It’s the end of December, and it feels like winter’s just getting started. No more baseball games on the calendar until spring training — cross your fingers — starts in February. And with the lockout a thickening cloud over the baseball off-season, the threat of wiping out next season, you might not see big league baseball for many more months, even a year. What do you do? How can you keep your love of America’s pastime alive?
By Sammy Lamb
for Assorted Ideas, Large & Small
Ideas for Surviving the Baseball Off-Season
1) Watch some old games on MLBTV: Refresh those memories while waiting for spring training to start. Imagine they’re live, today. Watch retired favorites spring back into youthful promise.
2) Read up on football: If your team is out of the running for the postseason, then all that’s left is rooting against other teams or hoping they lose enough games to make it easier for your favorite club when next year rolls around. Some baseball fans are obsessed with college basketball in March, so why not adopt another sport in the meantime?
There’s always soccer…
3) Follow soccer: Admittedly, most people don’t like soccer — football outside of the US — but I don’t understand why. It’s not like we’re getting more free time because of a labor stoppage, so pick up some newspapers or read online about soccer to get ready for next season, once there is one.
4) Get some unessential news bits from MLB: In light of all this uncertainty, MLB’s releasing tales like The “Curse of the Bambino” Exlanined, totally useless time killers. You can get addicted while idling away the winter.
Why not read a book…?
5) Read some book about baseball: This activity takes up a lot of time, so I wouldn’t recommend it if you don’t have much to spare. But there are plenty of baseball books out there other than Moneyball and The Natural, and they might not be as heavy as War and Peace or Gravity’s Rainbow. Plus, unlike those two novels that never won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction , some of these books actually did win that award, like Eight Men Out : The Black Sox and the 1919 World Series.
6) Watch movies about baseball: You probably think I’m going to suggest watching Field Of Dreams, but this isn’t one of those situations where “if you build it, they will come.” (Also, if you haven’t seen it before, Field Of Dreams is about baseball.) Instead, I recommend watching Major League : The Movie, which ostensibly takes place during the regular season but actually shows what would happen during an MLB lockout. Specifically, Tom Berenger
7) Go out and play some ball: If there’s no one around to watch or throw the ball to while you’re playing catch for fun, then try out a new sport that involves hitting a ball with a stick instead and chasing it like a collie.
How about an off-season baseball band?
8) Start a band: If you learned how to play the saxophone during your not so misspent youth, now is the time to dust off your alto Celtic folk metal album and prove that not everything sounds like Lady Gaga. There’s no need to be nervous about getting back on the horse because if David Lee Roth can make a successful comeback after taking almost two decades away from music, then so can anyone else out there who isn’t named Yoko Ono.
9) Go skating: Back when MLB players still found playing games more exciting than negotiations, there was an ad campaign running with the slogan “It’s back. It never left.” However, just because it’s winter doesn’t mean it’s time to put the bat and ball away for good. (Also, keep in mind that an ad campaign like this would’ve been run during a lockout as well.) So, if you already own some rollerblades, then now is the perfect time to go out onto your driveway or sidewalk with them on instead of playing hockey. Plus, there are no nets here so you won’t have to worry about being called for goaltending.
11) Run for political office: With all of the election coverage going on lately, it probably looks like running for office is something that everyone tries once in their lives. However, just because you hate politics doesn’t mean you can’t run for high office. Now’s your chance to run as a write-in candidate for one of those seats in the House of Representatives… It does not appear as though there are any qualifications. Even EADD doesn’t disqualify you.
Conclusion: How-To Survive the Baseball Off-Season, Lockout Edition
If you are looking for something to do this winter, consider one of the activities listed in this article. It doesn’t matter if it’s politics or skating; there is sure to be an activity that will keep you engaged during these cold months when baseball season has come and gone. The only caveat is that your interests might not align with what we’ve recommended here so don’t take our word as gospel- make sure to explore all options before making a decision about how best to spend your time during the semi-permanet baseball off-season.
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