The Orioles put an interesting spin on how they decided the draft order for their annual team fantasy football draft this past weekend – with the help of some Maryland blue crabs.
Reliever Darren O’Day wanted to do something more exciting than just picking names out of a hat. At first, O’Day was thinking about having a snail race, but he soon found out snails aren’t that easy to purchase.
“It’s hard to buy them,” O’Day said of the snails. “I was looking out looking in the garden, and I looked down in the harbor because I live right down by the water and I saw crabs everywhere. I thought, 'Beautiful. That’s what you do in Maryland. Crabs and football, right?’”
So the Orioles put their fantasy football draft order fate in the hands -- or rather, claws -- of crustaceans.
O’Day went to local crab house Cravin’ Crabs and bought two dozen live blue crabs. Their claws were taped, and along with closer Jim Johnson, the league's commissioner, O’Day picked 12 crabs to represent each of the fantasy league’s 12 team owners and labeled them.
They then unleashed the crabs and conducted a race – about eight to 10 yards long – through one of the ground-level tunnels at Camden Yards before Saturday's game against the Royals.
“Jim and I were trying to think of something creative because everybody just does the blind draw,” said O’Day, who tweeted a photo of the crabs Wednesday. “And we wanted to do something big. We were going to do snails, but crabs just seemed better to us. It seemed more apropos. It was more exciting than any other draft order.”
Chris Davis’ crab crossed the finish line first, earning him the top pick in the draft.
“He basically just dominated everybody,” Davis said of his crab. “[Right-handerJason] Hammelhad a crab that was about a foot away from the finish line that actually beat everyone’s down there and then just decided to pull over on the side of the road. My crab just went up and over him -- just completely demolished him.“
After the race, the contestants – even Davis’ winning crab – met a difficult fate.
They became crab dip.
Davis said he hasn’t decided who to select with the overall pick.
“Obviously the fans around here probably want me say I’m going to take Ray Rice with my first overall pick, but I don’t know who I’m going to take,” Davis said.
“It remains a mystery,” he added. “Maybe Bart Starr.”