Baseball’s Beautiful. But, The Off-Season Stinks.

“I love baseball. You know, it doesn’t have to mean anything. It’s just very beautiful to watch.” ~ Leonard Zelig, from the movie Zelig *

When baseball is a game, it is good. It is beautiful.

The grass is green, the sun is warm. Just a game. A beautiful, simple, splendid game.

But, when it’s the off-season, baseball stinks. Players are tucked away and resting up (some are playing golf, some are signing multi-multi-multi-million-dollar deals).

They become a commodity. This one gets traded. This one gets bought. This one is left on the shelf like a sad, dusty bottle of Justin Beiber cologne just hoping someone needs a desperation gift on Christmas Eve.

It sort of makes me uncomfortable when humans are treated like products. (I know, that’s the point of business, right? I’m awful at business.)

The off-season is like a soggy wad of hairball trapped in my throat.  (Editor/Husband does not believe that I can know what a hairball feels like, but I’ve seen my cats get all buggy-eyed, rear back, and start to vomit. I’m pretty sure I feel the same way right now.)

I hate the off-season.

The Baltimore Orioles traded away Jim Johnson, their closer, to Oakland, even though I specifically asked them not to.


photo by me, 8/25/13

Bye, Jim.

I’m a big Jim Johnson fan. I’m a fan of bullpens and relievers in general. I’m still pretty steamed over this.

(And, yes, I’m looking forward to the “I told you so” blog post that I’ll write next season when Jim has a great year in Oakland. And, I hope Oakland will fix its sewage-in-the-dugout thing before Jim gets there. Dear Oakland, he’s used to nicer accommodations.)

The Orioles let their Left Fielder Nate McLouth go to the Washington Nationals.


photo by me, 8/25/13

Bye, Nate.

Yeh, I’m kinda sore about this, too.

But, they got a new left fielder guy. A guy from the Royals. So maybe I’ll write about him next season.

The Orioles then were about to sign a new guy to be their closer.

Yay, it’s Christmas! We have a new closer under our Christmas Tree!

Grant Balfour, oddly enough, was Oakland’s closer last season. We were ready to sign him last week. Then something went wonky during his physical (which often happens when you’re a I-can-see-the-hill-but-I’m-not-quite-over-it 36-year-old pitcher with a shoulder that’s been knitted back together with pins and needles) and the Orioles pulled the deal.

And, then began the kerfuffle.

Let me share the kerfuffle highlights:

Orioles: We are not happy with the results of the physical and we are looking elsewhere.

Balfour: I am healthy.

Orioles: You are not.

Balfour: I am too.

Orioles: Are not.

Balfour: Am too.

This has been going on since Thursday.

I don’t like all the off-season shuffling and wheeling and dealing and trading and moving things around.

When I fell in love with baseball, it was when Cal Ripken was the Orioles’ shortstop. And, every day and every game and every season – year in and year out – he was the Orioles’ shortstop. I like things “just so.” I like my Cal Ripkens to be back every spring.


Now, I have nothing under my baseball Christmas tree.

But, Manny Machado’s knee is healing up. So, that’s a good thing.


“Machado’s Road To Recovery” ESPN, 12/10/13 (click to watch)

Watch Manny’s knee and his rehab here.

And, that’s the news from baseball. I’ve been monitoring the baseball tweet-and-trade machine, so you don’t have to.

Just 53 days ‘til pitchers and catchers report.

* Zelig is a wonderful movie. Woody Allen. 1983. You should watch it. (It has nothing to do with baseball. Really.)


6 thoughts on “Baseball’s Beautiful. But, The Off-Season Stinks.

  1. That knee looks pretty swollen to me still. I’m so sorry that you have to follow the Orioles. It’s bad enough that you have to root for an American League squad with it’s abomination of a DH rule, but the Orioles just don’t seem to get it lately. We tried to deal with them to take your beloved shortstop, but they wanted a king’s ransom. Good luck with that. We did pretty good and still have a shit load of pitching that we didn’t trade away, so I’m looking forward to an exciting season. You can’t beat opening day of baseball though. We can agree on that! Yay 53 days!

    • I think his knee will be fine … it’ll stay swollen for a little while. Yeh, being an Orioles fan is tough during the season, but even tougher in the off-season. It’s like being the poor kid watching all our rich AL East neighbors getting all the best, most expensive, presents from Santa. And, we get … nothing.

      There was no way the O’s would deal All-Star, Gold Glove, Silver Slugger, Shortstop JJ Hardy (unless you were offering your entire starting pitching staff). The Orioles couldn’t reconfigure things to make it work (unless they just decide to go with Manny Machado playing both 3rd and short at all times). They were just gaslighting other teams … dangling him out there to see if they could get an amazing deal. But, again, it would have cost the Cardinals their entire starting pitching staff (and the O’s probably would have suggested tossing in Molina, just to help in the transition).

      As for the DH … I have this BRILLIANT idea. (I think you’ll like it.) Let’s just settle this with a simple rules change. Since the AL has the DH, the AL gets to use their DH … all the time. Interleague games, World Series. AL gets the DH. And, NL, with no DH, your pitchers will bat … all the time. Interleague games. World Series. You want your pitchers batting, you got it. Swing away! Just to make it fair in interleague games, the American League team will bat their DH in the #9 spot.

      This is astoundingly brilliant. And, will end the confusion that comes during AL/NL interleague games. (Why did they not ask me to be the next commissioner?)

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