It is hard to believe Major League Baseball crowned its 112th World Series Champion a week ago in what some are calling the greatest Game 7 ever. Much like the groundhog’s shadow signifies six more weeks of winter, the “Fall Classic” brings with it a period of thumb twiddling and questions leading up to the day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. You will see article after article providing team updates on player moves and contract negotiations. I myself, have a different approach to the off-season.
As baseball season comes to an end, so too does my nine-month long obsession with the sport. There are those whose obsession reaches a new level during the off-season, but I prefer to distance myself from baseball for a while and find enjoyment in other things. Below you will find my baseball fan’s guide to surviving the offseason.
Step 1: The World Will Continue Spinning
For Chicago Cubs fans, this off-season will be the most amazing time of their lives. The other 29 fan bases are forced to cope with another losing season though, and that can be incredibly difficult. Speaking as a fan of one of those teams, I invite you all to take a deep breath with me. Close your eyes and release that pent up tension that has inevitably been building over the last nine months. And this next part I cannot stress enough, so listen closely. EVERYTHING WILL BE OK. Although it may feel like it for say, the Cleveland Indians, or Americans as a whole with the impending election, the world is not ending. The sun will rise tomorrow as it does every day.
Step 2: Find a Distraction
There is no better way to take your mind off a losing season, than by distracting yourself from the fact that you just endured a losing season. I highly recommend television. We are in, dare I say, a golden era of programming again. You can watch literally any show at any time, which is truly incredible if you stop and think about it. Having sat in front of a screen to watch somewhere around 162 games, the imprint you left in your spot on the couch is still warm. Why not keep it going with some quality entertainment?
If you are in the mood to laugh, you can pick your poison from a slew of awesome shows. Far be it from me to judge, but if you feel like having a good cry, there are networks solely devoted to providing you that outlet. I will say the Hallmark Christmas movie marathon is spectacular. For you intellectuals out there that want to access the left side of your brain, yeah, there are shows for that too. Of course, you could always go the complete opposite direction and do something unheard of in this day in age. You could crack open a book. I hear those also come in many different varieties.
Step 3: Take Up a Hobby
A fun way to pass the time is by doing something you love. Yes, we all love rooting for our respective teams. That one is a given, but you actually can find happiness in other things. Just take a look outside at this fall weather Mother Nature has bestowed upon us. Go for a drive with the radio blasting, you know that archaic device included with every vehicle purchase.
Disclaimer: If you are ever in the lane next to me, do not be surprised if you see me busting out some of my best “dance” moves while belting songs at the top of my lungs.
You can always learn how to do something new with the extra time you have been given as well. Recently, I actually baked a successful batch of cookies. Recently I also had two bowls of grits explode in my microwave. Baby steps. Just find something, whatever it may be, that allows you to forget about the season, even if for a short while.
Step 4: There Are Other Sports
If none of the other three steps appeal to you, there are always other sports. Chances are you were already casually following others along with the MLB season anyway. Now you have more time to focus on them. It is a win-win. Then again, if your favorite football and basketball teams also fail you, it is a lose-lose. And if that is the case, I can only say take solace in the fact that baseball season is 144 days away. The beautiful thing about sports is they are available to us 365 days a year. New York Mets ace Noah Syndergaard said it best. “Baseball has a way of ripping your heart out, stabbing it, putting it back in your chest, then healing itself just in time for Spring Training.” I think it is safe to say we can relate this to sports in general.
Step 5: Do Not Fight It
The final step in my off-season survival guide for baseball fans is refusing to accept the outcome. There will come a point over the next four months that we all face. We will experience withdrawals and desperately feel the need for our baseball fix. Luckily, MLB Network is devoted to providing baseball coverage year round. Of course you can also follow all of the off-season activity (Winter Meetings, Prospect Lists, Arbitration, etc.) right here on Talking Chop.
I know it is not the same as an actual season, but the 2017 World Baseball Classic begins March 9th. To tease us, there will be qualifying round games during the month of February.
As we all undergo this painful period in our lives, know this. You are not alone. Treat the comments section as our own support group. Look at it as our way of grieving.