Monday, March 06, 2006

The Longest Month

by Doug Silversten

I hate March. Always have. It is the worst month of the year. It is a simple case of process of elimination that brings me to this conclusion.

April through September: Clearly the preferred half of the year. During these months, we get to bask in the glorious six-month stretch we call "The Baseball Season." Day in and day out, there is baseball. Other than the painful 3-day break in July for the All-Star game, we never need to go more than one day without a meaningful baseball game. Nothing could be finer.

October: The anti-March. Probably the best month of the year. Baseball playoff month is so important, that all major events in your life need to be postponed. As my lovely wife early explained, I even insisted that my wedding not be held in October, especially late October, to prevent a possible overlap with a critical game. I am proud that I have my priorities in order.

November: Not the greatest month, as you realize there are a cold 5 months ahead. Bartlett Giamatti was right:

"It breaks your heart. It is designed to break your heart. The game begins in the spring, when everything else begins again, and it blossoms in the summer, filling the afternoons and evenings, and then as soon as the chill rains come out, it stops and leaves you to face the fall alone."

However, if you are anything like me, the first few days are almost a relief. No fantasy team to worry about. No sweating out close playoff games. You almost need a week off. Plus, discussing and arguing over the MLB awards are nice little ways to pass a few weeks.

December: Your interest slowly turns to the NFL. Not even remotely comparable to baseball, but a nice little sport that helps kill time between baseball seasons. Plus the holidays are nice, and everything slows down in December. A nice little month.

January: Elimination playoff games in any sport are always fun and easy to watch. Hell, put on a badminton elimination match and I'll probably watch. The NFL provides a solid month of elimination playoff games. Too bad they are only on weekends.

February: Pitchers and catchers! Spring training begins! Baseball is finally on the horizon. The local newspapers finally have daily articles covering your team. You are so ravenous for baseball, any baseball, that you don't mind reading the plethora of "daily profile" articles.

March: Enough with these damn profile articles already!! It’s painful. Last week it was Julio Franco's day and the NY Times in-depth reporting came up with this brilliant line:

Franco's day always begins like this. He eats the first of five, sometimes six, meals before the sun has finished blazing over the horizon. Sometimes he adds vegetables, like bell peppers or spinach, to his egg whites or he substitutes a scooped-out bagel (he prefers cinnamon raisin) for the oatmeal.

What the hell? Enough! March sucks. It's a tease. Meaningful baseball is so close you can taste...instead you are reading about what Julio Franco is tasting. Ugh, and it's only March 6th. Still 26 days to go.

Doug Silversten's column appears alternate Mondays


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"I've had a pretty good success facing Stan (Musial) by throwing him my best pitch and backing up third base."
- Carl Erskine