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I have been staring at my laptop for about three hours, trying to write a
column. Or even just a paragraph. A sentence, perhaps. Any string of words
about baseball that seem mildly interesting. Nothing’s coming, and I have a
good idea why: I’m not getting to watch as much baseball as I usually do.

For the past couple of weeks, I’ve been on the east coast, seeing friends
and family, and generally having a good time. This past weekend, rather than
catch the Yankee/Red Sox series, or watch Barry Bonds add a few more
lines to his MVP credentials, I spent my time having a couple of long
dinners with old friends, playing a round of golf with some of my family,
and generally getting caught up in things that had nothing to do with
baseball.

It makes for a lousy feeling come deadline time, but I can’t say I’d trade
the last 72 hours for any number of great columns.

Most of us have friends and family we don’t see enough. Whether the problem
is geography–my particular nemesis–or the day-to-day demands of children,
spouses, careers, and a hundred other tasks, people who we used to see on a
daily basis can drift into the ether of phone tag and Christmas cards and
"I meant to call while I was in town, but…". It’s a terrible
thing, and you only realize how terrible when, in fact, you finally are able
create the space for those people, and realize how much more full they make
your life.

So to everyone reading this column, here’s a small request: don’t read BP
this week. Take the hour you save, and use it to have lunch with your
college roommate, or spend it on the phone with your best friend from high
school, or plan a trip to see your cousins that live half a continent away.
Everything you miss will be here when you get back next week, and you’ll
have plenty of time then to see what silly things I said about the Padres
while you were gone. More importantly, you’ll have the memory of that hour
with an old buddy to savor.

Finally, to Derek, Paul, and Sue, thanks for two fantastic evenings of
friendship and laughter, and here’s hoping that soon enough, I’ll conquer
the geography ogre and we’ll make them a regular occurrence.

Joe Sheehan is an author of Baseball Prospectus. You can contact him by
clicking here.