The worst week ever
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - The Roman Empire crumbled 500 years after it first began.

Franklin Delano Roosevelt enjoyed 12 years in the White House.

Michael Jackson's Thriller album spent 37 weeks at No. 1.

The Kim Kardashian/Kris Humphries marriage survived 72 days.

Shark Week lasted a week (give or take).

So how long did my triumph last?

I think Shark Week had me beat by about 48 hours.

After a two and a half month climb to the top of my fantasy league, first place was finally mine. I wasn't sure what to do first.

Should I go on Conan or Letterman? Where's my statue going to go? Are they finished with my star on the Walk of Fame yet? And where is my intern? I told Matthew Berry to be here with my coffee a half hour ago.

But then as I began sticking "Pantuosco/Verlander" campaign posters all over the city (I'm not sure what office we were running for but we definitely would have won) something strange happened. My fantasy team had fallen into second place.

Soon, I had slipped to third. I ate two thirds of a ham sandwich and I was in fourth. Slowly, I was coming to a startling realization.

Matthew Berry isn't coming back with my coffee, is he?

I don't even want to tell you what place I'm in now. I might be in negative 17th by the time this article gets posted.

It's like I drove all the way to the Grand Canyon and before I could even take a good picture, they moved it and put in a Wal-Mart. And who would want to take a picture of that?

As Comic Book Guy from The Simpsons would put it, "Worst ... week ... ever."

How exactly did this collapse happen? And how did it happen so darn quickly?

I'll take a stab at it. Since July 1st, my team is hitting .176 with three homers and just 27 runs batted in.

It's always comforting to know that your fantasy team is only slightly outperforming B.J. Upton (.176, 8 HR, 19 RBI in 79 games).

When you have 25 guys on your team, you wouldn't expect them to all be hot at the same time. But you also wouldn't expect them to all be cold at the same time, either. And the latter is exactly what's happened to my team over the last week.

Speaking of cold, what's going on with J.J. Hardy?

The Orioles shortstop had been giving me steady production all year until about a week ago. Since then, he's gone 1-for-21 with no home runs or RBI. His double Saturday against the Yankees broke an 0-for-16 drought.

Brrrr. It gets worse. Things have gotten so bad for Hunter Pence that opposing pitchers are actually starting to throw underhand just to give him a chance.

Well, I made that part up but he has been pretty awful lately. The Giants right fielder is just 2-for-33 in his last nine contests. He's hitless in his last 18 at bats heading into Sunday's series finale against the Dodgers, which I can almost guarantee will not go well for him (he's an .063 lifetime hitter against Clayton Kershaw).

Pence's teammate, Pablo Sandoval, hasn't done my team any favors, either. Since returning from the DL on June 24th, he's just 5-for-41 with no homers and only one extra base hit. Panda hasn't driven in a run since May 30th. That's a span of 15 games in a row without an RBI.

But it doesn't end there. Reds slugger Jay Bruce has watched his average tumble from .281 to .272 over his last five games (2-for-19 with six strikeouts). Three hundred miles north, Cubs first baseman Anthony Rizzo has been just as useless (1-for-17 in the month of July).

Surely, Asdrubal Cabrera can save my team from total annihilation. Yeah, not so much (.125 AVG in his last seven games).

I almost wonder if they're doing it on purpose at this point. Are my players plotting against me like the Romans did with Caesar? I guess we could call it the Ides of Pantuosco.

The carnage has been almost unbearable. My team carried a .273 batting average into July. Today it sits at .267.

I think that qualifies as a catastrophe. Maybe FEMA will send us food and supplies.

There is one silver lining in all of this, though you'd probably need a microscope to see it.

Look at the calendar, Jesse. It's only July 7.

I might be chest deep in a flood of bad hitting right now but there's still plenty of time to dry off and put on some new clothes.

The last batch of regular season games will be played on September 29th. That's 84 days from now. Chris Davis might have 70 homers by then.

So if your team's in a slump, throw away the Kleenex box and stop listening to Landslide on repeat. Your season's not over yet and neither is mine. Though I highly doubt Matthew Berry is coming back with that coffee.




Comments? Criticism? Applause? Contact Jesse Pantuosco at jpantuosco@sportsnetwork.com.

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