Need a baseball fix? Here’s what you can look forward to
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For many out there, like me, the end of baseball season is a sad time and begins a long, cold offseason. I try getting into other sports like hockey, football and even basketball, but none of those reign in comparison to Major League Baseball.
The next four months are going to be cold, bitter times for baseball fans. There are bright spots along the way, and baseball has the most exciting offseason with free agency, trades, awards and the winter meetings to keep fans interested. But it’s not the same as having games every single day for a seven-month stretch.
Below is an outlined schedule of offseason baseball activities to help get fans through this sad time.
Arizona Fall League
Games have been underway for quite some time in Arizona. During the fall league, the most talented prospects from each organization gather as a platform for scouts. Many of these players are on the cusp of cracking a major league roster.
Unfortunately, most of these games aren’t on TV, but if you’re looking to take a vacation in the winter, there’s no better place to go than Arizona where the current temperature is a sunny 87.
Teams play around 30 games with the championship game being held Nov. 17 on MLB Network.
Winter league baseball
For those truly desperate for some baseball, there are several winter leagues in the Dominican Republic, Mexico, Puerto Rico and Venezuela. These leagues run from around mid-October all the way into the new year. Each league has a playoff with the winner of each league meeting in the Caribbean World Series, which is set to begin February 1.
A lot of minor league players, and even some major league players, will use winter league games as a way to stay fresh during the offseason. With the World Baseball Classic (WBC) this year, it’s also a good platform to become familiar with names from other countries.
The winter meetings are probably the best four days in the offseason. While a lot does get done during these meetings, it also cranks up the hot stove season and starts discussions for offseason moves.
This year’s winter meeting is in Orlando, Fla., December 9-12. If you’re a fan of a team looking to make a lot of moves this offseason, you’ll want to be glued to MLB Network during this four-day event.
World Baseball Classic
Fortunately for baseball fans, meaningful games will start a little earlier this year. If you’re a fan of international baseball, then you’re in luck as it’s time for the WBC again.
There are still two qualifying rounds to be played Nov. 15-18 before the field is set. Qualifying rounds for the tournament itself begin March 2. The USA is in Pool D, which starts on March 7, with Mexico, Italy and one more qualifier that hasn’t been determined yet.
The championship round begins March 17 with the final game on March 19. The USA really needs to pick it up this year as we have yet to win a classic.
Pitchers and catchers
The most exhilarating phrase for baseball fans. We all can’t wait until pitchers and catchers report to camp. It’s the most exciting time of the year for fans — and it means warmer weather is on the way.
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