The season of being merry is upon us. Giving loved ones gifts brings us joy. Receiving gifts brings us a smile. Here are my gifts to MLB fans.
Dear Baseball fan, I feel your pain as if it were my own. I’ve seen you voice opinions of your dream Hot Stove League move for your team. I’ve seen the anger you’ve voiced over your team being unable to make those moves. Recently, I’ve seen your tears over the bickering of dollars that have “forced” owners to lockout the players. Your pain is warranted. Everything you’ve built into your team emotionally isn’t worthless. However, I can’t let you carry any angst through the duration of the lockout without offering options to release rage. I don’t want you to miss opportunities to relax and spend money on things unrelated to baseball. It may hurt thinking about something besides baseball, but it’s something we need to get used to because it’s going to be a long offseason with little to be hopeful about. Here are my gifts to you baseball fans.
Gift #1: Hockey
The oft-loved Canadian sport of choice can easily become your second favorite sport. We all love the bench clearing brawl when your favorite clean-up hitter gets beaned and hockey has the fighting. Though the fighting has been curbed some due to the risk of concussions, there are still games with great fights. Unlike a baseball game being delayed because of a hurricane, you’ll have the chance to see Hurricanes and the only thing they’re trying to destroy is the morale of the opposing goaltender. You’ll see Bruins (Cubs), Flyers (Guardians), Rangers (in New York not Texas) and more. You may find the NCAA Frozen Four to be more entertaining than an interleague game between Baltimore and Colorado. Taking in an ECHL game will remind you of taking in an MiLB game. Worst case scenario, you’ll wonder how folks can skate backwards so fast as much as how Clayton Kershaw can get his curveball to break as much as it does.
Gift #2: Basketball
How many baseball fans know there’s more basketball being played than just those NCAA games at the end of the year during March Madness? Don’t worry if you’ve never paid attention to anything besides those games. I haven’t watched much basketball since the Seattle Supersonics became the Oklahoma City Thunder. The basketball I did watch was just those games in March. Until this year. I’ve watched more basketball since the lockout began than I have in the last 10 years. Mid-major teams such as the Wyoming Cowboys and Utah State Aggies beating Power 5 schools have been entertaining games. I’ve seen the Golden State Warriors dominate teams like the Dodgers have done the last several years. Go for it, watch some basketball and discover guys jumping like like Mookie Betts robbing home runs…just more frequently.
Gift #3: Giving Back
It isn’t everyday someone gives you a gift that you give back. Today is going to be that day. During the time of year where people are busy giving gifts to loved ones, I want to give you the gift of giving to those you don’t know. Okay, this may not be a gift instead of a suggestion. But since I’m giving, I’m calling it a gift. When you give your outlook on the day changes for the better. You get to see the pain in others relieved for a moment in time and a smile on their faces. Seeing a child receiving a gift burst into pure elation because it’s the only gift they may receive for Christmas will change your life. Serving meals to the homeless will fill your heart just as much as it feeds their stomachs. Wherever it is you find to give back to your community, do it. Maybe you want to turn your love of the game into being a coach. Teach life lessons to the youth and future MLB players of tomorrow. You don’t have to have the money of Tim Hudson, Kevin Youkilis or Albert Pujols. Having a passion to help and give will open up your heart to more giving putting a smile on your face. Besides, you’re already giving gifts to your family, why not give to random folks needing a smile on their face.
Time to open your gift
These are my gifts to you. Do what you desire with them. You don’t have to accept them, but they are there for the taking. Seeing all of the articles you read about your favorite team and seeing the conversations on Facebook fan pages you participate in, this is the least I could do for you. You deserve a break. A reprieve from your frustrations and angers is needed. Hopefully, these gifts (or recommendations if you want to see these that way) will give you what you need. We all need something to distract our minds away from the labor disharmony. Until we get baseball back, we’re going to need a lot of distractions. May you enjoy one of these gifts soon. Happy Holidays and may you get all you want, including a return of MLB baseball.