The Baseball Desert

Saturday, January 08, 2005

Wanted: Baseball

We're currently at that horrible mid-point of the offseason where we're more or less as far away from last season as we are from next season, and the withdrawal symptoms are starting to be felt from Paris to Pawtucket.

In Paris, I'm starting to long for early-morning box scores and late-night games on MLB.TV. This is traditionally a time for reflection, speculation and hope, and I have to say that I've done my bit - I've watched the games I downloaded from, I've read the books Santa Claus was kind enough to drop in my stocking (size 12, just to be on the safe side), I've even ordered my Dave Roberts replica jersey, but to be honest, I just want to watch some baseball. I know that this is a time for re-tooling and rebuilding, but the trade talk / rumours / deadlines are starting to wear me out - I really don't care whether Carlos Beltran ends up with the Astros or the Mets, and the news that the Randy Johnson deal is all but signed, sealed and delivered leaves me totally underwhelmed. Seriously, outside of the money aspect - which I can think about and deal with in an abstract, Monopoly-money kind of way - am I supposed to be interested in the fact that
"Johnson's current deal also calls for him to receive two courtside tickets for Phoenix Suns games through the 2010-11 season and six premium tickets for all Diamondbacks games starting with the first season of his retirement through 2010. Arizona will retain responsibility for that part of the contract." ?
I'm bored, but I'm not that bored...

One other sure sign that baseball is still too far away is that I had another of my sporadic and weird "meet a baseball player" dreams. The last time I had one of these was back in August, when I was clearly being overexposed to the game. Now that I'm not being exposed to the game at all, my subconscious decided that it would take over and put me back in the thick of the action. Once again, I was at my folks' place and who should turn up but Pedro Martinez? Naturellement... Of course, the sometimes twisted logic of dreams means that, instead of hanging out with Pedro and quizzing him on how it felt to win the World Series or the whys and wherefores of his move to the Mets, I went into a blind panic because I couldn't find a baseball for him to sign. Next time I go back to England, I must remember to take a baseball with me so that I'll be prepared - virtually, at least - the next time a Hall of Fame pitcher turns up on the doorstep.

The one thing I found reassuring in all of this was that I'm apparently not the only blogger having dreams of Pedro - Jay Jaffe has been having them as well, although he admittedly does have the excuse of a little too much Cabernet.

Meanwhile, in Pawtucket (and other corners of Red Sox Nation) the lack of real, live baseball has journalists doing strange things too, namely looking for stories where there aren't any. Surviving Grady has a good take on the whole ridiculous saga of "The Ball". From what I've read, it would seem that "sense of irony" was not on Dan Shaugnessy's Christmas list, but I suppose that now he no longer has the Curse of the Bambino to sell, he has to come up with something to write about.

All things considered, it's high time the silly season came to an end and the real season began...