I mean, I guess it makes sense from a professional sports focus standpoint, but it’s always made me sad that families tend to play football rather than our national pastime on Thanksgiving. Why? It’s cold out there, with leaves that aren’t even pretty anymore, whereas indoors tends to have alcohol and at least Chex Mix if the meal’s not ready. Plus, you’re with your family. Why set yourself up for three hours of standing in a tight circle with one another, broken only occasionally standing in a close line and staring either directly at each other or at your closest relative’s butts? Who started this?
Baseball, you have the benefit of standing at least 90 nice quiet feet from one another, and usually time to protect the wine glass if the play comes your way. It’s merely an increased sense of suffering, a reminder that the seasons have turned and we are on the wrong side of the sun.
Let us be thankful.
Somewhere in Arizona, the staff at Goodyear Ballpark is stirring, collecting resumes for ticket sellers and food vendors.
Joey Votto is taking grounders and standing around swinging an imaginary bat at 3 AM in between holding up bridges and calming earthquakes with his mind, probably.
The vendors of RedsFest are packing up their baseball card holders and autographed Riverfront seatbacks.
A fifth-grader is shoving a Reds cap on his head every morning on his way to the school bus even though a stocking hat is warmer.
The merchants of Findlay Market are holding Opening Day parade planning meetings.
The front office is testing the tensile strength of bobbleheads, calculating how many to ship in from Beijing.
You can still buy catcher’s masks and batting gloves at the sporting goods store.
Special events coordinators are meeting with brides and grooms who want to start their married lives at home plate.
The price of kettlecorn is being set.
The grounds crew of Great American Ball Park are anxiously peeking beneath the outfield’s warm winter blanket, monitoring soil temperatures and discussing nitrogen levels. They’re nurturing what we can’t see at the moment. They’re taking care of it all. It’s okay.
Pitchers are hunched over benches at the gym, strengthening each fiber of each muscle.
Minor leaguers labor in winter ball, because this is going to be the year. This one.
Members of coaching staffs from across the nation are nervously waiting at airport gates with CVG stamped on their ticket, wondering where all this might lead.
Little bats and tiny jersey replica onesies will appear under Christmas trees.
There is no offseason.
Proud aunt Mary Beth Ellis is a freelance writer and college teacher who lives in Cincinnati, OH. Her home site, BlondeChampagne.com, has existed in at least some form since 2003, and Mary Beth has been a regular columnist with one publication or another from the age of 16. Her first book, Drink to the Lasses, was published in 2006. She currently teaches college, runs personal wine tastings, gives literary readings, and stares into the middle distance.