“I’ve tried a lot of things in the off-season, but the only thing I really know is baseball.” – Hank Aaron
Someone asked me the other day what I was up to, now that it’s November and I don’t have baseball to focus on. My response: I’m always focused on baseball. Fortunately, it seems that there always is something going on in baseball. We just have to know where to look.
Just a few weeks ago, post-season awards were given out and tomorrow the Baseball Writers’ Association of America Hall of Fame ballot will be revealed (and the results will be announced January 8th). Several related awards will be announced soon, including the Ford Frick Award, which honors excellence in baseball broadcasting. In addition, the Greatness in Baseball Yearly Awards (GIBBY) will be announced during the Baseball Winter Meetings, December 9-12.
Speaking of the Winter Meetings, we are also in the midst of baseball wheeling and dealing. Here are a few upcoming deadlines:
- December 2: tender deadline (the date by which teams must offer contracts to unsigned players on their 40-man roster, after which players who have not been offered contracts can become free agents)
- December 5: last date to request outright waivers to assign a player before the Rule 5 Draft (in other words, requesting permission to move a player from the big league 40-man roster to the minors)
- December 9: last date to outright a player before the Rule 5 Draft (meaning they must send him to the minors)
- December 12: Rule 5 Draft (which keeps teams from keeping a player on a minor league roster rather than allowing another team to put him on their major league roster)
We are also in the middle of baseball’s winter league season. Although the Arizona Fall League recently completed its season (with the Surprise Saguaros winning the championship), winter ball is still heating up. As I previously reported, the Dominican Winter League, the Mexican Pacific League, and the Venezuelan Winter League all began play in October, with games running through late December. In addition, the Puerto Rican League’s 2013 season began November 1 and runs through December 30. These four leagues will compete in the Caribbean Series in February.
In addition, the Australian Baseball League’s regular season began on October 31 and runs through January. They will hold their All-Star game on December 13, the playoffs begin on January 30, and the championship series begins on February 6.
The Caribbean and Australian teams are affiliated with Major League Baseball. However, there are leagues in other places as well. For example, the Colombian League is currently in the midst of their season, which runs from November to January.
Of course, if you can’t keep up with the winter leagues or the hot stove league, you can still find plenty of baseball activities to keep you occupied until Spring Training. Try checking out a few baseball travel destinations, or curl up with a good baseball book.