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After another exciting season where a Sox team ended a long drought of championships, we can turn our attention to the really important stuff: fantasy contest results. Today’s edition features our HACKING MASS contest. As in previous years, we’ll take a look at the most valuable team, the most popular team, and the winning team. For the uninitiated, check out the rules for this year’s contest.

All-Star Team

We have a few perennially valuable hacksters this year, as Darin Erstad, Tony Womack, Cristian Guzman, and Eric Milton form the first group of four players to make the All-Star team and be listed on 300 or more entries. There were four shockers this year, fewer than usual, as Jason Kendall, Mike Lowell, Eric Byrnes and Corey Patterson were listed on a total of 6 entries and accumulated the highest ESPN at catcher, third base, left field and center field. After you sort through the four proven hackers and the four surprises, we have World Series rookie and small ball aficionado Willy Taveras, followed by this year’s MVP, Jose Lima. Props go out to the 89 entrants who pegged Lima’s campaign at the beginning of the year.

Name Position Popularity 2005 ESPN
Jason Kendall C 1 91
Darin Erstad 1B 473 69
Tony Womack 2B 632 84
Mike Lowell 3B 0 79
Cristian Guzman SS 457 109
Eric Byrnes LF 3 61
Corey Patterson CF 2 94
Willy Taveras RF 80 84
Jose Lima P 89 167
Eric Milton P 346 153
Total 2083 991

All-Popular Team

This year’s all-popular team features reputed glove men Mike Matheny and Doug Mientkiewicz, and a few speedster-turned-OBP-sinkholes like Tony Womack and Cristian Guzman. Interestingly, Scott Podsednik was the most popular choice for 2005 after we decided to ban Colorado pitchers. Of course, as the subject of an interesting trade, and a member of the World Champion White Sox, Podsednik’s season has been covered in great depths both here and elsewhere and elsewhere. The third outfielder was free-agent-to-be Jacque Jones. Rounding out the team are the ever-popular pitchers Shawn Estes and Eric Milton. This year’s all-popular team was good for an impressive 616 ESPN, good for almost 200 ESPN more than the average team.

Name Position Popularity 2005 ESPN
Mike Matheny C 970 48
Doug Mientkiewicz 1B 751 22
Tony Womack 2B 632 84
Alex Gonzalez 3B 465 26
Cristian Guzman SS 457 109
Scott Podsednik LF 1039 56
Tike Redman CF 629 60
Jacque Jones RF 377 25
Shawn Estes P 615 33
Eric Milton P 346 153
Total 6281 616

Your Winner

This year, reader Sean Gilman managed to beat out all comers and post an 11 point lead over the eventual second place finisher. Sean easily wins the award for best team name to win the contest, as his Super Karate Monkey Death Car managed to score 767 ESPN. Sean’s team features all-star and all-popular duo Guzman and Womack, as well as Matheny, Redman, Milton and Erstad. Also on his team was Sidney Ponson, the tenth-best player (Looking through the list of players shows that the most massive hacksters were pitchers).

Sean said that the last few weeks of the season were exciting. After Ponson had been left out to dry–and stopped accumulating ESPN for his squad–Sean’s opponents started closing the gap. He credits MVP Jose Lima’s “miracle quality start” in late Septemer, which dropped his ERA from 7.11 to 6.99–a pretty impressive feat that late in the season–for propelling him into first for good.

When asked about strategy, Sean notes that “all of them are fairly obvious choices,” and claims that he didn’t have a specific strategy. He ended up with the right combination of guys hacktastic enough to take home HACKING MASS hardware. He also wanted me to add that his favorite anecdote is that after winning HACKING MASS, he finished 1081 out of 1092 in Predictatron, which we’ll take a look at next time.

Position Player Popularity 2004 ESPN 2005 ESPN
Catcher Mike Matheny 970 -1 48
First Base Darin Erstad 473 69
Second Base Tony Womack 632 14 84
Third Base Vinny Castilla 344 -22 43
Shortstop Cristian Guzman 457 26 109
Left Field Scott Podsednik 1039 7 56
Center Field Tike Redman 629 4 60
Right Field Terrence Long 352 3 49
Pitcher 1 Sidney Ponson 198 25 96
Pitcher 2 Eric Milton 346 5 153
Total 5440 61 767

Best Loser

We would be remiss if we failed to acknowledge the growing competition to have the most negative ESPN. Of course, you don’t get anything other than your name at the bottom of the standings, but this year, PhillyGuy managed to have -586 ESPN thanks to obvious efforts.

Next time out, we’ll take a look at the first annual Predictatron and see how the field fared.

Thank you for reading

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