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Counting down the days

by Matt Smith

It’s that depressing time of year again: three months into the off-season.  The MLB season is an intense marathon so once the World Series is over I often feel like taking a bit of a breather.  You then get a couple of months where there is a daily dose of baseball news, with real and rumoured trades/signings doing the rounds.

But then it kind of stops.  Most of the available players have found new homes and all that’s left is trying to live on the crumbs of the odd trade.  The Hall of Fame hoopla passes me by in many respects.  I do enjoy reading about the history of the game, but I never really feel knowledgeable enough to get involved in the debates of who should be selected (although I am at least at a stage now where I have watched some of the players who are eligible).

So what is left?  Little more than counting down the days until the start of spring training, which of course then leads to a two or three week lull when you just want the real action to start.

When you compare it to football, this frustrating period is actually quite welcome.  Particularly in the summers when there is an international tournament, the season never really seems to come to an end. Even taking into account England’s ability to get knocked out earlier than we generally expect, no sooner are we mourning yet another false dawn than we are listening to players complaining about the dreaded long runs and fitness tests they have to endure to prove/disprove that they haven’t been scoffing themselves silly.

The long baseball off-season  gives you a chance to appreciate the sport even more. Now Christmas seems a fairly distant memory, the anticipation really starts to build.  April cannot come soon enough!

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