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Old Draft Day Habits Die Hard…

Red Sox at Orioles July 20, 2011.

Red Sox at Orioles July 20, 2011. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

For me, auction drafts are the most challenging to break old bidding patterns,  no matter how many times I pledge “to do things differently this season.”

Homeys continue to overpay, others continue to place way too much importance on spring training stats, the mathematically-challenged still obsess over their budgets, and most of us let our ego get in the way of common sense.  The latter is the most difficult habit to break.

Many of us become attached to certain MLB players, often deluding ourselves that this is THE year that certain players will break out. Go on, admit it.

MIT research found that important brain patterns change when habits are formed, change again when habits are broken, but quickly re-emerge when something rekindles an extinguished habit–routines that originally took great effort to learn.

In roto world, we witness such behavior in draft after draft. Fantasy players tend to place more importance on hunches, on hyped prospects over proven veterans coming off a bad year, on particular scoring categories, on–well, you get the idea.

On March 31, it didn’t help that I entered my draft with the second most expensive set of keepers in a veteran league primarily consisting of guys who have been competing against one another for past ten to 15 years. This paltry sum of play money was not my usual situation, and, as a result, my old habits clashed mightily with my draft day poverty.

Back to my budget woes…Ellsbury – 31, Pedroia – 28, and Votto – 28 were my high cost guys in a stable of seven keepers, which included including my best bargains, Cliff Lee and Craig Kimbrel — both $10. Left me with only $137 to acquire 16 ballplayers.

Exercising patience and trying to remain within budget were seemingly insurmountable challenges. Two-and-a-half hours went by before I acquired a player.  My neural patterns were running amuck!

Another major challenge: the auction draft ran from8:30 a.m.to around 5 p.m. That’s a long freakin’ day, despite several quick breaks.

Incredibly stressful. Plenty of smack talk. Guys poking fun at your picks and how much you had to play for the player. Even more chatter about players on the auction block. If a league member was not interested in bidding for the player currently being auctioned, he would try to drive up the price by noting how good a hitter or pitcher the player at hand is.

Speaking of old habits, I continue to be fearful of Fridays landing on the 13th. Bad luck lurks on those days, and luck is a huge part of the fantasy game.

As you all know, on this most recent Friday, April 13, Ellsbury separated his shoulder, that is expected to keep him sidelined for a minimum of four to six weeks.

Unlucky break. We all have them during the long season. Best keep in mind good and bad luck are quite habit forming.

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