Remember how tense last offseason was around baseball? Sure, it was enjoyable for Yankee fans once the Bombers snatched Giancarlo Stanton from Derek Jeter and the hapless Marlins, but for the league as a whole, tensions were starting to rise. This offseason, those tensions have reached boiling point, and will certainly spill over by 2021, when the current CBA expires.
If a players’ strike wasn’t already a foregone conclusion, Wednesday’s news of the White Sox offer to free agent superstar Manny Machado somehow further cemented baseball’s gloomy fate. According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, Chicago’s offer to Machado, a 26-year-old 6-win player, was seven years, $175 million. Yeesh. (His agent did deny this rumor, though.)
It’s not just the reported offer itself that is insulting to Machado and the rest of the free agent class, but the fact that almost no other teams appear to be engaged in Machado talks given the lowball offer he has on the table is maddening. Just about every team in the league could grab Machado at that price (and even more) and in the grand scheme of things, the cost would be equivalent to a speeding ticket. Alas, MLB owners continue their efforts to diminish the financial value of today’s free agents, so here we are, on the cusp of a certain work stoppage in baseball, which hasn’t occurred in a quarter of a century.
In light of this disappointing news, it’s time to prepare ourselves for the baseball apocalypse. The offseason sucks enough without baseball, but what do we do when there’s no baseball on the horizon? What will we do to fill the baseball-shaped void inside of us? Fear not, for I have suggestions:
Replenish your baseball card collection
I’ll be honest, the great Grant Brisbee can sell you on this one much better than I can (which he did with this piece back in 2015), but I’ll give it a whirl anyway.
Baseball cards have no worth anymore, and haven’t since that bulging bubble popped decades ago. Still, there’s something still satisfying about today’s world, where one baseball card can be had via Ebay for 99 cents and delivered right to your door. The waiting for the mail represents a similar anticipation to opening a fresh pack of cards. But today, as Brisbee details, you’re completely in the driver’s seat when it comes to what cards you want. Do you want a 2017 Topps Now card of Aaron Judge robbing Francisco Lindor of a home run in game three of the ALDS? No problem! Type it into your Google search bar and there it is. How about a 1989 Bo Jackson card? It’s right at your fingertips, as is your new-and-improved baseball card collection. Sure, you might gaze upon them like the Wolverine-gazing-at-a-picture meme while missing baseball, but hey, it’s something.
Host board game nights
This is a huge one for me. Part of my love for baseball is the constant strategizing and playing the odds, and the analytics revolution has only heightened that love. So, if I can’t watch Giancarlo Stanton’s spray chart laid out on live television, then I’ll have to get my nerd out in some other way.
Classic party games are fine, but I enjoy the deeper mind exercises that strategy games offer. Some personal favorites of mine include Star Realms, Lords of Waterdeep, Cosmic Encounter and 7 Wonders. I know Settlers of Catan is widely popular in the strategy game universe, but I find it has a lack of replay value. And if we’re enduring months of baseball-less existence, then I’m really going to need some replay value.
Fall down the Sporcle rabbit hole
I find when I’m missing baseball, a good Yankees related Sporcle quiz temporarily relieves the urge. Want to test your knowledge of the Yankees’ starting rotations since 1990? Head to Sporcle! Even this great, not mindless blog has made some clever Yankees Sporcle quizzes in the past!
It’s important to note that Sporcle quizzes are many, but not endless. Pace yourself. Who knows how long this strike will last, and you don’t want to run out of quizzes too early.
Binge that show!
Here’s one of the more obvious ones. Since the offseason began, not only have I read enough baseball books to fill a shelf (that’s another hobby to consider, which I went into more detail here), but I’ve also burned through The Americans, Breaking Bad (I was very late to that party) and season three of Daredevil (RIP). Binge-watching a show is the perfect way to sit in front of a TV as if you’re watching a game, and watch the time fly by. Like Yasiel Puig, Netflix and Hulu are your friend here.
Join a friendly, competitive league, regardless of the sport
Sometimes it’s best to get out of the house and be active, right? Baseball season always gives me an excuse to remain on the couch for eternity, but without it, there will be no justifying my laziness. So get out and meet people through the wonder of sport!
My uncle plays in a cornhole league on Wednesday nights. I don’t love cornhole, but hey, it sounds like a fun activity he looks forward to. There are plenty of other options. Local towns across the country have open gym for basketball and various other sports, and organized leagues if you want to kick it up a notch. I personally like to partake in a men’s basketball league in the winter, a wooden bat baseball league in the summer (where our Middlesex County Ducks are reigning champs!) and the occasional darts tournament. The point is, there are plenty of options. With baseball stadiums closed around the country come 2021, there will be plenty of free time to peruse those options.
I like to consider myself an open-minded individual, so if you have any other ideas to take up my time once this strike commences, let me know in the comments! We have to be in this together.