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.

But.

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.

Join the conversation! 13 Comments

  1. I considered playing baseball yesterday, Mary Beth, but was afraid that the ball would freeze and shatter (minus 4, fahrenheit) and that the shards would get lost in the snow. The alcohol seemed a more prudent choice. Happy Thanksgiving.

    Reply
  2. I try to keep my mind off baseball with basketball. Its played indoors and you don’t have to worry about the weather. Still it is encouraging to be reminded that there are those who are already getting ready for 2019 baseball.

    Reply
  3. Yessss, thanks for the reminders. Every little reminder helps the long winter go just a little bit faster.
    Like many others, I wonder whether or not the Reds are truly going to make good on the promising start to turning the page on the ‘Stone Ages’
    and finally getting back to relevance.
    Of course, the real action has yet to begin, whether it’s the trade or free agent market. Will our FO prove true to the early promise? Or once again succumb to the will of big bob and hang onto BHam, Homer, etc? Not to mention, fail to trade for or sign, some more pitching. And I don’t mean the Gallardo’s & Gallaraga’s of the world…but some honest to goodness REAL pitchers.
    Time will tell. In the mean time, I’ll continue checking back, in hopes of a little further morsel of hope through the tough part of the year!

    Reply
    • Aw man I completely forgot about Homer Bailey.
      Thanks, alcohol!

      Reply
    • Out of the top 50 free agents, MLBTR has the Reds signing Matt Harvey and Derek Holland… Ugh. If that’s what they are looking at, I’d rather see them let the young guys try again. I could see Harvey potentially eating some innings for some team as a #4 guy but he and Holland don’t put the Reds in contention. I could see the Reds signing a guy like Harvey or Holland but they will need a #1 or #2 type guy too. If they don’t get a guy like that, they should just put more $$ in the war chest for 2020 and let the young guys have one more shot at it.

      Reply
  4. Brilliant as always!! It is never truly the offseason in the hearts of those who believe. If my daughter ends up doing grad school at UofC, I know I’ll be in town a little more often.

    Reply
  5. My 36 year son and I played baseball with his boys and his nephew on Thanksgiving day in Joplin, MO. It was 60 degrees.
    They beat us 4 to 2 (my son and I had to walk the bases while the boys could run them).
    Beth, on my part I would add to your list “RLN followers are constantly checking RLN for news, updates and the tiniest scrap of info on the Reds and next season.”

    Reply

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About Mary Beth Ellis

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.

Category

2018 Reds, 2019 Reds, Baseball Is Life