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Bugs & Cranks
January 17, 2008 at 9:06 pm ET

This has certainly seemed like the longest baseball off-season of my life.

I’m sure it has plenty to do with this being the first Midwestern winter I’ve experienced You can't find a suite like this in Vegassince 1995-96. Rather than taking a late January jaunt to Vegas with my L.A. buddies, this year I have an ice-fishing trip to Longville, MN to look forward to for some winter male bonding. The forecast calls for HIGHS between -2 and -6 this Saturday with “dangerously cold” wind chills. It is currently -21 in Longville. I don’t even want to look up the forecast for Vegas.

I’m sure the fact that my White Sox were out of realistic contention somewhere around Memorial Day last year doesn’t help either. The last time the Sox were in any kind of a pennant race, Britney and K-Fed were still together and everyone assumed K-Fed was the deadbeat parent among the two.

But there are also other factors that have made this off-season unusually long that have nothing to do with being a Midwest transplant or a White Sox fan. Here are seven more reasons why this off-season has been the longest since the strike-plagued off-season of 1994-95 for the average baseball fan.

1. Lame 2007 postseason

Typically, a baseball fan can be expected to be treated to some entertaining and dramatic baseball all the way through October. Last year’s playoffs however produced about as much drama as an episode of the Cavemen.

Sweeps were the rule rather than the exception as all but two series needed more than the minimum amount of games to be completed. Even the seven-game ALCS between Boston and Cleveland was anti-climactic at best. Aside from a marathon Game 2, the rest of the games were all rather one-sided.

The only controversies involved a debatable baserunner’s interference play and a steroid scandal regarding Paul frickin’ Byrd.

All in all, it was a whole lot of Dane Cook and Frank Caliendo for nothing. On second thought, maybe those first round sweeps were a blessing.

2. Neverending Mitchell report stories

Every time I check the major media sports pages for any baseball trade rumors, I have to weed through all the overdramatic Mitchell/McNamee/Clemens crap before I find anything related to current baseball activity.

This absurdly long report based primarily on questionable accusations from a deeply troubled and morally corrupt man has taken up way too much ink on the sports pages this winter. Is it a story? I guess. But I don’t know that it carries much more credibility than the rumors baseball’s gossip girl Jose Canseco has been spreading around for years.

The concept of steroids being prevalent in baseball isn’t exactly earth-shattering news. This report is just another string in a series of stories that confirms that. I just wish there would be more talk about how to move forward to eliminate steroids from the future of baseball rather than dwelling about whether or not guys like Jim Parque ever purchased a questionable supplement back in 2003.

3. The New England Patriots

I’m not sure why, but I really want to see this team go down. New England fans already have two World Series championships and three Super Bowls under their belt thisWhat's so special about this guy anyway? century. Do they really need a 19-0 season to brag about for eternity?

I’m still not convinced they’re going to run the table the rest of the way. But after spending most of the season pulling for whatever team they’ve played on a weekly basis, I’m just ready for this season to be over.

On a personal level, I also may be bitter about this season due to the grossly underachieving season the Bears had.

4. Leap day

For most parts of the country, February is associated with miserable weather. I’ve never had a problem with it having only 28 days in it. While living in California, I didn’t mind that 29th day every four years either. It was an extra day before rent was due which often came in handy following those January Vegas trips.

But now that I’m back in a tundra state, I don’t need any extra days in February. I don’t think you’ll find any Minnesotans complaining about adding a 32nd day to July instead.

5. Presidential primaries/caucuses

I understand that this is one of the most important upcoming elections in the history of this country, but the current process to determine our two candidates is enough to make me nauseous.

For one thing, I think it’s ridiculous that people from Iowa and New Hampshire have a greater say in who becomes our next president than the folks in California and Indiana. On top of that, certain states feel too special for normal ballot elections that they need to have caucuses to determine their winner.

I’m pretty sure the same people behind this system are the same people unwilling to do away with the college football bowl system. TV revenues and local tourism profits not only can play a large role in determining our college football champion, but they can have a huge impact on who becomes the most powerful political leader in the world.

6. Santana rumors

I’m sure it’s worse for me living in Minnesota, but I’ve heard enough about whether or not Johan Santana is going to be traded or not. It reminds me of living in L.A. and having to deal with all the Kobe rumors for so long.

Unlike Kobe though, there actually is a good chance Santana will be traded before opening day. I just wish someone would make a decision one way or another.

7. The Hollywood Writer’s strike

I don’t have a ton of shows that I watch on a regular basis, but there are a few that I will miss dearly in the coming months. Thankfully, we have a few episodes of Lost to look forward to finally. Unfortunately, the episodes will likely run dry before we learn any of the answers to any of the new questions that J.J. Abrams is sure to drop on us this year.

Watching Jack Bauer was always a great way to spend the winter monthsThursday night’s won’t be the same without the Office and Monday nights will have a gaping hole without Jack Bauer and 24.

As a writer, I support the striking writers 100 percent to get a fair deal from the greedy studios. But it’s sad to see so many hard-working people suffer because of this ordeal.

Sadly, based on the studios position, I’ll be surprised to see anything resolved before the All-Star break. When it finally is resolved, then the Screen Actor’s Guild has to figure out their new contract.

Thankfully, the writers of Bugs and Cranks don’t plan on going on strike anytime soon. As long as there are games being played, we’ll be writing about them. Here are the big dates coming up to circle on your calendar to finally end this dreadful off-season.

Feb. 14 – Pitcher’s and catcher’s report

Feb. 26 – First spring training games

March 25 – Opening game in Japan

March 30 – Opening game in the U.S.

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2 Responses to “Longest…off-season…ever!”
  1. For me it’s been the shortest off-season ever. You just got a little taste of what it’s like when your teams off-season starts sometime in June. Not a good taste.

  2. Adam Godson says:

    I sympathize as it’s my 2nd winter back in the midwest from Cali. They don’t get any better. I actually agree with most of your points (thanks a lot for reminding me about February, asshole!). Iowans decide the president because it is our divine right to do so…plus, it’s hilarious watching millionaire candidates debate global politics at the local Pizza Ranch. It definitely wasn’t a good offseason to be a Sox fan…and don’t plan on the season being to much longer this year than last.

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