Fantasy Drafts

Friday, October 07, 2005

Diseases Draft Commentary

2:37 PM

As done by S. (the first two) and by Chris (the last two).

I felt bad enough drafting these horrible diseases, but doing commentary for them ensures that a) my children will be afflicted with no fewer of 10 of the diseases on this list and b) I am going to hell. Ah well, I didn't want kids anyway:

Sydney's draft: AIDS, plague, yellow fever, syphilis, common cold, cholera, obesity, obsessive-compulsive disorder, colorblindness, neurofibromatosis

In her excellent first two picks, Sydney snapped up the most dreadful pandemic of the modern era and the archetypal epidemic disease. Some solidly creative choices followed: obesity, much-beloved "epidemic" of hand-wringing American moms; neurofibromatosis, the only autosomal dominant pick of the draft; and the world's most common disease, which gets its own aisle at the drugstore. Sydney also gets big points for Historical Significance, with cholera (which she must have picked because of its important role in creation of the boulevards of her ancestral home) and syphilis, which comes up so often in medical history classes that eventually one can predict the exact date of the inevitable Tuskegee lecture with disturbing accuracy.

Admittedly, parts of Sydney's draft were plagued by bizarre vanity picks. ("Plagued by," get it?!) Yellow fever in the third round was a serious misstep: perhaps it was an attempt to make up for disqualification of malaria from this draft, but "yellowjack" does not an adequate substitute make. Sydney, you should have taken the closure of the Walter Reed hospital as a sign. OCD -- eh. If you're shooting for a devastating mental illness – and I know you are – you've got to go with schizophrenia here. And colorblindness? I'm sorry, but this disease is downright frivolous. I mean, besides making it moderately more difficult to play "Set," does this wacky neighbor of the far more interesting hemophilia actually affect anyone's life in any negative way? No. The answer is no.

Final grade: B. Some really great choices here…and colorblindness.

Chris's draft: Heart disease, depression, ALS, BSE, Ebola, Alzheimer's, cystic fibrosis, Tay-Sachs disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, Down syndrome

Chris's idiosyncratic disease choices really cornered the coveted Media Darlings market (ebola, heart disease, mad cow, depression), not to mention the Genetics Class Faves market (cystic fibrosis, Tay-sachs, Down syndrome) and the ever-popular Diseases That Do Horrible Things to Your Brain market (mad cow, Alzheimer's, Creutzfeldt-Jakob). Still, despite nabbing the number-one killer in the Western world and everybody's favorite mental illness, Chris's choices tended to favor alarmist-rhetoric potential over actual relevance to the world. Had he known I was going to write him up, Chris might have put more of an effort into including diseases that remotely affect anybody besides rich people – his one exception, the unduly hyped Ebola, is more notable for its inspiration of various terrible movies and suspense novels than for its real-world impact. These picks also lack Historical Significance (unless you're referring to Historical Baseball Significance) – not a major infectious epidemic to be found in the bunch.

Final grade: B-. Creative, but apparently culled entirely from the archives of 20/20.

Adam's Draft: Cancer, Polio, SARS, Arthritis, Meningitis, Scurvy, Bipolar Disorder, Q Fever, Leprosy, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever

Adam's draft was all over the place: the only unifying theme I can identify is that he pulled a Sarah (you remember the Wars Draft) and went for diseases with silly names. Obviously AIDS or cancer had to go #1 overall and Adam got cancer when it fell to him -- not a difficult selection. Not the hugest fan of polio in round 2; I think it is a bit of a stretch as there are more deadly diseases, more sexy diseases and more diseases with cool names still left on the board. Adam fell prey to the same type of stretch in round 3 as he took SARS. In the disease world, SARS is the disease du jour; it has only been around since 2003 and that fact alone should knock it down a few notches. In addition, scientists think that people contracted SARS by eating civet cats infected with the virus. CIVET CATS people. You might as well eat a ferret; and, if you do that, you diserve to get a disease. Having arthritis is going to suck. I'm going on record to predict that all these years of typing is going to give us all arthritis, I don't care what the research says. Then we'll find that our particular brand of arthritis is so crippling that we can only press the remote control to the Golden Girls/Matlock/Wheel of Fortune network (WGMW). I know that isn't really analysis of his fourth round draft pick, but what are you going to do? Tell me to get back to work? Well I won't, instead I'll note that Adam's 5th round choice provides solid contrast to arthritis - one affects old people, one kills college students. Still though, not a sexy disease - try using "meninges" in your next pickup line. Seriously, I think there remained better selections in round 5. And Scurvy?! Are we sailors in the English navy? Is this commentator about to get shanghai-ed? Objectively, not a good pick here at all (lacks the cachet of other diseases still on the board), but this commentator is hardly impartial. Ask your coworkers to do a word association with "scurvy," and I bet the word "pirate" will be in the top three. And any disease that can conjure up pirates is OK by me. The rest of Adam's picks don't really inspire any greatness. Leprosy in round 9 is a fun choice and, given a few years in Adam's farm system, might develop into a steal. Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever is nice to say and is a decent last round selection.

A quick (and dirty) analysis - You're fucked, vaccine, don't eat civet cats, get over it and vote democrat, clean your room, vitamin C, get a job, not to be confused with the Q Source, banishment to an exotic locale, pull up your socks

Grade: B-; I'm not the biggest fan of this draft, Adam should have done better, too many reaches, not enough really juicy diseases. Reach - Polio, SARS; Steal - Leprosy.

Sarah's Draft: Influenza, Smallpox, Tuberculosis, Hepatitis, Diabetes, Sickle Cell Anemia, Epilepsy, Amnesia, Rabies, Chicken Pox

Sarah really had a leg up in this draft, as she was a History of Medicine major at an Ivy League School (albeit one step below SMU). In the past I bet people, her parents included, wondered: isn't she throwing her life away by concentrating in such a bizarre, non-marketable subject? In the long run the answer is probably "yes," but for this draft her education allowed her to mop the floor with us. Influenza is a fantastic choice, and could be an even more cogent draft pick if other strains of flu keep popping up elsewhere in the world. And there is no disease that better represents Columbus Day and European colonization better than smallpox. I think I'm going to start selling Columbus Day Blankets to celebrate. She nabs another "Disease of the Century" in locking down Tuberculosis and now looks awesome through three rounds. Hepatitis might be a bit of a stretch in round 4, but she makes up for it in round 5 in taking Diabetes. Anemia as a whole was pretty high on my draft board, but Sarah stole Sickle Cell in the sixth round. Through six picks her diseases hit the rich, the poor, blacks, Asians, and South, Native and fat Americans. Genius. Sarah then moves to the brain by getting epilepsy and amnesia. She closes out her draft by nabbing two things children fear: rabies and chicken pox.

A quick (and dirty) analysis - Wipe yourself, kill whitey, stay away from Nicole Kidman, don't drink water, exercise, Tupac Shakur, take your medicines, wha?, kill whitey, get 'em while you're young (avoid shingles, man those hurt)

Grade: A; She had a major intellectual head start and didn't disappoint. Reach - Hepatitis; Steal - Diabetes.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just an opinion; hepatitus is no strech, in fact it might even be a steal. One needs to realize that Hepatitus C is one of the major treats to the domestic blood supply. Moreover, Hepatitus B is prevasive in Asian populations, despite the vaccene being available here. (Tedious 7 month sequence at that.) Through the various subtypes, Hepatitus probably affects more people globally than HIV, and has serious life-altering effect. The med student knows her stuff.

11:07 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

She also knows how to spell.

5:16 PM  
Blogger Faithful Sherpa said...

I know that I've always thought that "Hepatitus" was a major treat.

5:19 PM  
Blogger Almost Ignatius J. said...

that is a very good point, anonymous, but I am concerned mainly with America. Also, she got an A, can't do much better than that. The woman got chicken pox in the 10th round! The 10th round! Can you believe that? You get it, go to the doctor and what does he prescribe? Antibiotics? A vaccine? No. He tells you to bathe in oatmeal, Quaker style.

9:54 PM  
Blogger Hired Hand said...

Typically, colloidal style. Ow ow!

12:00 PM  
Anonymous the pickle jar said...

good draft. slightly tasteless, but i still enjoyed it. whats up with the qpa's though. i was looking through some of the previous drafts that have been done and i have no idea how dan is down in the depths with bryan when, based on the drafts that they've been in, it seems that dan has outshone bryan (and seemingly most of the rest of you). am i completely offbase here or is something out of whack with your system, and possibly the universe?

6:37 PM  
Blogger Hired Hand said...

well, DAN, as you well know, the QPA adjusts for the moving average of participation as well as a grader's overall GPA. so, while DAN (a.k.a. YOU) has the highest overall GPA at 3.29, he's (that is, you) missed the last 2 drafts as well as 4 of the last 7. the # of drafts dan's participated in has remained constant at 7 while the participation average has moved to 9 per drafter - as a result, dan's QPA has been steadily dropping. wouldn't be the first time absenteeism has hurt dear daniel. although it would be the first time outside of the bedroom.

6:49 PM  
Blogger the Thin Man said...

Confederacy of Dunces to all those CLO has Confused

9:07 PM  

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