The Michael Smith Story
2012 Diamond Challenge Roto $50,000 Grand Prize Winner!
To say the least, the last day of the baseball regular season was an exciting day for Michael Smith. After a 15 strike out game by James Shields, he was just a few points out of first place as he entered the day, and he knew that he had a shot at the $50,000.00 Cash Grand Prize.By the time the afternoon games had ended, Michael's team, "The Infants - Rosie and Talia", had gained the top spot and the top prize.

For Michael, 18 strike outs from Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee and Craig Kimbrel became much more important than the outcome of the game between the Rangers and Athletics who were fighting for a division championship. With $50,000 on the line, Michael nervously watched and waited until all games had finished that day before realizing that he had landed the biggest prize in Diamond Challenge by 132 points.

To say that the watching part was rather difficult is an understatement given that Michael has been having some serious eye problems lately. But, the joy of winning the "Granddaddy of all fantasy baseball games" made all of the tension worth it. "It was pretty exciting at the end" Michael recalled, "and after the early games ended and I was back in first, I hoped I would stay there."

The 60 year old accountant from Chicago has only been playing the Diamond Challenge for 3 years, and he had never previously finished anywhere near the top. He finished 1164th in 2011 and 961st in 2010. He had a 2nd place finish in Playoff Baseball in 2009, and played 2006 & 2007 2nd Season Diamond Challenge but he hardly considers himself a seasoned veteran of fantasy baseball as a result of that finish. "I played in an office league in 1984 for a few years", he said, "and my brother Bill got me started playing this game a few years ago".

Michael's road to victory came with its share of bumps. He was leading the Diamond Challenge from August 15th to September 12th, and he had a 600 point lead at one point. Watching that lead disappear was a little demoralizing, but as Michael said, "It was time for my players to start producing again".

Michael noted that some of his key players were Fernando Rodney and Josh Hamilton at the beginning of the season. He had hoped to get stolen bases from Brett Gardner and Jacoby Ellsbury, but when they went down he bought Emilo Bonifacio and Michael Bourne. Starting Pitching was his strong suit, and he only used one buy on a new starting pitcher all year. His staff included Clayton Kershaw, Cliff Lee, Gio Gonzalez, James Shields, Felix Hernandez, David Price, Stephen Strasburg, Madison Bumgarner, Justin Verlander and Cole Hamels.

When asked about his September call-ups, Michael admitted, "I probably made a mistake with them. I took Jonathan LuCroy and should have taken Buster Posey. And, I needed someone for David Ortiz and took Mark Trumbo." But all's well that ends well, and he had just enough to become the 21st Diamond Challenge Roto Champion.

Here are the stats for Michael's 2012 winning team:

BattingPitching
.2816 BA132 Wins
1683 RUNS155 Saves
1535 RBI1829 SO
465 HR2.8167 ERA
305 SB1.1062 WHIP
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