Saturday, in some parallel universe, C.J. Wilson (in a Los Angeles Angels uniform) and Yu Darvish (in a Texas Rangers uniform) were both starting pitchers for the same team on the same day. Miguel Cabrera (of the Detroit Tigers) manned first base while Jimmy Rollins (from the Philadelphia Phillies) and Dee Gordon (from the L.A. Dodgers) shared shortstop.
The game was played under both American League and National League rules in 12 different ballparks at once, and nobody bothered to keep score except for each player’s individual stats.
It might be a goofy way to think about fantasy baseball, but it does represent the way the game works. There are no scores and bitter rivals play on the same team, because the entire game is built around individual performance.
Fantasy players don’t need to be team players. They don’t need to get hits in clutch situations — their teams’ losses don’t affect the score of the game.
It’s a statistician’s dream. Leagues can be set up to ignore standards and include stats that would take too long to explain on TV: WAR, OPS+, BABIP (wins above replacement, on-base plus slugging percentage and batting average on balls in play, respectively). As fantasy games go, baseball might be the best.
But it’s not the end of the fantasy universe. There are fantasy games for almost everything conceivable. Obviously, sports lend themselves well to that type of game, but other things work, too.
For example, look at Fantasy Congress (that’s not a joke). From 2006 to 2009, users of FantasyCongress.com could draft a team of legislators from the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives. They earned points based on each Congress member’s legislative success, attendance, news mentions and “Maverick Score,” which was based on how often the legislator crossed party lines.
Unfortunately, the site has been offline since 2010, so hardcore political nerds can no longer get their fix.
It might seem like the fantasy universe is already pretty crowded — once you get beyond the major sports, the world seems fairly limited as far as statistically-oriented competition. But there is always room for new games.
How about fantasy Iron Chef?
Players could draft chefs or challengers, racking up points for unusual ice cream flavors, yelling at sous chefs and of course the final scores. It could be played along with either the original Japanese program or the updated American version (which is still producing new episodes.)
Not quite a fantasy foodie? Try fantasy Whose Line Is It, Anyway?
Draft Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles or Wayne Brady to boost your score as they stumble through hoedowns and make each other break character. It gets a little complicated since Whose Line is no longer on the air. Technically, players could cheat and watch every episode in advance to see who will be the most valuable, but those players would probably win anyway based on the amount of free time they had to watch every episode of the show.
Outside of television, fantasy can get recursive. Fantasy fantasy baseball is the best example: draft a team of people who have fantasy baseball teams and earn points based on their fantasy baseball teams’ overall records.
If you do this, make sure to goad the friends you didn’t draft and yell at the ones who are underproducing on your team.
That will bolster your friendship score for fantasy life.
Joe Fox is a junior studying online journalism and a columnist for The Post. Send him your fantasy games at email@example.com.