Do you think that Ezekiel Elliott cries when Jimbo in Nebraska benches him for a tough matchup in Fantasy Football? Does Mike Trout pout when he’s benched in Rotisserie Baseball by the dude in the cubicle next to you who showers only every third Thursday of the month?
I didn’t think so.
And I certainly didn’t think that pro bass fishermen read my fantasy fishing column.
I figured most of them don’t care. Others are busy doing other things, like chasing off groupies and inventing 22 wire Alabama Rigs. There may even be a few who can’t read.
That’s why I was surprised at the reaction I got from my last Fantasy Fishing column on Bassmaster.com. Specifically, in Bucket D I picked Brent Ehrler over Steve Kennedy, writing of the latter angler that “You know he’s going to win again and you’ll feel like a dummy for not choosing him, but the caveat is that he also has no fear of the bomb.”
After I posted a link on social media, the first comment (submitted five minutes later) came from one Julia Kennedy of Auburn, Alabama: “Ouch. Printing out…”
I thought little of Mrs. Kennedy’s comment. Hey, she should support and root for her husband and have utter faith in his skills, but I figured that Steve likely had about as much interest in Fantasy Fishing as he does in having a patch vest full loaded with 20 logos. I was wrong. As I stood in line to grab food at Media Day in Houston, I heard a distinctive voice behind me: “Brent Ehrler? How could you pick Brent Ehrler over me? This one sets up perfectly for me.” Apparently he had read the column and was not pleased. At the boat ramp the next day, he made another barbed comment.
I felt pretty good about my decision for two and a half days, as Ehrler led the tournament. For the record, even though Kennedy’s big final day propelled him to 2nd and Brent finished 3rd, the complicated math developed by the B.A.S.S. stat gurus (some combination of tournament finish + big fish + points for leading + number of flat brim hats aboard) left Brent with more points at tournament’s end. Kennedy, of course, took home a bigger check and bragging rights.
He wouldn’t let me forget it, either. At the Champion’s Toast that evening, he offered multiple rounds of “I told you so.” Now, I have to say, getting taunted by Kennedy, the nicest guy on tour, is about as threatening as Sheldon Cooper’s trademark “neener neener.” Nevertheless, Kennedy seemed to take tremendous joy in it and I simply could not shake him. As my wife and I got on the short bus to go to Ike’s after party, who should follow us but Steve and his enabler Julia. They sat in the seat in front of us and he quickly swiveled his head to question my judgment. Yesterday I got a text from him asking if I’d seen the video of his multiple big fish catches on Bassmaster.com.
Yes, I’m picking him for Toledo Bend.