What to do with all of this free time?

The tandem of these two in MLB2K9 has served me well with 95 steals and 300 RBIs between the two of them. Hey, why not live out a dream in the off-season? (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)

The Winter Doldrums of Baseball have grabbed ahold of us all.  It’s approximately three months until Spring Training begins and baseball fans, such as myself, have to pass the the time until then.  Sure there are a few other distractions out there, i.e. the NHL, NBA, College Football and Basketball, or of course, that other game *cough NFL cough*.  So what is it that you guys do to pass the time until the Houston Nine get to trot back out on to the field for what may be a turn around season?  Cue overindulging optimism!  Here is what I have found helps me out…

1. MLB 2K9. Or the "The Show" If you are a Playstation Elitist.  I am particularly fond of this edition because of the absurd ability to Force Trade, plus the ’09 edition vastly overpowers and overvalues guys like Roy Oswalt, Lance Berkman, and Carlos Lee.  I figure I get to be Ed Wade and Drayton McClane and Cecil Cooper (lol) for a season and make the moves that I see fit.  Plus, how often are you ever going to see Hunter Pence hit .459 with 64 HRs in a season?  Every year for me, baby, every year.

2. The NHL. I am very aware that I may be in the overwhelming minority on this one because of my Yankee heritage.  There is a small bonus for being from the Great Lakes State as my Detroit Redwings are essentially the New York Yankees of hockey.  I suggest that the readers of TCB become Redwings fans for one season.  This way, you can enjoy a team making the playoffs and actually stand a chance at making it to the Stanley Cup before the wear and tear that comes along with aging superstars really takes hold of your team.

3. The NFL.  Yes I am not a native Houstonian.  Yes I hate the Dallas Cowboys with the same vigor that causes bile inducing rage when the St. Louis Cardinals begin their pre-All Star Break run.  Sure it’s fun to root for a team to succeed, but why not embrace schadenfreude and laugh along with the country when the "boys in blue" continue their monumental meltdown?  I revel in the ability to say "The Lions had Kittna for 3 seasons, enjoy him!"

4. Take up a hobby.  I love to grill.  Unfortunately, my culinary skills are not on par with my zeal for breaking out the ol’ Weber.  Living in Texas affords me the ability to grill in the middle of winter and practice up my meat-searing skills for when the summertime rolls around. The LifeHacker.com blog offers up a recipe for making authentic In-N-Out burgers.  Impress your friends with these fatty little nuggets of gold just in time for Opening Day!  Or you know, clean out your attic.

5. Brush up on your sabermetrics knowledge.  One thing I had planned on doing this offseason is purchasing Moneyball and a sabermetrics guide (open to suggestions!) so I can at least offer up a coherent argument on WAR and the like.  Being a stat geek does not necessarily afford you the right to be a snob, but in the case of my other TCB authors, allows you to make a substantial claim and back it up with raw data.  Plus imagine the look on coworkers faces when you can rattle off that Clint Barmes will have a higher WORP than Tommy Manzella this year and why he will be more effective at the position.  Okay, I kinda pulled that one out of thin air.  Forgive me.

Fear not!  Baseball season is just around the corner once again.

Follow me on Twitter: @allphilla

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