EARTH — We're not in Kansas anymore, Toto.
Wherever we are in this Bizarro Universe, I'm hoping to enjoy an extended stay.
This is that rare "Everything Is Beautiful" column, where not even a ring-finger bee sting (insert joke here) or Saturday morning's revelation that there wasn't so much as a drop of milk left in the fridge for my Cheerios can dampen my spirits.
Yes, things are good. Very good. Truly, truly, wonderfully good.
And the view from the top is breathtaking
Typically, this time of year finds me in the throes of full-tilt, Defcon-1 panic mode, desperately trying to hold together a pitching-challenged, injury-ravaged roster littered with hitters batting south of .180 while armed only with Duct tape, paper clips and a tennis ball-sized wad of Hubba Bubba.
But I entered another dimension of space and time in mid-April. A place where pitchers come in peace and bearing gifts, where stars perform like stars and one's daily box score exploration is filled with joy and wonder, not fear and loathing.
So far, May has been even merrier. By the time my scruffy face crashed against the pillows Friday night, I held a 20-point lead (which was up to 23 points at one point Saturday afternoon) in my friends and family league while holding down the top spot in my other league, with Felix Hernandez, Buster Posey, Ryan Braun and Madison Bumgarner leading the charge both ways.
There have been hiccups injuries to Michael Bourn and Aaron Hill, the failed Dan Haren and Eric Sogard experiments but it's been surprisingly smooth sailing coming off two consecutive seasons in the fantasy abyss, with seemingly every pitcher coming through my turnstile attaching a "kick me" sign to my back without my knowledge.
The early success has also allowed me to ride it out with Alfonso Soriano and David Freese, each of whom has struggled out of the gate but whose bats have finally shown life in recent days.
Coming in, my biggest question marks were the kids, Manny Machado and Starling Marte, but each has exceeded every expectation times 10 and emerged as a bona fide fantasy stud. Better still, both will be keeper eligible next year, meaning I don't have to throw them back in the draft pool next year and pay through the roof to retain their services.
We're only a month in, but it's nice not having to play catch-up or to be digging out of a Grand Canyon-sized crater out of the chute.
Still, now is not the time to get complacent. I've gotten off to fast starts in the past, only to be lapped by the competition because I sat on my duff when opportunities to upgrade my roster came and went. I've also frequently been guilty of fixing things that weren't broken with cornball trades and an overreliance on players even my mom could see were playing over their heads.
Because I'm but an injury away from tearing into the Kleenex box and getting an early jump on my fantasy football preparation, it's important to keep my head in the game and stay ahead of the curve.
For now, though, I'm not about to mess with a good thing, so stop asking for Bumgarner, Dad!
My Love Your Pitchers lineup
C: Wilin Rosario; 1B: Buster Posey; 2B: Daniel Murphy; 3B: Manny Machado; SS: Alexei Ramirez; OF: Ryan Braun, Starling Marte, Michael Morse, Michael Cuddyer and Alfonso Soriano; CI: David Freese; MI: Yuniesky Betancourt; U: Todd Frazier; P: Felix Hernandez, Madison Bumgarner, Craig Kimbrel, Jonathan Papelbon, Rafael Betancourt, Rafael Soriano, Hiroki Kuroda, Andy Pettitte and Ryan Dempster.