Hillary Clinton does not play fantasy baseball.
I don't know this to be a fact. But I know this to be true enough that I feel comfortable leading my column with such a ridiculous declaration. Here's the rub:
It's widely assumed that within the next few days, Hillary Clinton will express her support for Barack Obama. This is what politicians do when they know they cannot win. Hillary Clinton cannot win. Her supporting him is not a surprise.
Except that it is.
I am well aware that this is how things work in politics; I understand the importance of party unity. But what I find so surprising here is not the act of Hillary Clinton supporting Barack Obama (defeated politicians do this sort of thing all the time, just ask Rudy Guiliani), but rather, the idea that it is completely normal for someone to support the person he or she just lost to.
This type of thing could never happen in fantasy baseball.
Even if it were mathematically impossible for my team to win, I know that I could never foresee a time, no matter how swallowable my pride might be, that I would abandon the squad that I spent months carefully crafting and announce to my leaguemates that not only am I throwing in the towel on my five-month odyssey but that I wholeheartedly want the guy in first place to win.
It would never happen. It would be utterly preposterous. Even the guy in first would question what in Braun's name is going on.
There is a certain je ne sais quoi to every fantasy player that would simply never allow for such a circumstance. Perhaps it is hubris. Perhaps it is not.
But whatever it is, many politicians do not have it.
And that's how I (sort of) know she doesn't play fantasy baseball.
Homer Bailey, SP, Reds: I've always tried my best to avoid recommending Cincinnati Reds pitchers. While this can be partially blamed on the fact that I almost always misspell the fine Midwestern city as "Cincinnatti" only to be later saved by spell-check, Great American Ball Park (which I almost always misspell as "Ballpark" ... because that's how every other baseball stadium in the world spells it) is chiefly responsible for my apprehension. That is, until this year with the arrival of Edinson Volquez, who's doing his best Danny Almonte impression -- except in this case, it would be all the more impressive if Volquez were actually a mustachioed 14-year-old boy. Anyway, with GABP apparently no longer a mental hurdle for hurlers, look for the just-called-up mega-prospect Bailey to flaunt his powerful arm in Porkopolis.
Alexi Casilla, 2B Twins: There's little not to like about Alexi Casilla. The 23-year-old second baseman has filled in more than admirably for an injured Adam Everett, stringing together a foxy seven-game hitting streak that has raised his season average to a super-foxy .323. What makes Casilla even more appealing is his speed, and how he can translate that speed into stealing bases. Sure, he has only two swipes thus far, but he's the same guy who unabashedly stole 74 bases from 2006-07 in the Minors and didn't even have the decency to give them back. So if a shifty repoman is what you crave, give this pilfering artist a look.
Alexei Ramirez, 2B, White Sox: For those keeping track at home, this is now two players in the Tap with some odd form of the name Alex. I assure you that Ramirez will be the last, unless outfielder Alexis Gomez gets called up by the Marlins within the next 10 minutes of me writing this and manages to swat three homers in his 2008 debut (unlikely for many reasons, namely that it is currently 3:58 a.m. ET). Anyway, Alexei Ramirez is starting to heat up in the South Side. Over his last 10 games, the 26-year-old import has been raking at a .385 clip with two homers and five RBIs. So pick him up if you're into that kind of thing.
Carlos Gonzalez, OF, Athletics: Last week, I heralded Rangers prospect Chris Davis as a great consolation prize for anyone who missed out on Jay Bruce. And while there is enough room for about 20,000 Gheorghe Muresans to sit comfortably on the Chris Davis Bandwagon, space is limited on the Carlos Gonzalez Express. And for good reason. Six games into his Major League career, the 22-year-old phenom is already showing the type of talent that made him play centerpiece in the offseason Danny Haren trade. Look past his .217 average, and you'll see that Car-Go has already ripped five doubles, a sign that his power will translate in the bigs. So give this Giant Gonzalez a look, unless you just don't like budding stars with ridiculously high ceilings.
Ian Stewart, 2B/3B, Rockies: Why would I possibly recommend a dude that is hitting just .258 on the year with no homers and only two RBIs through his first 31 at-bats? Probably because he is supposed to be really good. And Ian Stewart is. The longtime top prospect for the Rockies has been getting some run in the Mile High City, including a few starts at second. With the entire Rockies infield torpedoed by injuries, expect Stewart (.281 AVG, 12 HR, 43 RBIs, 6 SB at Triple-A) to get a long look in Coors, which is never not a good thing.
Brandon Morrow, RP, Mariners: I'm always a sucker for a pitcher who can hit triple digits on the radar gun. Except if you're Todd Van Poppel. And Brandon Morrow, you are no Todd Van Poppel. The 23-year-old Morrow has been electric this year, sporting a 1.13 ERA with 23 strikeouts in just 16 innings of work. If you're looking to add some Ks to your lineup or just looking to improve your coolness in general, pick up Morrow, who throws the ball really fast.