Things To Do in the Off-Season

The World Series is over, the clean up after the celebrations is completed. All the awards have been given out. Spring Training is months away.

What is the dedicated baseball fan to do?

Fortunately, it’s not hard to stay in shape.

1. Read a book. Seems there have been a lot of books being published lately that focus on one particular season. 1908, 1912, and 1954 have all seen recent treatments. Give them a look. Re-read the classics (assuming you’ve read them to begin with) – Ball Four, The Glory of Their Times, The Boys of Summer, anything by Roger Angell….

2. Watch a movie. There probably have been far more movies dealing with baseball than all other sports combined. Perhaps there’s one you haven’t gotten around to watching yet, or one you’ve never heard of. Like The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg (2000), Fear Strikes Out (1957), or Bang the Drum Slowly (1973).

3. Participate in the online Hall of Fame discussions. On January 6, the Baseball Writers’ Association of America will announce the results for the next election. Peruse the candidates. Argue about them. Get fed up and decide to create your own personal Hall of Fame. What are your criteria? Who’s in? Who’s out? Write the text that will go on their plaques.

4. Come up with a couple of “all-time” teams. For each of the 30 teams, don’t just pick a starting nine, but find complete 25-man rosters. Get silly, and compile novelty teams. How about a team of Polish All-Stars (Yastrzemski, Kluszewski, Pierzynski, Perranoski) or a team where everyone is named Joe (DiMaggio, Morgan, Cronin, Medwick)? Find a computer baseball simulation game that lets you create your own rosters using historical players and data, and pit these teams against each other.

5. Watch some historical games on MLB Classics’ YouTube channel. No-hitters, All Star Games, LCS games, and World Series games are all there, in all their complete broadcast glory (except for the commercials). The oldest one is from 1952. See great players from before your time; relive great moments in baseball history. See Jack Morris’ 10 inning complete game shutout in Game 7 of the 1991 World Series, which comes up every time there’s a great pitching performance in the World Series. Decide for yourself if Bill Buckner really is to blame for the Red Sox losing Game 6 in 1986. Watch Mariano Rivera, the Greatest Closer of All Time, earn the Biggest Blown Save of All Time (Game 7, 2001). Look in amazement at how “primitive” graphics were way back when…

6. Create a Countdown Calendar to keep track of how much time is left until Opening Day.

7. Stare out the window and wait for spring.

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