m. last night, just a bunch of guys who love the competition and the camaraderie and who happen to express that through a little friendly competition, not for cash or glory, but for bragging rights and buying the next round.

That beer garden last night? That was the true fantasyland.

Here's my team. AL Tout is a 12-team, AL-only, 5×5 rotisserie league.

C V. Martinez 22
C Avila 4
1B C. Carter 1
2B Ellis 10
SS Hardy 12
3B Longoria 33
MI M. Izturis 12
CR Wallace 1
OF Choo 26
OF Gardner 18
OF Snider 13
OF Brantley 12
OF Saunders 1
UT Ruiz 5

P F. Hernandez 30
P Weaver 15
P Buchholz 12
P Feliz 9
P Cahill 7
P Thornton 7
P Chamberlain 5
P Downs 4
P Aceves 1