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Dear Rotoman,

All the experts say Juan Encarcion is done including yourself. However, I have this nagging gut feeling that benching him will kill me, for he has single-handedly saved my team in the Outfield when Griffey went down. I am more loyal to him than Griffey. My question is, Have you ever had a gut feeling on something like this, and would it be wrong to ignore the experts and go with this feeling.

As I write this, I find the experts have shot me in the foot, for I benched Encarcion and he just hit another homer.

Your confused follower.

I think what I said was that Encarnacion was the Cincinnati outfielder with the least trade value. I also said, weeks ago, that until the Reds could put together a trade, the Reds would probably rotate their five players (Griffey, Encarnacion, Casey, Dunn and Kearns) between four positions. Or maybe I said that’s what they should do.

In any case, that’s what they’re now doing.

I believe that you should never do anything because an expert says so, unless you believe the expert is right. What’s the point of playing the game if you don’t follow your own instincts and opinions? Sure, part of the fun is reading other people’s opinions. And some of that reading and listening may change your mind.

But you’re playing the game. If you simply follow the lead of others you’re letting them play the game with your team, and what’s the fun in that?

I happen to have Juan Encarnacion on my Tout Wars team in that so-called experts league. Twelve other so-called experts let me have him for $10, an amount he’s already earned even if he doesn’t play another game. The beauty of this game we play is the way it allows us to test out mettle and perceptions, our diligence and acumen against other worthy opponents, using the world of baseball as the field of knowledge we aspire to master.

I’m happy to have you reading my writing. I don’t really cotton to being an expert, but I read a lot and think a lot and try to pass along what I know entertainingly. And I hope some time I help you and others think through a thought. But you have to play the game.