You know, I just can't help feeling a bit empty today. Millions of fantasy football "players" across the nation have that same pit in their stomachs, the one that shows up a week after fantasy leagues have concluded and NFL games become just ... NFL games.
Fortunately, I still have the Denver Broncos, who might make the playoffs, to anguish over. My other team, the Cards, well, I gave up on them during their second-half meltdown against the Chicago Bears several weeks ago.
I know. Many of you have already moved on to another column, maybe O'Reilly. Talk of football, especially fantasy football, makes you feel like slamming your head into a wall. That's OK. I feel the same way when my "team" comes up short each year.
Some people will begin putting together their "lists" for fantasy baseball, or maybe they're already playing fantasy hockey. Most, however, will turn their attention back to reality, counting down the days until the next NFL draft. It's for those that I write this column today.
I may have come up with a way to fill that void between late December and late August. It's called Fantasy Stars. Who knows. This game might even appeal to people who've never played fantasy sports before.
Here's how it works:
Just like fantasy football, "owners" come together to draft players at the beginning of the season, which lasts from January to July. All celebrities are available to pick up, but the ones who are prone to get in trouble will be in high demand. Celebs like Tom Cruise, Britney Spears and Paris Hilton will be the Peyton Mannings and LaDainian Tomlinsons in Fantasy Stars.
In fantasy football, owners score points depending on what their players do on the field each week. Carson Palmer throwing four touchdowns can generate big-time points. Fantasy Stars would work the same way. Points would be given when your stars have a meltdown, a few points for minor mishaps, huge points when they totally lose their minds.
For example, an astute owner who played Mel Gibson the week he got drunk and bad-mouthed Jews would have easily scored a hundred points.
Some stars would garner more points than others. While Paris Hilton is certain to get you a few points each week, there's really nothing short of suicide that could score double fugures. Same goes with Spears or Rosie O'Donnell. They are so off to begin with that they really have to do something totally wacky to score a lot of points. Michael Richard's tirade against blacks at the nightclub a few weeks back would have been off the charts.
In fantasy football, you play against other owners each week. The one who collects the most points wins that week. Fantasy Stars would work a bit differently. Points would be accumulated throughout the season, with one winner being named after the final week. That way, even if you're losing, you still have a chance to pull it out in the end, when, say, Walter Cronkite lets loose with a flurry of expletives at an AARP convention.
But who says players have to be limited to actors and acting wantabees. That crazy nut of a president in Iran could generate consistent scoring, and even folks like "60 minutes'" Andy Rooney does something wacky once in a while. The commissioner of the league would have to decide scoring per incident, because no one could even begin to dream up some of the crazy things stars will do.
Who knows, maybe Fantasy Stars will catch on to become more popular than fantasy football. If it does, remember where you heard it first.
I've received dozens of phone calls and e-mails (and a couple of letters) on which comic strips Miner readers want to keep ... and which they'd like to see gone. On Wednesday, I will tally the results. I'm sure some readers will be unhappy, and I sincerely wish I could keep them all, but I can't. Majority will win the day. Right now, "Dilbert" is taking a major hit.
Keep in mind, these changes will only be for the daily comics, Monday through Friday (and Sunday black and white ones). Sunday color comics will not change. As I've discovered, it takes almost an act of Congress to change those.
Please e-mail me or leave me a message about the comics you want to keep or get rid of if you haven't responded yet. There's no need to contact me if you've already voted. One vote per person. You can send an e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org or leave a message at 753-6397, ext. 222.
I appreciate your time and I thank you for helping us put together the best Miner possible each and every day.