Boston Red Sox: Warmest and most sincere holiday greetings, John Henry Sports Team Fan. Whether you enjoy your excellence at the plate or on the pitch, domestically or abroad, we here at Liverston Redpool Inc. want to wish you another bountiful year of winning, winning, always and only winning*
*Beneath the luxury tax, of course
Chicago White Sox: Happy New Year you Southside Cretins! Hawk Harrelson here to talk to you about the 2019 White Sox and BOY let me tell you there are plenty of things to be excited about we’ve got that young kid Moancorda that plays second and while he wears too much jewelry and strikes out too much boy is he FIT and STRONG! As many of you know I’M GONE from broadcasting this year, but I still get to sit here and sip this jack and coke while Jimmy here writes down whatever I say about the team. JIMMY get me some more of those mini corndogs when you got a second. Wait, you aren’t typing this too are you YOU SLACK JAWED IDIOT COME HERE…
Kansas City Royals: Look Happy New Year or whatever just please, please, please stop watching porn, ok?
San Francisco Giants: The New Year is an exciting time for investors of emotional capital in the family of San Francisco Giants-related products and services. We’re excited to announce that, after an extensive period of meditation and re-evaluation of our philosophies and moral guidelines, this year we will be pivoting away from a high-payroll, high-loss business model to a moderate-payroll, high-loss model. We are rolling this out with a soft launch this March to test market interest, and hope you’ll join us at the AT&T Ballpark and Dreamatorium this coming season. Be mindful, self-actualizing, and please remember to accept all user services acknowledgements without reading them.
St. Louis Cardinals: Good tidings and Lord’s blessings to you for the new year, dear Cardinal fans. Last year was fraught with lamentations and mourning as we endured slings and arrows from the many enemies of The Cardinal Way. Still we hold fast in our faith, and pray that we will be delivered from our trials and born anew in the land of plenty. There, the prophecy states, Yadi shall never grow old, and his leadership endure everlasting. Thank you for your prayers and steadfastness, and remember: The Son sits at the RIGHT hand of The Father, not the left. Checkmate, libs.
Happy New Year
Even though we spent less money than almost every other team last year
Look at how many games we won
Pretty impressive use of sabermetric analytics, eh?
Much is made about our stadium situation, but please don’t worry about that
Every year we’ve existed we’ve been in Tampa, and those numbers don’t lie
There are always going to be fourth-starter days, days where the frost sticks in direct sunlight and the air is bright and cold and still somehow stale. Eleventh-day-of-winter-break days. You tell yourself that it’s okay, that even for children some days have to be the tendons holding other days together, part of that natural post-Christmas-gift decrescendo. So you take them out to a park for a walk, kill the time by teaching your daughter what some of the road signs mean as you drive, because even though she doesn’t care and does want to think about it, you know some of that knowledge will force its way in regardless. A shame there’s no day baseball for the radio to sneak in as well, but then, if there were.
You go to the park and walk, walk down wide, muddy tracks flanked by featureless scenery: skeletal trees, green and brown shapes you can’t make your eyes focus on. Your children spend the time squabbling over who gets the silver walking sticks, and who has to use the virtually identical red walking sticks. You take them down to the ocean and they throw rocks into the sea, humongous rocks they can barely lift and which splash eight inches in front of them, flecking you all with sea water. You toss baseball-heavy rocks sidearm, note your arm hurting just a little bit more than last year. The kids get too close to the water, and you tell them to back up, and they get too close to the water again. You tell them to back up.
You get to the playground near the end of the walk and their energy returns, and they swing and climb up towers and cross bridges and go down the twisty slides. You can’t stop yourself from noticing that every children’s playground is essentially the same, but arranged in a slightly different order; the same is true of every Disney movie, really. And every baseball game, you remind yourself. They’re happy enough to be upset when it’s time to go, which means you’ve done your job, in a way.
And as you hike back toward the van you find, wedged impossibly into the trees, a baseball field. The field is empty. Of course it’s empty; it’s the first of January, and the field is nowhere near the parking lots. No one would hike here to play baseball. You try to imagine children playing in such a place, and your mind summons six-year-olds with heavy wooden bats, lunging wildly at errant pitches, never hitting a single ball. Damn, it’s cold. Why would anyone even go to this field, you wonder, with its no-man’s-land trench dirt, and mildewed, crumbling wooden dugouts. Why would it even be here, from a narrative standpoint, except as its own piece of connective tissue, a thin tie between October and February? Here’s halfway, baseball tells you. Go home.
Thank you for reading
This is a free article. If you enjoyed it, consider subscribing to Baseball Prospectus. Subscriptions support ongoing public baseball research and analysis in an increasingly proprietary environment.Subscribe now