When I began to think about a topic for my article this week, I came up with a list that included the following:
Yeah, I had nothing. We've entered the worst part of the year: it's cold, it's dark, the holidays are over, and baseball isn't close enough to get excited about yet. All the big off season moves have been made (well, I assume they have), and most discussion that doesn't fall into the "beating a dead horse" category has taken place. So what should we do in the meantime? Here are some things I'm going to be doing:
I got two baseball books for Christmas: The Bill James Historical Baseball Abstract and The Book. I'm hoping to work my way through The Book by the time the season starts, and while I doubt I'll ever read Bill James' book from cover to cover, it'll be great for learning some baseball history (an area in which my knowledge is lacking). R.A. Dickey's book Wherever I Wind Up is another to add to your reading lists, of course. I haven't read it yet myself, but I've heard nothing but good things from those who have.
Most of you have probably read The Bullpen Gospels and Out of My League already, but if you haven't now may be a good time to get started, considering that author Dirk Hayhurst is being considered for a role in the Blue Jays' broadcast booth this season.
World Baseball Classic
The World Baseball Classic gets underway on March 2nd in Fukuoka, Japan at 5 AM EST (the full schedule can be found here). Canada's games don't begin until March 8th, at the much more reasonable time of 2:30 PM EST. Canada will play games against Italy, Mexico, and the United States. If they finish in the top two among those countries, they'll move on to the second round, which begins on March 12th in Miami. The semi-finals and the championship will go March 17-19 at AT&T Park in San Francisco.
So far two Blue Jays have committed to playing in the tournament: Brett Lawrie for Canada, and Jose Reyes for the Dominican Republic. Justin Morneau has also agreed to play for the Ernie Whitt-managed Team Canada.
I think I have a decent grasp on most of the advanced stats in baseball, but one of my goals for the rest of this off season is to get an even better understanding. The Book, FanGraphs, and Beyond the Boxscore will be valuable resources to help me on my journey. I'm hoping to blog about it, too, so keep an eye out for that in the next couple of weeks.
As someone with access to an MLB.tv account, I have the privilege of being able to watch games from the past few seasons (I highly recommend buying MLB.tv. It's fantastic). I already watched R.A. Dickey's one-hitter vs the Tampa Bay Rays and I'm planning to watch more of his best performances (and maybe some of his not-so-great performances, too). Other candidates are Brandon Morrow's three complete game shutouts, those games that the Red Sox completely blew at the beginning of April, and various Mets games. I need to begin educating myself on my new NL team.
Speaking of the Red Sox...
I'm going to watch this video. A lot.
Hockey is back and I am going to watch it. Now that the Jays are World Series favourites, I'll need to get my daily does of masochism somewhere else. The Maple Leafs are prime candidates. Go team go.
Just kidding! I don't do homework.