Fantasy Debasedball

A new game for a new era

Somewhere, we're sure, the baseball season approaches with its usual promise of vernal rebirth and renewal, all that lacy stuff the bards of the sport can't stop putting in the New Yorker. But in the Bay Area, home of BALCO and epicenter of the biggest scandal in modern sport, things are different. We know what baseball season means: more accusations, more indictments, more leaked testimony -- and that's just Opening Day. This season, make no mistake, the scandal will be the sport. So with that in mind, we've created a variation on fantasy baseball, a game for those of you who'll be following subpoenas the way you once scanned box scores: Fantasy Debasedball.

The game is simple: Choose one player from each category listed here (the "Indicted" category is optional). Over the course of the first half of the season, your seven- or eight-man team will compile statistics in the areas specified for each category. For instance, if you've picked Benito Santiago in the category of "Scrubs," and at the midway point he has had one positive drug test (100 points), been suspended for 10 days (10 points), confessed past steroid use to the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette(100 points), appeared in 50 stories with the word "steroids" (50 points), and notappeared on any pages of Jose Canseco's tell-all autobiography (zero points), Santiago will have earned your team 260 points. Attaboy, Benito! Your team score is just the sum of your seven or eight individual scores, and the winning team -- the most debased team -- is the one that finishes with the most points.

Submit your roster to by April 3. We'll tally the scores and determine the winner after the All-Star Game on July 12. The prize is a barely touched copy of Jose Canseco's autobiography, unmarked but for a coffee stain on the cover and an indent from a table leg.

Play ball!

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