Good morning Fackers. It's another off day. While these are never enjoyable, the off day today and next Monday, bookending the Boston series, are functional in that they've allowed the Yankees to align their rotation just as they want it: lining up their three best starters for this series, skipping Joba to limit his innings, skipping Mitre because he's not a good pitcher, and getting Chad Gaudin some much needed work.
Yet these off days are also a harbinger of things to come. Last night was Game 121, meaning the season is now 75% over (74.7% for you math majors). We're less than two weeks away from rosters expanding, minor league seasons ending, and the pennant races hitting the home stretch. Summer's on its way out the door and it won't be very long before baseball isn't a daily luxury any longer (though of course, I hope that it is for the Yankees longer than it is for anyone else).
Already, as I drive home from work at night, I notice the baseball fields are empty. But yet when I get home, Pop Warner practices are in full swing in the fields across the stream behind my house. They seem to be ending a bit earlier with each passing night, as the daylight is fleeting. The Yankees just completed a series in which coaches and bench players were routinely seen in jackets and sweatshirts, on a field that has hash marks and yard markers painted on it. NFL camps are in full swing. I don't know if I'm football starved, or if it was just because the Yanks didn't start until 10, but I was bordering on excited to watch a meaningless Giants pre-season game Monday night.
College football, which I enjoy far more than the NFL, has its camps going as well, with most teams having one or two intrasquad scrimmages already complete. USA Hockey just concluded its orientation camp in preparation for February's Winter Olympics and NHL camps are only about three weeks away from kicking off.
In the meantime, it's still an off day, and we've got space to fill. As crazy as we are about baseball here in the northeast, they're likely crazier about college football in the south. Two years ago, as part of ESPN.com's E-Ticket (now Outside the Lines) series, Wright Thompson authored a feature about the south's love of college football. It's a great piece of writing, and one that I read again before last season and just recently in anticipation of the upcoming season. But it also reminds me of my own feelings about baseball, and the build up to spring training and Opening Day each year. So if you get bored with no Yankee baseball today, give it a read.
Soon, for the first time since the NBA finals wrapped in June, MLB won't be the only major sport that's in season. So enjoy these last few weeks where baseball has the national landscape to itself. These days is almost gone.