7 Ways Baseball Will Ease the Pain of Another Long NFL Offseason
Another long NFL offseason has just begun, and for fans who will absolutely pine away for the next six months, there's some good news for you.
Baseball can help ease your pain.
Yes, it's not the same as watching 60 thrilling minutes unfold in approximately three hours. However, with many changes made this offseason in Major League Baseball, it might just give NFL fans something to help pass the time away.
Here are seven ways in which baseball can help pass that time a bit easier for you.
We will describe those ways via a letter to specific fans. In some cases, we'll reach out to regional fans. In others, we'll send out a general letter to fans describing how baseball can help them through their doldrums.
For NFL fans, the long offseason doesn't have to be spent playing video football games and watching old games on the NFL Network.
Baseball can be your panacea.
Letter to Fans of RG3, Alfred Morris and Andrew Luck: Watch Harper and Trout
Dear fans of RG3, Alfred Morris and Andrew Luck,
You watched your favorite rookies this season as they exploded onto the NFL scene and impressed right from Game 1. Now, you're faced with an offseason wondering if they can continue dominating after their spectacular debuts.
Baseball has two of their own pretty special youngsters who will be looking to dominate on the diamond in their second seasons—Bryce Harper and Mike Trout.
In terms of speed and explosiveness (Griffin), Trout can absolutely supply what you saw with RG3 this season. Trout gave fans a bevy of highlights last year with over-the-wall catches, 49 stolen bases, explosive power at the top of the lineup (30 HR) and a genuine love for the game with a sense of humility that's absolutely infectious.
In terms of consistency at such a young age (Luck), Harper is the guy to watch for the next six months. At just 19 years of age, Harper showed that he was ready to stack up with the big boys with 22 home runs and a .270 batting average.
Heck, Harper might even have a better arm than Luck—he totaled eight outfield assists after starting his baseball career as a catcher. Harper's arm is a cannon.
So fear not, fans of young NFL stars—baseball has its own tandem of youngsters that can provide thrills for you this spring and summer.
Letter to Kansas City Sports Fans: Maybe the Royals Can Give You Hope
Dear Kansas City sports fans,
Well, your NFL season was nothing short of a disaster. Your Chiefs finished with just two wins and couldn't even manage to score more than two touchdowns per game.
You might think that your offseason is going to be dismal as you wait and see if new coach Andy Reid can somehow transform a team that's had only three winning seasons this century.
For many of you who are crossover fans, your Kansas City Royals haven't exactly been fun to watch this century, either. The Royals have seen only one winning season since the new millennium.
But there is hope on the horizon.
Kansas City sports fans, Royals owner David Glass is hoping to ease your pain.
Glass ponied up considerable cash this offseason to bolster his pitching staff, paying for the likes of Jeremy Guthrie and trading for Ervin Santana, James Shields and Wade Davis.
With a young and developing core of position players, the Royals could actually be fun to watch for a change.
Chiefs fans, the long spring and summer doesn't have to be painful. The Royals can help ease your pain as well.
Letter to Detroit Lions Fans: Your Baseball Team Can Make Motown Proud Again
Dear Detroit Lions fans,
Much like your brethren in Kansas City, you too suffered through a dismal fall and winter. Your Lions won four games and your defense leaked like a sieve for much of the season.
Fortunately, Lions fans, you have a team that can actually provide a level of excitement.
The Tigers will be looking to defend a championship, something you Lions' fans haven't seen since 1957.
The Tigers will defend the American League pennant with new and returning weapons as well. Torii Hunter adds great defense—I know, Lions fans, don't rub it in—and Victor Martinez returns from a torn ACL to pump even more offense into a team already featuring Triple Crown winner Miguel Cabrera and slugger Prince Fielder.
And how about preventing the opposition from scoring? I know, Lions fans, I'm rubbing salt into the wounds here. But Justin Verlander, Max Scherzer, Doug Fister and Anibal Sanchez actually know a little something about stopping the opposition.
Lions fans, take solace in the fact that your baseball brethren can actually bring some kind of a title to Motown. Maybe you can get your offensive and defensive fixes by watching them this spring and summer.
Letter to All NFL Fans: New MLB Schedule Gives You More to Watch
Dear NFL fans across the country,
The NFL actually got it right back in 1970 when they merged the American Football League with the NFL. They created interleague play between the two former football league rivals and treated every team equally.
No doubt that one of your biggest gripes with Major League Baseball is the fact that two leagues seem to operate differently. How is it that one entire league operating under the same umbrella can use a designated hitter? Why can't there be more exciting play during the regular season between the two leagues?
NFL fans, MLB commissioner Bud Selig heard your message loud and clear. While the NL still won't adopt the designated hitter, there will be more competition between the two leagues starting this season.
Now, you can actually watch natural rivalries like the Los Angeles Dodgers and New York Yankees. Regional turf wars between warring league teams will still be in play, and fans can actually get to see how star slugger Matt Kemp can actually perform on that grand stage known as Yankee Stadium.
NFL fans, while you've been used to watching every team treated equally for 40-plus years, you can now finally get a taste of that in MLB as well.
Letter to Los Angeles Sports Fans: You at Least Have Baseball Owners Who Spend
Dear Los Angeles sports fans,
You had to watch back in 1995 as your two local NFL teams moved out of your city, leaving LA with no football team.
For the past 17 years you have had to watch the second-largest TV market in America without a local team. You've been forced to watch teams like the San Diego Chargers to the south and your former LA Raiders back up north once again.
That really has to suck.
Fortunately, LA sports fans, this coming April you'll be able two tune in locally to two teams in baseball who could be both explosive and victorious.
The Los Angeles Dodgers and Los Angeles Angels will be fun teams for you to attach to in 2013.
Your Dodgers spent a gazillion dollars in developing a roster that could become the best team in the City of Angels. You can travel to Chavez Ravine and watch as Matt Kemp, Clayton Kershaw, Adrian Gonzalez, Zack Greinke and Hanley Ramirez attempt to thrill fans each and every night.
You can even watch the game in luxury, with ownership pumping millions into renovations at Dodger Stadium. Considering you used to watch the Raiders play at the decrepit Coliseum, that has to be something to look forward to.
Your neighbors in the suburbs, the Los Angeles Angels, are also going to be exciting to watch. They spent another $125 million to bring in one of the most exciting hitters in baseball in Josh Hamilton.
Combined with the $317.5 million they invested last year in Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, you have a local owner in Arte Moreno who spent nearly a half-billion dollars so his fans could at least watch some competitive sports in the LA area somewhere.
Well, you did have the Kings last year, so at least that's something.
Letter to NFL Fans Who Love Media Interaction: MLB Is Far Better
Dear fans of NFL social media and interactive networking,
Your league has done an excellent job of keeping in touch with you through various social media outlets and interactive media tools that keep you engaged via your mobile devices.
Now, however, let me introduce you to a sport that does it far better than its counterparts.
Major League Baseball is without question miles ahead of its competitors in terms of engaging fans through modern technology.
Its use of Twitter has been superb—they even allow its biggest stars to interact with fans during All-Star festivities.
The MLB Fan Cave has been a rousing success. Fans from across the country are selected to watch all 2,430 MLB games, documenting their experiences via Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and a host of other platforms. The studio, built right in the heart of the media mecca—New York City—has been designed and equipped with the latest state-of-the-art audio and video components. Stars from across baseball and many other forms of entertainment visit the Fan Cave on a regular to interact with its participants.
While the NFL has done a great job in introducing its great game to the masses via social networking, MLB is ahead of the curve in terms of engaging its fans.
For all of you football fans who are also geeks at heart, you can engage and partake in baseball in many exciting ways.
Letter for 49ers Fans: You at Least Have One Team Who Can Defend a Title
Dear San Francisco 49ers fans,
I know you're still feeling the sting of a painful loss right now. You're likely still steaming at the fact that your team couldn't manage to punch the ball past the goal line from seven yards out in four plays.
Us baseball fans feel your pain. We've had plenty of times when our local teams completely spit the bit in crunch time.
But fear not, 49ers fans—you have a baseball team that knows how to seal the deal.
The San Francisco Giants showed grit this past October, coming back from certain defeat in the National League Championship Series and winning three games in a row to become NL champs.
They then gave their fans no drama of any kind in sweeping the favored Detroit Tigers in four straight games.
The Giants showed the city of San Francisco that true grit isn't just necessarily tied to John Wayne.
They also have a coach that doesn't whine like a baby at referees. Sorry, but Jim Harbaugh's constant bickering at perceived blown calls was just embarrassing. The 49ers simply lost because they dug themselves a hole that was too deep to climb out of.
At least the Giants knew how to close things out.
Doug Mead is a featured columnist with Bleacher Report. His work has been featured on the Seattle Post-Intelligencer, SF Gate, CBS Sports, the Los Angeles Times and the Houston Chronicle.