November Is a Callous Month for the Committed Baseball Fan
For those who are the truest of baseball fans, November is a transitional time where the depleted dreams of the past meet the blooming aspirations for the future.
You are forced to evaluate what went wrong in the recently concluded season and are asked to formulate a plot to combat those weaknesses.
The month is an extended waiting period—supplemented by the intrigue of who does and doesn’t pick up their contract option—in anticipation for the winter owners' meeting, where there’s always a chance that your team might hook the big catch of the offseason.
Also within those meetings lies the glaring reality that your team might exit Indianapolis on Dec. 10 in the same dire shape in which it entered just three days prior.
The changeover into the offseason sharply reminds me of when I was a kid, and the mission that encompassed going back to school and succeeding after an undisciplined summer.
On one hand, there was the hope of a great year in the months to come, filled with field trips and recess shenanigans, while you bided your time until winter break so that you were set free once again.
But with the positives, like generally being a terror to the teacher with no actual repercussions, we are unavoidably dealt the negatives, which means there was also the impending feeling of the unknown, leaving the sentiment that maybe you’ll pull the ultimate gaffe and trip in the cafeteria in front of everyone.
Bringing it back to the world of baseball, there arises the same degree of uncertainty amongst the failures of last season, and that inherently functions to formulate speculation, descending us into thousands upon thousands of hot stove projections.
And nothing is more tedious to me than offseason guesswork.
Everyone has outlined a blockbuster deal that will somehow bring Roy Halladay to his or her favorite club.
Or even better is when you come across a deeply conjured theory as to why Jason Bay and Matt Holliday might sign in your hometown.
This is how November works as a month to tease the hopes of all those dedicated fans that rode the emotional rollercoaster of the summer months only to see the season end so quickly.
And even fans in the Bronx have embraced little time to celebrate their 27th World Championship, promptly turning their passionate focus to the forthcoming offseason ahead.
November is also a month when the routinely questionable winners of the Cy Young, Gold Glove, and MVP awards are confronted with harsh scrutiny, inevitably leaving a sour taste in the mouth of those devout worshippers of sabermetrics.
"The children of the stats," as I like to call them, will surely attempt to persuade you that they have the most precise measure for each award winner, rendering your mind disturbingly overwhelmed by WHIPs, UZR ratings, and BaBips.
We are mired in theory with no chance of treatment in sight, left longing for the day that pitchers and catchers report for camp in order to rectify the faults of seasons past.
But this is why November, above all, is a distant month for baseball fans, where we are far too removed from the game we have learned to cherish.
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