Matthew Berry's TRUM for March 28

I'm not taking credit or anything, I just merely want to point out that Ron Jaworski had worked in broadcasting for over 20 years … and nothing. Then, one season of working with me on The Fantasy Show, and boom: "Monday Night Football."

You draw your own conclusions, but just saying. Two decades before -- nothing. Less than 20 episodes with me? The big dance.

Jokes aside, I'm thrilled for Jaws because I gotta tell you, he's exactly the same off the air as he is on. Just a great guy.

By way of awkward segue, I will tell you that the thought process was "Why not? It'll be fun to try."

Now, I have gotten in a lot of trouble in my life for various things I have done after uttering that statement, but in this case what I was doing is known in some circles as the Labadini Plan. Named after Larry Labadini, who was the first known guy to do it, it is a fantasy strategy that boils down to this:

Of your $260 cap, you spend $9 of it on pitching.


Here's how it happened:

Last night a bunch of big muckity mucks here at The Worldwide Leader had their fantasy baseball auction. Now, the reason this is cool for you is that the league was comprised of all the folks that make decisions for the company.

In other words, the boss plays fantasy. Which, when you think about it, is very cool. They get it. They care. They wanted the fantasy guy to be their auction monkey.

So I get there and, of course, being big muckity mucks, one of them gets called away on muckity muck business. So we're an owner short.

So now I'm the auctioneer and I'm doing a team.

I'm not gonna be able to keep track of everything -- we gotta get this going very quickly; it's one night after work, everyone's already tired -- so I figured this was the perfect opportunity to do it.

It's a 10-team mixed league, so it's ridiculously shallow. And my thought process is that in shallow leagues like this, there comes a point, fairly quickly, when the talent evens out. This is not a league in which you're stuck playing a guy like Mark Loretta, and guys like Moises Alou didn't get drafted.

Anyways, pitching is plentiful, as well, so if I could just load up on offense, I know enough to assemble a competent pitching staff. Plus, if I blew all my money early, I wouldn't have to worry about bidding and could concentrate on doing a good auctioneering job for aforementioned muckity mucks.

Here's the team. Ten-team league, 5x5, roto style, start-from-scratch auction. And, oh yeah, we play only one catcher. Hey, I didn't make the rules. And I'm not putting prices because the prices in this league were really, really skewed, especially when two guys in the league figured out what I was doing about a third of the way in. Just know that I overpaid to get top-of-the-line guys like Albert Pujols and Carl Crawford (you need as many "difference makers" as possible in this type of strategy) and the pitchers are all $1.

C Brian McCann
1B Albert Pujols
2B Ian Kinsler
SS Hanley Ramirez
3B Joe Crede
MI Jeff Kent
CI Carlos Delgado
OF Carl Crawford
OF Bobby Abreu
OF Magglio Ordonez
OF Carlos Quentin
OF Eric Byrnes
UT Travis Hafner

P Kelvim Escobar
P John Patterson
P Chuck James
P Chris Capuano
P Kei Igawa
P Jonathan Broxton
P Bob Wickman
P Jose Valverde
P Joe Borowski

B Roger Clemens
B Daniel Cabrera
B Rich Aurilla

Wanted to talk about my head-to-head strategy but I'll save that for tomorrow because I wanted to address a few comments on the brand-spanking new ESPN Conversation.

Bigdoggy59: Checked out the Tout Wars site and $11 for Pena was a typo. Should have been $1. Considering you were in an AL-only league with 12 teams, your draft still makes little sense. If any of your stars get hurt, you're toast. Too many $1 players with little upside when a lot of guys with some potential were selling for under $5. You lament spending $14 on Pudge when you should be slapping yourself silly for dropping $195 on seven players, leaving you to an average of $4 each for the other 16. Not to be snide, but I did notice your average AL finish over three years is 9th in a 12-man league. There may be a clue in there about your drafting strategies …

Berry: A few things, and then later this week we'll have a full recap/analysis and all rosters on all of the leagues. He is correct on Pena -- that was corrected. He was my last pick. Trust me on this -- there's 12 teams that draft 29 players each in only the AL. If any stars on any team get hurt, you're done. It's DEEP.

And my basic theory on most leagues, especially one-year non-keeper expert leagues is to play for first place. You win one of those things only if everything goes right and you get some breaks along the way. So I tend to gamble a bit more than others. When you do that, sometimes you win, sometimes you flame out. Last year, for example, I had Gary Sheffield and Alex Rios plus the brutal first half of Richie Sexson along with the underperforming Dan Johnson and Hank Blalock. That's just a ton of offense. The fact that I managed to finish a point out of fifth with those losses is actually impressive to me.

Seriously, in a league in which 348 AL-only players get drafted and then we have a disabled list, so when someone gets injured you can just add to your team … there's no way to recover from massive losses like that.

Anyways, if you read the book "FantasyLand," you know that due to a TV thing (and, uh, oversleeping since the TV thing was at 4 a.m. and I went back to bed after) I missed the first 90 minutes of the 2005 draft. So that 11th-place finish I don't really count. But still. I missed an hour and a half of the auction, and I still beat someone.

And it's hard to look at prices in an auction because price is often dictated by when a guy is thrown out. Trust me -- thrown at the beginning of the auction, Dice K goes for a lot more than if he comes out in the middle. So the $5 and under guys you are talking about I couldn't get because I was at $1 only at that stage. That happened because I got caught price enforcing on Pudge.

Not being defensive -- I've made mistakes, I'll make them again -- and I cop to them, but there's a rationale behind everything, even if you don't agree. By the way, I love when a dude says something like, "Not to be snide, but … here's a snide comment."

Come on. Of course you mean to be snide. It's not like you're trying to avoid it, but you can't help yourself. Which is fine. Be snide, insulting, bring it. Express your inner anger. It's all good and comes with the gig. I've been called much worse. Just cop to it.

Much more fun would be, "And, if I can be snide for a second …"

racerxmc5: Matt, glad to see you joined ESPN. Sorry about your divorce, however, as my friends say, it's expensive because it is worth it! In Tout you picked up three Seattle players for $64. In your love/hate article you said: "SEATTLE: You know how on legal documents they'll put things in there that says 'This page left blank intentionally.' Well, that's how I feel about Seattle this year. No one on this team excites me. There are some solid players, of course, but no one I think that exceeds his projection." Did you have a change of mind or do you think Seattle has a chance this year? You are expecting all three players to meet or exceed the $ you paid?

Berry: That's a great line on the divorce. Thanks for the kind words. It's been weird. About Seattle, yeah, I'm gonna do a Love/Hate update tomorrow, but no, none of the three guys I get excite me. But all are solid. Ichiro is in a contract year, but I didn't want to put him down as a Love. I mean, it's Ichiro. A little obvious, no?

Sexson does what he's supposed to do, but I don't feel he exceeds expectations, and Vidro was the last remaining second baseman at that point who had any skills at all. He'll be solid, and I felt it was a good price for him (especially at that point in the draft) but no, he's not a guy I reach for.