Ask NotGraphs (#4)

Dear NotGraphs,

This is your assignment, should you choose to accept it: Design the perfect Fantasy Baseball Command & Control center. This space is to be used for managing daily H2H leagues. Knowledge (News, Scouting, Stats) is power. Watching your players live and cheering them on is probably just superstition, but it’s fun.

Your provisions:
-$1500 cash.
-One finished, climate controlled basement space, measuring 15 x 15, with 5×5 nook off one corner
-One 42” Sony LCD. This TV has VGA input and lets you watch live TV PIP while viewing your computer screen. ($1000, already invested.) You may use this or opt for something else.
-One 7′ couch and one 5′ loveseat.
-One wi-fi iPad ($500, already invested) to be used, or not, at your discretion.
-Broadband cable with its own PIP feature, internet, & wireless-N router (subscription cost already invested.)
-One Amazon Prime account and the free shipping it entails (subscription cost already invested.)

-adjacent 15×15 space with pool table
-dart board

Any subscriptions you choose to make must be cost-calculated for 4 years and subtracted from the cash. Furnish, equip, stock, & subscribe as you see fit.

Dear Lonely Reader With Disposable Cash,

You and last week’s letter writer should hang out. He wants someone to watch the game with, and you seem to have a pretty sweet setup, along with $1500 in your pocket, which you guys can use for some pretty fancy take-out. I guess my first recommendation would be MLB.TV Premium ($124.99), set up to watch the feed on your television. Maybe a mini-fridge ($70) and some snacks and beverages. Although, assuming there’s a kitchen upstairs, I don’t know if the mini-fridge even adds all that much value, since baseball games come with sufficient commercial breaks. Maybe there are readers who know about some technological breakthrough that I’m not yet aware of, or someone wants to explain in the comments why you should buy a Slingbox or a Vook or something else I’ve never used and barely heard of, but otherwise, I think you’re good. And I think I’ve just illustrated that I have no idea what people do with disposable income.

I think I need more information about the rest of your life to know how you should spend the remaining $1375.01. Because just going off your e-mail, I would recommend spending it on something that gets you out of your basement.

Something nice for your wife/girlfriend/husband/boyfriend/child/children, perhaps. Or, if none of those apply, I hear Internet dating is– wait, Internet dating sucks, I’m sure.

But if you’re spending every night alone in your basement watching your fantasy players on TV, and you don’t have anything else going on, maybe buy a couple of tickets to a few games, invite a friend or co-worker along?

Or, thinking more broadly, maybe take a class in something that interests you aside from fantasy baseball. Improv comedy? Sushi-making? Sadly, perhaps, those are what come to mind because those are the two types of classes I have ever paid money for. And the sushi-making class was, in retrospect, probably not the best use of $40, because how to make sushi is pretty obvious once you have the ingredients, and since taking the class, I’ve never made sushi.

So, $300 for an improv class, $40 for the cheapest sushi-making class you can find, $40 for two bleacher seats… do the bleacher seats once a month for the whole season, take a different friend each time… so now we’re at $240 for the tickets… and if you bought your friend the ticket, he’ll probably buy you a beer and a hot dog, so we don’t need to add that in. Still left with $795.*

Well, you can subscribe to FanGraphs+, I guess, so let’s knock you down to $790….

This is strangely difficult for me. How about a road trip? Go see a minor league game? Buy your parents a Yankees-logo medic alert bracelet? Any of your friends trying to raise money for a worthwhile creative endeavor on Kickstarter? Maybe there’s a charity you want to donate to? Does your couch need reupholstering? Is that even a thing that people do to couches? Maybe you want to just save that money to buy a half-share of Facebook after the IPO? That seems like a smart thing to do. What does a dog cost? You can dress him up in a baseball uniform, make him the mascot for your fantasy team? Buy him a dog bed if you still have anything left over, or if you don’t want him on your newly-reupholstered couch. Maybe you can get him an iPad too.

Dental cleaning? A pack of Forever stamps before the Postal Service raises the rates again? I’m out of ideas. So, MLB.TV Premium, and throw the rest of your money out the window, because you already have what you need. Commenters, be more helpful than I am. Thanks.

Good luck,

*At this point in the writing, I suddenly remembered that you stipulated in the instructions that you want me to cost-calculate for 4 years, not just one. So I could have ended the post here, and said this means we throw 3 more years of MLB.TV into the mix, assume no price increases, that’s $374.97, and spend the rest of the money on baseball tickets, 2013-2015. But, as long as I’ve gone this far, that seems like cheating, so I’m going to relegate this to a footnote and continue spending your money on garbage.

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Jeremy Blachman is the author of Anonymous Lawyer, a satirical novel that should make people who didn't go to law school feel good about their life choices. Read more at McSweeney's or elsewhere. He likes e-mail.

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