Fantasy
My lucky day
Philadelphia, PA (Sports Network) - Every year for the Kentucky Derby my family and I draw names out of a hat and wager a friendly $5 bet.

This year one of the names I drew was "Itsmyluckyday," a horse that finished second in the Florida Derby and had 12-to-1 odds heading into the big race at Churchill Downs.

As soon as I found out that Itsmyluckyday was mine, all I could do was laugh. Because Saturday was definitely not my lucky day.

Not only did my horse get clobbered (Itsmyluckyday finished 15th out of 19 horses) but my shower head went maverick and my computer was in its line of fire.

When I tried to get the busted laptop replaced, my buddies at the Genius Bar told me that wouldn't be possible. "Your model doesn't exist anymore," they said.

Long story short, my ambitious desire to combine bathing and listening to music cost me a lot of money.

Saturday was just the latest chapter in a life full of unlucky days for me. Crashing my prom date's car (at the prom, no less), getting locked out of college dorm rooms with just a towel on ... I've done it all.

But Wednesday I finally caught a break.

Most mornings over the last month I've woken up to find myself in fourth or fifth in my eight-team fantasy league. Every once in a while, I'll roll out of bed and find myself in sixth or seventh. It's just been that kind of year for the Panting Badgers.

But this morning was different. For the first time all season, I was all alone in first place. Who knows where my team will be in the standings by the time this article hits the web, but for one glorious morning, I got to pour syrup on my Eggo waffles knowing that I was better than everyone else.

So how did it all happen? Well, I'm glad you asked. Even if you hadn't, I probably would have told you anyway because I'm pretty excited about this.

Actually, it didn't start out that great. And I'm not even talking about the silent shower I had to suffer through (my new laptop isn't coming within 20 feet of the bathroom).

As I watched Mariners ace Felix Hernandez absolutely throttle the Pirates for eight innings, I thought to myself, "Did I remember to switch him in?"

The thought of King Felix mowing down hitters uselessly on my bench was eating me up inside. Finally, I checked my lineup to see if I had indeed committed the biggest rookie mistake a fantasy owner could make. To my relief, Felix was right where he was supposed to be. Phew.

Around that same time, Jay Bruce smashed his second home run of the season. Anthony Rizzo didn't homer, but he still bashed three hits in a loss to St. Louis.

Suddenly the Badgers were in third place. Things were looking up.

The onslaught continued even after all the afternoon games had finished up.

While I was busy typing insulting things about Albert Pujols for an article, he was actually doing my fantasy team a big favor. The veteran slugger clubbed two hits to raise my team batting average to .271.

Carlos Gomez, who I miraculously discovered on the waiver wire not too long ago, proved to be even more reliable. I wanted to start chanting his name after he belted his fourth hit of the game. I didn't because that kind of behavior is frowned upon in the workplace.

A life-long Red Sox fan, I watched in terror as the Twins took batting practice on youngsters Allen Webster and Felix Doubront in a 15-8 Minnesota rout. But even that had a silver lining. Joe Mauer, my starting catcher, went 3-for-5 with three runs scored.

After a couple of home runs from Alex Gordon and J.J. Hardy, I noticed that something incredible had taken place. The Badgers had leapt from the middle of the pack all the way to the league's top spot.

And that's when things really got interesting. Now I had a decision to make. The Dodgers and Diamondbacks game was about to start and Arizona starter Wade Miley was still in my lineup.

By sitting Miley, I was pretty much guaranteed first place in the morning. It was the safe move, especially considering Miley's control issues in his previous two starts (10 walks in 9 1/3 innings). Miley was also facing Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw, so a win seemed unlikely.

On the other hand, Miley entered the game with a 3.06 ERA and the injury- depleted Dodgers were in the midst of a six-game losing streak.

So what did I end up doing?

I went to the mound, gave Miley a pat on the back and said, "Go get em, Cowboy."

And it turned out just fine. The lefty only allowed two runs in 7 2/3 innings. He didn't even walk a batter. Arizona won, 3-2, to secure Miley's third win of the season.

My team finished the night with a .380 batting average in 51 at bats and a 2.41 ERA over 18 2/3 innings. And most importantly, first place was all mine.

Not bad, right?

Well, I did leave out one minor detail. I locked my keys in the car and had to have AAA come and get them out for me.

But at least I had my clothes on this time.




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