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"Hello caller, you have no life" (11/26/03) --
If there’s anything more annoying coming through my speakers, I have yet to hear it. I have heard the horrors of Chumbawamba, 98 Degrees, and the Spice Girls, but there still is nothing worse than this:

I’m speaking, of course, about fantasy football shows on sports radio.
This is the simple most brutal hour of radio in the world. Fantasy sports are fine, but only under a set of rules:

1) You never talk about your fantasy team with anyone outside of your league.
2)You never, EVER, cheer against your own team for the betterment of your fake fantasy squad
3) You never brag about winning or championships outside of fellow fantasy confidants
4) You never consult outside help. Ever.

These call-in shows not only break all four of those rules, they blatantly set the parchment on fire, urinate on it, and then throw it in the river. There is a difference between fantasy players and fantasy geeks. Believe me people, these talk show participants are setting world records in geekdom every time they pollute the airwaves.

If you have never heard one of these shows, say a silent prayer of thanks right now and again at the dinner table on Thursday. You are truly blessed. For those of us who have had our ears forever defiled, we can only relay the unspeakable horror of these radio gatherings. I only hope that most of you will not be endure what I've had to. That is the purpose I’m fulfilling today, the Paul Revere of fantasy sports if you will.

The fantasy geeks are coming! The fantasy geeks are coming!

The first thing you need to know about these shows is that the hosts are the two most obnoxious and least knowledgeable employees at the station. When the call goes out to staff this show, they usually check in the janitor’s closet first. Not for the janitor (he wouldn’t demean himself by hosting this show), but rather for any corpses that might be rotting inside. From the janitor’s closet, they proceed to the most idiotic interns and board operators until they have two hosts that are an abomination to the human race.

With these men on board, they pick a time to go on the air. “Fantasy Football Friday” usually seems to be popular, with the show either airing in the morning hours or right after drive-time. From the Handbook of Fantasy Football Call-In Show Developing, I discovered they do this to make sure they ruin any chance we, the listeners, have at a good weekend. Thanks a lot guys, I really appreciate it.

This is the kind of stuff these people find humorous. A large part of me wants to make fun of these people, but I know better than to make fun of the developmentally challenged.

With the show now on the air and officially throwing a giant black cat in front of your weekend plans, the hosts go into “Hyper-Obnoxious Super Duper I’m-a-Huge-Loud-Moron” mode. For the sake of brevity, we’ll refer to this as “Bill Walton” mode. The two hosts will begin to spout off on their collective fantasy knowledge and their overwhelming know-how when it comes to this ridiculous pursuit.

Host 1: So, Bill, what do you think about Donovan McNabb this week?

Host 2: I tell you what, Jon, I would be willing to bet my house that McNabb will throw for 300 yards against the horrible Cardinals’ defense!

Host 1: Your house! Oh man, get out of town!

Host 2: It’s true, my house!

Host 1: Oh man, WOW! He must be a lock!

These guys will go on to tell stories about their own teams (which nobody, and I mean NOBODY cares about) and what they are going to do for the weekend in terms of their teams. All the while, they act as these “holier than thou” fantasy experts that are going out of their way to speak to us on Friday afternoon. No, idiots, I’m going out of my way to listen to your show and you better be happy I am, because my dial is the only thing that is keeping you from shuffling papers at the studio.

Next, we have our call-in base. The hosts, admittedly, are the lowest form of life on earth. But these hosts are at least energetic amoeba. The callers, on the other hand, are just really sad and depressing. However, they recognize a fellow subhuman on the other end so they pander completely to what they say. Honestly, you’d think that they were speaking to the Lord Almighty when they call these people because they will do anything they are told.

Caller: So, uh, do you think I should play Steve McNair this weekend or Ryan Leaf?

Host 1: Let me tell you what I did, Buckshot, and what I’m going to do this week. If I were you, I think I would go with Tom Tupa because I heard that he might drop the whole punting gig this week and go back under center.

Caller: You know, I was thinking of doing that. Thanks a lot!

That's what really gets me about the whole call-in aspect of these shows, the fact that the hosts go out of their way to make everyone feel like they are doing us a favor by taking time out of their busy shows to answer the phone.

Unabashed truth: You are doing everybody a disservice by being even functioning during this hour.

These hosts sit there and blab about meaningless fantasy stats (You know, Priest Holmes isn’t really that good. Sure he scores touchdowns, but the 67 yards that Larry Centers had in receptions last week is the kind of thing that’ll win the league for you.) Then, they decide to take a call and make it absolutely as short as possible. It’s as if they won’t even let the other person reason with them or have a discussion on who to play. These hosts are omnipotent fantasy dorks and you’ll be damned if you don’t take their advice.

The best aspect of these shows, in my opinion, is how many of them have the “female callers come on the air first” rule. There is no reason for this other than the fact that it is the only time all week that these “men” will talk to any female, or come into contact with in any form, and therefore they are absolutely beside themselves when they get the opportunity. Newsflash geeks: Just because a woman asks if she should start David Boston over Joey Galloway doesn’t mean that she wants to have your baby. In fact, she’s more than likely calling for her boyfriend so that he doesn’t have to wait in line.

Yes, these shows are a bane on the sporting world. Fantasy sports are a positive thing when controlled, but when left unregulated, they grow into a monstrosity like this. If your fantasy week comes down to the advice of two zeros on the radio, it’s well worth the loss to be able to look yourself in the mirror at night and say, “You know, I lost my job, my family rejected me, I’m overweight and have no hair, but I didn’t call that fantasy show today and because of that, I am a blessed man.”

You are indeed. You are a true hero in the Leonardite’s book. If everyone followed your lead, this world would be a much better place.

The Leonardite
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Dedicated to The Stick