The Guardians are done playing baseball. The World Series has come and gone. There is no more Major League Baseball to watch until the first pitch of Spring Training on February 24th. So that begs the question – what do we do until then?
Here’s a list of five things to do to get you through the next four months without Guardians baseball.
Follow the Arizona Fall League
While there’s no Major League Baseball to watch any time soon, you can still follow a number of Guardians minor league players as they play for the Peoria Javelinas of the Arizona Fall League.
Pitchers Ross Carver, Bradley Hanner, Jake Miller, Erik Sabrowski, and Ryan Webb alongside infielders Christian Cairo, Kyle Manzardo, and outfielder Chase Delauter have been tearing it up in the AFL since October 2nd to keep their skills sharp in the offseason.
Manzardo and DeLauter have highlighted the Guardians’ time in the AFL by being selected to the All-Star Game on November 5th. DeLauter boasts a .257/.358/.473 slash line heading into the All-Star Game with Manzardo not far behind at .241/.326/.532. DeLauter was acquired by the Guardians in the first round of the 2022 draft while Manzardo was acquired at the 2023 trade deadline as part of a deal that sent Aaron Civale to the Tampa Bay Rays. DeLauter finished the 2023 season with the AA Akron Rubberducks, and Manzardo with the AAA Columbus Clippers.
The AFL can be followed on MLB Network or through the Lake County Captains Twitter page @LCCaptains.
Watch Baseball Movies
There are plenty of great baseball movies out there, but here are my three favorites that will be helping me through the offseason.
The Sandlot - This classic 1993 film follows a group of kids in 1962 who regularly play baseball at their local field. When an outsider who knows nothing about the sport moves into town, the group is very hesitant to let him join. That is until the team’s leader – Benny Rodriguez – allows him to join and helps him become a member of the team. The film follows the boys’ successes and failures as they navigate baseball, girls, and the Beast – the neighborhood’s fearsome Mastiff who chews up all of the gang’s baseballs.
Moneyball - Based upon the 2003 book of the same name by Michael Lewis, this 2011 film starring Brad Pitt chronicles the miracle season of the 2002 Oakland Athletics who went on a record-setting 20-game win streak. This streak would later be broken by our very own Cleveland Indians in 2017. The film shows the industry-changing strategy of Billy Beane who signed a roster full of undervalued players and built a successful team out of it. While this team was not able to win a World Series, Beane proved that you didn’t need a team full of Derek Jeters to be successful.
Trigger Warning: The following film recommendation includes mention of suicide.
Alive: The Drew Robinson Story - This 2021 E:60 special shares the story of Drew Robinson, a former outfielder for the Texas Rangers, St. Louis Cardinals, and San Francisco Giants. Robinson was constantly forced to deal with transactions between the Major and Minor Leagues, injuries, and trades. This, on top of many struggles in his own personal life, forced him to attempt to take his own life on April 16, 2020. After shooting himself in the head, Robinson survived and worked harder than ever to return to baseball. While he played in the Giants’ minor league system for a short time, he now works for the team as a mental health consultant.
Read Baseball Books
Fiction or not, there are plenty of great baseball books out there that made it possible for me to get through the prolonged offseason in 2021-2022. My three favorites are listed here.
Baseball Life Advice by Stacey May Fowles - This is by far my favorite book of all time. In this love letter to the game of baseball, Fowles details her experiences throughout her time as a Toronto Blue Jays fan and explains why the sport is so meaningful to so many people. As a woman in the sport of baseball, her experiences really resonated with me and made me realize that I am not alone.
Living on the Black by John Feinstein - This (my second favorite book) details a full season of two players on two different teams – Tom Glavine on the New York Mets and Mike Mussina on the New York Yankees. While the teams played just miles apart, the two pitchers had vastly different experiences. Feinstein details the stresses both players faced, the highs and lows of a 162-game season, and how they navigated a strike that shocked the entire baseball world.
Our Team by Luke Epplin - This book is my top choice for those looking for a Guardians/Indians-specific read. The book follows four people – Larry Doby, Bill Veeck, Bob Feller, and Satchel Paige – and the ways that they changed the sport of baseball in the 1940s. Larry Doby broke the color barrier in the American League and faced just as many hardships as the man who came before him. Bob Feller was the type of player that the average fan could relate to – a simple man from small-town America who fought in World War II during his time as a ballplayer. Satchel Paige was a star in the Negro Leagues who shocked the world after he joined Doby on the big stage. Bill Veeck transformed the market of Major League Baseball by changing the way the game was sold to the masses. The four of these men together changed the Indians – and the sport of baseball – for the better.
Follow Baseball Content Creators
Social media is my favorite way to mindlessly distract myself while I count the minutes until the next season starts. Below are my three favorite baseball content creators who help make that time bearable.
Foolish Baseball - Bailey is a YouTuber who creates 16-bit style video essays on current and historical events in baseball. From topics like the greatness of Satchel Paige to Aaron Judge’s historic 62-homer season, there is something for every baseball fan to enjoy in this entertaining, easy-to-watch series.
Baseball Bar-B-Cast - Jake Mintz and Jordan Schusterman – writers for MLB on Fox – are my absolute favorite baseball podcasters. Hosts of the Baseball Bar-B-Cast on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, Mintz and Schusterman highlight the biggest stories in baseball in the most entertaining ways possible. It’s a perfect hour-long recap of the week in the sport that you can take in on the way to work, on a walk, or just before bed.
Lake County Captains - I’m not sure if an entire team can count for this section, but I’m going to include them anyways. The Captains are the most entertaining part of the Guardians’ organization. From giving detailed updates on the Arizona Fall League to interacting with fans, everything the Captains’ social media manager does is done right. If you need a Guardians-related smile, head on over to their account.
I hate to self-promote, but you can also check out my account @baseballcontext for an all-around baseball-related smile.
Watch Other Sports
It took me quite a while to watch other sports, but once I did it made the offseason much more tolerable.
Cleveland fans have the opportunity to watch and attend hockey games with the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets. With tickets as low as $8, you can attend an action-packed game and enjoy $1 soft drinks, $2 hot dogs, and $3 beers on Friday nights.
I often get judged for this one, but I also highly recommend tuning into PGA Tour golf for some less stressful competition. You don’t even have to pick a favorite player, just turn on the Golf Channel and enjoy the competition between players on a Sunday afternoon.
While February 24th is a long way away, there’s lots you can do to pass the time. Guardians-related or not, the baseball world has lots to offer. If you would like more recommendations on books, movies, content, or other sports, feel free to DM me @baseballcontext on Twitter.