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Every year, Leigh Ann and I co-manage a fantasy football team. Fantasy baseball, however, is a Scott-only endeavor. It’s not that Leigh Ann doesn’t enjoy the game, it’s just that managing a fantasy baseball team requires a certain level of, well, obsession.

First off, your players don’t play just on Sundays; they play every single day, so you’re always setting your lineup and checking boxscores. And where as in fantasy football you have roughly 6 positions to fill (QB, RB, TE, WR, K, DEF), in fantasy baseball you have twice as many (1B, 2B, 3B, SS, OF, OF, OF, C, DH, SP, RP), so you’ve got to be semi-familiar with 300+ players. In short, fantasy baseball requires knowledge, skill, statistical analysis, and a screw loose in your head.

Which is why I frigging love it.

It is with great regret, then, that I announce, on Opening Day 2011, that I am hereby hanging up my fantasy baseball cleats. What’s that, you say? “It’s okay, Scott. You’re doing the right thing. You’re a Dad now. You’ve got a baby to take care of. Giving up fantasy baseball is the mature decision.” Yes, yes, it is. But before you go any further, I should probably tell you that I didn’t exactly “give it up”. More like got kicked out. That’s right, the league I’ve played in for the past 3 years decided not to invite me back this year. Why? Hard to say, but it might have something to do with our last three league champions.

2008: The Fuzzy Dunlops
2009: The Fuzzy Dunlops
2010: The Fuzzy Dunlops

You know how the saying goes. “If first you don’t succeed, kick out the guy who’s beating you.”

So, anyhow, here’s to you Fuzzy Dunlops. To Albert Pujols who made still my beating heart. To Billy Butler and Dustin Pedroia who were criminally under-rated in our scoring system and acquired on the cheap by me every single year. To Matt Holliday, Nick Markakis, and Shin-Soo Choo, who made up what I liked to call the “The Outfield of Doom.” And to Joe Mauer who inflated my team batting average as if it were a hot air balloon.

I’m going to miss you boys. Good luck.

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Our entire family loves football. I love football. Leigh Ann loves football. My parents love football. Leigh Ann’s father coached football for 30-some years. Point being, we love football. Did I mention that already?

So it is with great regret that I keep reading about how much long-term damage the sport does to your brain. Here’s an article today in Slate. And another on NPR. And, for those of you who cannot process information without a moving picture, here’s a news report based on the same University of Purdue study:

The NFL is taking concussions more seriously, yes. But research suggests you suffer brain damage without ever being concussed. Which brings up some thorny parenting issues — namely, if you’re not going to let your son smoke cigarettes, by what logic would you let him play football?

I’m looking at you scientists. You have 15 years to make the perfect helmet.

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Don’t know who to root for in this year’s Major League Baseball playoffs? Well, if your favorite team is already playing golf, here’s a quick and dirty guide on who you should be pulling for:

(Hat tip: Slate’s Tom Scocca)

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Here’s the little guy/gal at 26 weeks:

Cute, no?

For those of you who know me, yes, that’s my forehead. When I was 12 years old, my bantam football coach had to call other teams in the area to see if anyone had a size 7 1/2 helmet.

God Bless the cervix that’s coming out through.

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