Well, it’s been about 4 months since we’ve seen any live baseball from the Atlanta Braves, and I must admit that I’m once again entering that period I seem to get into every year – that period I call the Late Winter Blues! I capitalized the phrase simply because for me, it’s a very real issue.
During the Hot Stove season, I toil away with reading, writing, analyzing, and talking about all things Hot Stove related, and for the most part, that work keeps me satisfied and keeps the blues at bay. Once the winter meetings are over though and arbitration is settled (or pending), then there is that seemingly interminable wait until the Grapefruit League starts and we once again get to see and read about Braves’ baseball. We’re in that waiting period now, that Late Winter period of depressing, no-baseball, blues!
I’m a huge football fan as well, and if the absence of any real baseball wasn’t bad enough, college football is over, the NFL playoffs have concluded, and now there is a HUGE two week (12 days, but it feels like TWO WEEKS!) wait for the Super Bowl! I’m not a basketball fan. I used to be. I played basketball in high school and used to be a die-hard fan, but for reasons I won’t go into, I’m no longer a fan, so basketball doesn’t help to stem the tide of blues that flow over me this time of year.
Fortunately, over the years I’ve developed some very specific strategies I use for dealing with the Late Winter Blues. Because I know some of you deal with these blues as well, I thought I’d write this how-to, strategy guide for dealing with your sports-related depression. Don’t worry, no drugs are involved!
Late Winter Blues Strategy Guide
DVR Replay Bliss
Now this strategy is one of my favorites, but it’s not going to help you this year unless you’ve already prepared! I carefully calculate during the regular season how many games I’m going to need to sustain me once the blues occur, and I DVR (record) games to watch when the blues kick in! I’ve already been watching some Braves’ games from last season (and some of those are also depressing), but now I’ll begin watching all that I recorded last year to help defeat the Late Winter Blues! No, it’s not like the real thing, and often I will remember while watching what the outcome will be, but these games help me a great deal.
Become a Nut
It’s probably safe to say that most baseball fans are casual fans. They enjoy the games during the regular season, but if they miss a game here or there they don’t get bent out of shape. When the season ends, baseball essentially ends for them, and they may give it little though until the next season. There are even some fans that read and keep up with what’s going on in the Hot Stove season, but don’t care much about stats and graphs and all that. I’ve always been a nut, so I can’t really relate to those who are not – but my strategy in the off-season is to continue to be as much of a baseball “nut” as I am in the regular season. Baseball occupies my thoughts, to some degree, every single day! Even if I wasn’t an editor and writer, I’d still be doing it. So, if you’re a casual fan, become a nut! It’s not as hard as it seems, and while there is no magic button you can push to become one, all you really need to do is start reading about baseball in the off-season, familiarize yourself with rules, arbitration particulars, trade deadlines, essentially the business of baseball! The more you immerse, the more you will get hooked. Can there be any other outcome?
For year, I played fantasy baseball religiously, and was pretty good at it. I got a touch burned out, but this season I’m playing again, and for no other reason but to help keep the blues at bay! I know some die-hard fans that don’t play FB, don’t get why anyone does, and don’t plan to play. That’s fine, but it WILL help stem the blues if you have them. Casual fans probably don’t play much anyway, but if you’re a die-hard nut, have the blues, and are looking for a way to help cope until the 2014 season, give Fantasy Baseball a try! The cool thing is that you can play online, or you can start or become a part of a local league in your city/town. The latter affords you the opportunity to discuss baseball face-to-face with like-minded nuts. That’s a killer strategy in-and-of itself!
You may have other strategies you’ve found. I know some guys that drink a lot, but I don’t recommend that! I know some that pay special attention to their wives or girlfriends to cope, and while I recommend that fully, I don’t recommend you cease that attention once baseball starts! I did, and I’m now divorced. You live, you learn!
If you are one of those guys or gals who gets these Late Winter Blues as I do, what strategies do you employ to cope? I’d love to hear about them. I might add them to my own personal strategy guide. I’m certainly no psychiatrist or psychologist, but as a baseball nut, I’ve had to be proactive in my approach to dealing with the Winter Blues. Some doctor somewhere ought to write something up in the New England Journal of Medicine, because these blues are for real!
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