The date is now June 12, and every Major League Baseball team has played at least 64 games.
This means that every team has played (approximately) 40 percent of its schedule. And 40 tends to be a stellar number.
Of course, there are the obvious biblical connotations: 40 years in the desert, 40 days and 40 nights, and so on and so forth.
But there is much more to this peculiarly omnipresent digit. Shall we?
It is allegedly the age at which life begins. I don't really know what that means, but then again, if that proverb turns out to be factually accurate, then as a 23-year-old, it's probably best that I don't.
It's the number of U.S. dollars that Rachel Ray needs to enjoy three square meals (including tax, tip and sometimes even a scone) in a day's worth of travel.
It is (perhaps) the Rolling Stones' answer to how many licks it takes them to get to the center of a Tootsie Pop.
It is the number of pop songs that Casey Kasem used to play on a weekly basis on FM radios nationwide every Sunday morning. Maybe this example is kind of weak, but the dude was the voice of Shaggy from "Scooby Doo." And Shaggy was sublime.
It is not the international code for direct-dial phone calls to Zimbabwe.
But it is for Romania.
OK. So at this point, you might be asking:
1) "What does this whole 40 thing have to do with my fantasy team?"
2) "Is Dave getting somewhere with this or is has he turned into Jim Carrey from that unwatchable flick, 'The Number 23,' just rambling and babbling while showing signs of becoming slightly deranged?"
Though I am a bit offended by your overall tone and short fuse, I'll provide answers to your rhetorical questions anyway:
2) How dare you.
The number 40 has no fantasy relevance ... even for those living in Romania. Forty percent is less than one half, and if you think about it, no one really cares about the score of anything at halftime, never mind at the two-fifths mark.
So even if you are wandering aimlessly in last place in your league for what seems to be a fruitless 40-year journey, all is not lost. Sixty percent of the season remains. And let me tell you, 60 is quite stellar herself.
Brandon Morrow, RP, Mariners: Before I proceed with this blurb, I will confess that I listed Morrow as a "could" last week. I realize that if there were a board game or take-home version of "Wiretap," I would be in violation of a can't-list-same-player-in-consecutive-weeks rule. But until Milton Bradley (and for that matter, Milton Bradley) tells me otherwise, Morrow stays. With Mariners closer J.J. Putz on the shelf indefinitely with an elbow injury, expect the hard-throwing 23-year-old and his shiny 1.00 ERA to get all the saves in Seattle. This is a good thing for both his fantasy value and perhaps even for his self-esteem. So, yeah, pick him up.
Jorge Cantu, 3B, Marlins:
Jorge Cantu is playing so well that he likely isn't even available in your league anymore. But there is a chance that he might be, and he is crushing the ball so fantastically that he deserves mention regardless. For the month, Cantu is hitting at a ridiculous .432 clip (19-for-44) with six homers, six doubles, 13 RBIs and 11 runs scored. If, by chance, this versatile feller is available on your waiver wire, the obvious remedy to this situation would be to pick him up, which you must. Remember, this is the same guy who belted 28 humdingers with Tampa Bay only three seasons ago.
Jeremy Guthrie aka The Guth, SP, Orioles: How The Guth remains on the majority of waiver wires is like a Chinese finger trap wrapped in a riddle sandwiched in a enigma blurred by one of those crazy magic-eye paintings; it's a mystery that makes no sense. His Guthness has dealt six consecutive quality starts, sporting a 2.25 ERA in that span to go with an awesome 27/8 K/BB ratio. Pusillanimous, he is not. And a flash in the pan he isn't either, considering the 2.74 ERA and 72/18 K/BB ratio he posted before last year's Midsummer Classic. So you should probably stop reading this and go pick him up.
Lastings Milledge, OF, Nationals: I don't know how many times I've been fooled by Lastings Milledge, but clearly, I'm content with getting fooled again. The mercurial outfielder continues to show flashes of brilliance peppered in with spells of inadequacy. I don't think anyone knows if he will ever be a full-fledged star, but with two homers and four RBIs over his last four starts and an eight-game hitting streak to boot, he's certainly worth a try.
Sean Gallagher, SP, Cubs:
The way Sean Gallagher has been pitching lately is no laughing matter. This is not too dissimilar from the situation of stand-up comic Gallagher, who somehow has made a living sledge-hammering things, like a real-life version of one of the obedient diggers from that old-school "Dig Dug" arcade game. Anyway, the actually talented Gallagher has been dealing on the North Side lately, yielding just six earned runs over his last three starts while fanning 17 batters during that 17 2/3-inning stretch. So if strikeouts are what you crave, then (Sean) Gallagher is your man.
Dioner Navarro, C, Rays:
Navarro probably deserves better than this, but he's a catcher, and that's just sometimes how it goes. Like a masked wrestler unable to break through the limelight despite silky-smooth hurricanranas and poetic dropkicks, Navarro just keeps raking under the radar. The 24-year-old backstop is batting a cool .338 for the season after finishing last year with a stellar .285-8-31 line after the All-Star break. He clearly is for real and deserves a spot on fantasy rosters over such fan favorites like Pudge Rodriguez and Jason Varitek. Plus (at least according to Baseball-Reference), he is the only player in Major League history to be named Dioner. So he has that going for him. Which is nice.