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Lockout blues? Stay positive with ~activities~

A quick guide to winter baseball shenanigans during a lockout

MLB: Lockout Kamil Krzaczynski-USA TODAY Sports

Hungry for baseball content during the offseason?

What a ridiculous question; if you’re reading this, that’s exactly why you’re here. As a tremendous baseball fan myself, I can attest to the emptiness that claws from within when the game we love is on hold. Honus Wagner Hornsby, Rogers famously stared outside his window for several consecutive months while waiting for spring.

We can do better in the 21st century.

Did you know that baseball happens year-round on planet Earth? That the minor leagues and prospects offer a dizzying level of entertainment? That video games bring you closer to the on-field experience than ever? That team owners might cast a lockout as a labor strike and blame the players for the disastrous consequences?

I bet you didn’t! So, buckle up. What follows is a handy guide for the wintering Guardians fan.

Baseball Podcasts!

Some folks stand at the edge of the pool and wonder whether it’s better to use the ladder, or the diving board, or maybe they’ll just dip in slowly at the steps. Fear not — there is no wrong way to splash into the world of baseball podcasts.

I will share some of my favorite baseball or baseball-adjacent podcasts that might be a hope or two away from your usual appetite. So no, I’m not going to tell you to listen to Effectively Wild because if you don’t already listen to it while you should be editing an excel file do you even job?

Anyway —

  • Take Me In to the Ballgame
    Ellen Adair and Eric Gilde - watch and rate baseball movies using the 20-80 scouting scale.
  • Cleveland Guardians Fancast
    I don’t think I can call longtime member Quincy Wheeler “our own”, but he is testing out some new flight feathers with a podcast about our favorite team. Some of us have even been interviewed! *gasp*
  • 99 MPH with Perci Garner
    LGFT Perci Garner talks about life. The former 2nd round pick briefly made it to the Show as a pitcher for the-then Cleveland Indians in 2016. Episode titles include “Ben Simmons, the Yips, and the Cy Young Museum”, “Baseball Behind the Scenes with Braden Webb”, and more.

Follow the Lockout News!

A lockout during the winter greatly increases the odds of Fewer Baseball Games. One thing to keep in mind during the lockout is that it is a lockout. This means, very clearly, that it is not a strike. A strike is when labor decides to withhold its talents. A lockout is when ownership prevents labor from providing its talents.

Longtime baseball writer and former actual lawyerly guy Craig Calcaterra writes the newsletter Cup of Coffee and is an excellent resource for lockout news. Also, vague references and obscure callbacks. It’s a good time, and Thursdays are free.

My main advice is to take a couple of different doses of news the same way you would about anything else. National media figures have different incentives than local reporters.

Winter League Baseball!

As you watch some of the world’s most talented athletes battle for the opportunity to battle for the opportunity to battle for a Spring Training spot one day, it might be interesting to reflect on their compensation.

You can keep an eye on winter baseball shenanigans here:

Consider who is most responsible for building this game

Baseball is played in Japan not because of World War II, but because Negro League teams barnstormed there extensively leading up to 1934. That’s when the League noticed the momentum building and decided to send some white All-Stars to Japan.

If you’re not familiar with barnstorming, it is the only way you could play the game if you were black. You found a local group of ballplayers that called themselves The Giants — that’s how you knew — and from town to town they went, wherever folks would let them play a game.

Sometimes, that meant a foreign country. Just to play the game that they loved. They were the greatest ambassadors to the game for which we could have ever asked. Still are.

For more on the black history of the game, Buck O’Neil goes into exceptional detail in both the Ken Burns Baseball documentary and Joe Posnanski’s The Soul of Baseball. Writer Patrick Ellington Jr. also emphasizes the perspective in much of his writing.

Join an online OOTP Baseball League

I trust you understand that I am not a shill, but rather a frenzied advocate that no longer receives press copies or responses to DMs.

In any case, I cannot stress how much fun the online league experience is. I only recently managed to join a league but wish I’d done it far sooner. If you know what a BBCode is then this forum will be a piece of cake for you:

If 90s-style message boards terrify you — reach out! I know there are some active OOTP players in the community and I am certain we can direct you accordingly.

Stare out the window and wait for spring, anyway

You can do this. But seriously, friend — talk to somebody.