This is the worst time of the year for major league baseball fans.
The World Series ended last Monday, so now there won’t be any “real” games for almost five months. There’s nothing to look forward to on TV. No pennant races to follow, no stats to study.
The folks at the MLB Network will do a great job with the “Hot Stove League,” keeping us apprised of who’s going where in the free-agent market (and who might be going where), but it’s not the real thing. It’s not the same as watching a game from start to finish, studying the nuances, letting the excitement and anticipation grow, not wanting to miss a pitch.
What’s left to watch? Please, not the NFL, not with all those concussions and permanent injuries that make you cringe. The NHL is fun, if you can follow the puck. College football can be entertaining, but that’s usually just on Saturdays, and until they get a 16-team playoff it remains an incredibly flawed system.
There’s nothing like a baseball season, 162 games of agony and ecstasy, hot streaks and slumps, web gems and no-hitters, rookies making their mark, veterans fading away, or in the case of the Giants, veterans rallying for perhaps one last hurrah behind a great, young pitching staff. Nice job, Edgar Renteria.
They say the baseball season is too long, and maybe it is, but there are seven months with baseball followed by five months without baseball, and the former is far better than the latter.
Maybe they’ll start showing “Baseball Classics” again on TV, clips from those old World Series in the 1940’s, ‘50’s and ‘60’s. That’s great stuff, if you don’t mind the grainy pictures and distant camera angles.
Jackie Robinson stealing home against the Yankees (and Yogi Berra going nuts). Sandy Koufax mowing them down. Roberto Clemente making rifle throws from right field. Willie Mays tracking down that long drive by Vic Wertz. Marvelous.
It will have to do until we start reading stories about “just three weeks to the start of spring training,” and then “just two weeks until opening day.” Then we can follow the final cuts for the 25-man roster, see how the bullpen is shaping up, who’s going to bat fourth, who’s the No.3 starter?
It’s a grand old game. We miss it already, but it will back.
Less than five months until opening day.