Welcome To The Off Season
And so it begins, that annual hiatus we baseball fans call the off-season. It brings with it the all-encompassing question, “now what?” A lot of people shift gears to football, basketball or ice hockey. Not me. I’m a baseball guy to the core and nothing else will do. And I’m happy to tell you that although the games have stopped, I have a variety of activities that will keep me plugged in including, watching baseball games on VHS and DVD, listening to podcasts, reading others’ blog posts, crafting my own and trading baseball cards. There’s so many things to do, I’ll may be busier with baseball now than I was during the just completed season.
As is my habit every year around this time, I’ve flown to Arizona to spend time with two of my sisters who live in the greater Phoenix metropolitan area. This will enable me to watch several Arizona Fall League baseball games. My trip will coincide with this season’s Fall Stars Game, so I’m guaranteed a chance to see many of the game’s best prospects. I’m looking forward to getting my first look at several blue-chip prospects, including Twins center fielder Byron Buxton, Cubs outfielder Jorge Soler, Padres catcher Austin Hedges, A’s shortstop Addison Russell and several others.
The curtain has already been raised on our Gold Glove Award winners and it won’t be long before the other post-season awards are announced. It’s always fun to see how my selections stack up against the experts, those individuals who are so plugged into the baseball world that their votes help select the winners. I’ve gone on record with my choices in my October 20th blog post.
The post-season gives me time to reflect on the season that has just passed into the record books, consider what each club needs in order to improve, evaluate player performance and ponder the list of free agents. This is a chance to shine the spotlight on the business and personnel sides of the game. It’s a wide view, too, because other teams will be moving players other teams covet. There’s a great deal at stake, and if you make the right decisions you can rise to the top, as the 2013 World Champion Boston Red Sox recently demonstrated. I’ll be exploring these issues in future blog posts.
I’ll continue to trade for San Francisco Giants baseball cards. I’ve connected with countless baseball card collectors and traders through Facebook Trading Groups and Baseball Card Blogs. So many of these caring individuals have rallied around our upcoming Bryan Stow Awareness & Fundraising Event. When “Baseball Cards for Bryan” was started about a year ago, I had about three-hundred Giants baseball cards and I didn’t know anyone in the Stow Family. Now there are over eight-thousand Giants cards on hand and I’ve been welcomed into the Stow Family home, where Bryan, his sister Erin, his parents Ann and Dave and I had fun getting to know each other.
As to those baseball games I plan on watching, I have a variety of resources. The San Francisco Public Library and Netflix offer a vast array of baseball games and films. Some of my pals have complete World Series DVD sets from years gone by, and they are happy to share them with me. I’m hoping this year to watch the 1991 Minnesota Twins and Atlanta Braves set. That was a series for the ages,with five of its games being decided by a single run, four games decided in the final at-bat and three games going into extra innings. My friend Chip has the Red Sox sets from 2004 and 2007. I watched the 2004 set last year, so I’m hoping to view the 2007 set this year.
I’ll have many more Grubby Glove blog posts, too. The off season is perfect for me because I’m a features guy, and with fewer games to watch I’ll have more time to write. One intriguing topic stands tall among all the rest, as it concerns the one and only Babe Ruth. I’ve often wondered about the times the Babe took the mound during his final years with the Bronx Bombers. How did he look? Whose idea was it for the Babe to pitch? What types of pitches did he throw? How was his control? And of course, who won those games? I can’t wait to dig into this topic.
Combating fan on fan violence looms large, too. I’ve already got one post on this topic well underway. I’ll reach out to the various groups engaged in this noble endeavor, especially Fans Against Violence, an organization whose headquarters is a mere twenty minutes from my San Francisco home.
So as you can see, I’ve got all sorts of baseball-related activities lined up for the next one-hundred days. What about you? I’d love to hear about your plans. Enjoy the off season everybody!