Fantasy Files: Shaking Hands with the King

I met Matthew Berry. There, got that off the bucket list. Just like an episode of Breaking Bad, let’s start with the freaky image and fill in the details later.

I left work at 3:30 to get to the book event that started at 6. That’s how well I know the Atlanta traffic. Berry’s publicity guy may not have known that. He arrived fashionably late, around 6:30. There was a line for autographs. I got there around 5:30 and the room was almost empty. A guy handed me a copy of his book. At the book events I’ve attended before, and I’ve been to a few with a wife in the “biz”, usually the purpose of the book event is to sell books that you get autographed. With Mr. Roto’s deal with Dave and Busters, I think D&B must have been contracted to buy a bunch of books and hope to make money back on food and drink. In my case, they more than broke even.

It is fun to go to an event and know that everyone else is as afflicted as you, if not worse. Talk of NFL teams flowed like the Newcastles we were drinking. It was the best thing on the beer menu, trust me. Berry took control of the situation, telling everyone to sit down and that he’d sign books after doing a Q&A.

How do you know that fantasy football’s taken over? Of the 20 or so questions that were asked, maybe three were on fantasy sports other than football. I’m going to cheat here a bit and pretend that I had an exclusive interview with Berry, and just post the two questions/answers that I asked. I had to modify my “money question” a bit.

What do you think of more, fantasy sports of sex?

*He repeated the question for the audience* Atlanta is rowdy tonight. I have my wife in our fantasy football league, so it’s often the same thing at the same time. [Zach note: The next question from the audience was “Have you ever traded with your wife for sex?” and he answered: “No, I have not needed to. But we’ll see. It’s a relatively new marriage.”]

I got a quick, one-line response so I knew I needed to try another angle.

Is there one fantasy football league that you want to win the most?

Yeah, it is the War Room League. It’s the one I talked about with all the guys like Schefter, Mort, Trent Dilfer, Hasselbeck, Trey Wingo, Mark Schlereth, Stephania Bell, Sara Walsh, Ed Werder. All these NFL guys who work for ESPN, they have this inside information, it’s hilarious. Last year, remember when Willis McGahee went down and everyone picked up Ronnie Hillman, Chris Mortonson picked up Knowshon Moreno. We were like, “Knowshon, practice squad Knowshon?” Cut to Knowshon’s the starter next week. Adam Schefter in the draft last year reached high for Alfred Morris. You know, Schefter co-wrote a book with Mike Shanahan when he was a reporter in Denver. We were like “what does Schefty know?” It’s hilarious because about four weeks into the season, Schefter made an offer to everyone in the league for Alfred Morris. He had a surplus of running backs and he needed wide receivers in a PPR league, and nobody would trade with him. He’s sitting there, he’s trying to sell Morris, and we were like “you’re buddies with Shanahan. What are you talking about? We know you must know something.” And he’s like “No no no, they believe in Morris, I just need to trade a running back!” Nobody would trade with him.

I remember I was trying to trade with Trent Dilfer last year. I was offering him a wide receiver. We kind of had a deal in place. He said “I need to think about this, but I’m probably going to do this”. What happened was, Dilfer turned down the deal at the end of the day. I said “Dude, what’s wrong?” He said “Ah, I texted his quarterback. He doesn’t like him.” That happens in your league, right? Somebody in your league can just text an NFL quarterback and ask them who he doesn’t like?

That’s the the league I want to win the most. They’re all former athletes. These are guys who have won Super Bowls. These are guys who are the insider’s insiders and I’m the fantasy nerd. They’re nice to me and we’re friends, but that’s the league I want to win the most. Last year I won that league. Thank you very much.

Matthew’s also in a league with people from the Howard Stern show. I’m in a league with guys I met on the Internet and still don’t know what half of them look like. Winner, not me.

Mr. Berry was very nice, signed my two books and when I tweeted the picture last night, responded and we are working on a real-life, big-boy interview. So yeah, a good time was had by all.

As for the picture, well, I didn’t realize that it looked like I was sitting in the lap of Fantasy Santa.

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