That's a part deep inside all of us, we must admit, that wonders if athletes are secretly basing the outcomes of their games not on whether or not their team wins, but whether or not it affects their fantasy team. We've all thought it.
And Tom Candiotti, in this Sunday's San Francisco Chronicle, finally confirmed it.
"It's '92 or '93," Candiotti says. "I'm playing for the Dodgers, Jeff Kent is with the Mets. I'm in a fantasy baseball league. I don't have Kent on my team and he's off to a torrid start and he's killing me."
Ramon Martinez is warming up in the Dodgers' bullpen to pitch the series opener. Candiotti strolls to the pen and, within earshot of Martinez, tells pitching coach Ron Perranoski, "Perry, I just talked to Bret Saberhagen, and Sabes told me that if Kent gets drilled his first time up, he's mush for the rest of the series."
"Ramon just absolutely buries one in Kent's ribs," Candiotti says. "It was so bad that he went down on one knee, and he had to come out of the game. I sat there thinking, 'What did you just do? You told a complete lie, you got this guy drilled!'
The best part of the story? Candiotti talks about how after that, "Pedro Martinez (Ramon's brother) started drilling Kent, and so did all the other Dominican pitchers. For years, Ramon drilled Kent every time." Of course, it's worth noting that, uh, non-white pitchers seem to be beaning Kent all the time, and we're not sure the reason is fantasy baseball.
Tom Candiotti Fesses Up: Fantasy Baseball Scheme [San Francisco Chronicle]