A continuation of our part 1 piece on surviving the baseball-less winter and preparing for opening day!
Baseball Cards: Seriously, the next time you’re out at Target, swing by and buy yourself a pack of the 1.99 Topps 2012 baseball cards. It’s a great way to get into the spirit of the season, and you’re partaking in a hobby that stretches back to the late 1800’s.
One of the only traditions I’m planning on continuing with my children one day is that when I was born, my father went out and bought me the complete, 1989 Topps box set. When I turned 17, he gave them to me, and we spent hours looking over them and basically catching up on baseball history since the year of my birth. It was a great time, and it’s something simple and affordable to do for fun.
In fact, even ESPN’s Bill Simmons loves baseball cards, to the point where he suggests the idea for a bachelor party to buy a bunch of unopened packs from past years, pop a couple brews, and then enjoying opening them up together. (Note: To my future best man, I want this at my bachelor party, along with a fully stocked suite at a ball game, strippers optional, wink wink).
Learn a New Skill: I coach high school level baseball in the summer, and the most disappointing thing I encounter during my time on the bench is that none of my players ever know how to keep the book. Keeping score is a pivotal part of the game, and it’s a great way to keep track of what’s going on over the nine innings.
So if you’re a father (or mother) out there with young children, please take them to a ball game and teach them the art of keeping the book. Make it a game at first, and soon enough they’ll be adding more and more lines, numbers, and asking for ways to record more complex plays, track pitch counts, and more. There’s no better way to learn the intricacies of the game.
More into complex math and statistics? Then welcome to the saber metrics era. There are so many complex algorithms and equations that you’re bound to find one that suits you best. If you’re looking for a recent application of these numbers, go out and rent Moneyball and see a glamorized version of stat heads breaking down players into bits and bits of data.
Fantasy Baseball: Joining a fantasy baseball league is a great way to get to learn baseball and it’s players on a league wide level. There are a couple different ways to look at fantasy baseball, and it’s important you find a league that meets your interest and commitment level.
If you’re just looking for a fun time, sign up for a standard, ten-team league without any keepers and uses the entire MLB players pool. This way every person in the league has the chance to secure big name players on their roster, and theirs no scrambling for prospects and farm system studs.
If you follow the game a little bit more, then it might be a good idea to look into a keeper league, or a NL or AL specific league. Both of these options reward fans who watch the game more, know value in players beyond just homeruns and strikeouts, and know some key prospects that could be tomorrows superstars down the road.
In fact, I’d like to publically invite anyone interested in this second type of league to email me if you’d be interested in joining a league with myself and some other die hardball fans of mine. We’re looking for more players, so why not shoot me an email and let me know you’d like to take a shot at it.
So that’s it! A few great ways to beat the baseball winter blues. There’s hundreds of more as well, but to each his own. These are just a few basic options available. So get ready, because spring is right around the corner, and before you know it, you’ll be soaking up the sun with a hotdog in one hand and a beer in the other, taking in America’s Pastime.
Eric Melch is a senior at the University of Minnesota, majoring in Sports Management; he is the Sports Editor of Secret Laboratory. Originally from Chicago, Illinois, Eric grew up near Madison, Wisconsin, spending his entire life in Big 10 country. His love of literature and sports has naturally led him to write about his passion, something he has done for the past six years and most recently at here with Secret Laboratory. Eric currently works in the University of Minnesota Athletic Department and hopes to continue his career in college athletics.
E-mail Mr. Melch at email@example.com.