There are two things that make the baseball off-season the worst time of year. The first is rather obvious; there is no baseball. To a diehard fan, the final out of the season through the day that pitchers and catchers report seems like an eternity. For the first month of the off-season you can try to get by watching re-runs of games that you thought to record on the DVR when life was good and there were actually games being played. I have to admit though, watching the Arizona Diamondbacks beat the Miami Marlins 1-0 in a stellar pitched game by Brandon McCarthy is fun but you can only watch that game so many times before it begins to lose its enthusiasm. Why didn’t I record the doubleheader against the Texas Rangers? What was I thinking?
By mid to late December baseball fans start going through what doctors refer to as inning withdrawals. The first sign that you are entering this phase is when you blackout behind the wheel of your car and somehow end up in the parking lot at Chase Field without any recollection of how you got there or more importantly why you are there. The security guards are fairly friendly but no amount of begging or tears seems to work, as they never actually open the gates so you can wander around the concourse.
This is normally followed but some sort of emotional breakdown. Mine usually comes after walking in the closet and seeing all of my Diamondbacks jerseys neatly pressed and hanging patiently waiting to be called into the game. Is it wrong that I feel guilty that I haven’t taken my jerseys outside in three months? My wife walked in on me one time as I was talking to my jerseys giving them a pep talk telling them that the days were starting to get longer and soon pitchers and catchers would report to spring training. I’m not sure my jerseys felt any better but at least I tried. My wife on the other hand looked more worried than the jerseys that I was suddenly talking to articles of clothing.
I tried to assure her that I really was feeling ok but she seemed to be convinced that I needed some sort of professional help. I’ve been down that road before at the end of 2006 when the Arizona Diamondbacks changed from purple and teal to Sedona Red, Sonoran Sand, and Black. I cried for days as I buried my longtime jerseys at sea. Ok, so it wasn’t really a burial at sea as much as it was putting them in the washing machine one last time but it was still pretty traumatic.
These days my wife uses other means to try and get me out of the off-season funk. I really have to question some of her methods and there are days that I question whether the Geneva Convention might be being circumvented. Take today for example when she whipped out the “honey-do” list.
I have seen this list before and it never ends well for me. There is usually a mad dash to try and complete everything on the list before pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. About the best way I can describe this is it’s like The Amazing Race except I don’t get to go anywhere cool, my teammates (my kids) are completely worthless, and in the end even if I win I’m still stuck in some third world country with people whining that they won baseball tickets instead of cash.
At the top of this years edition of the “Honey-Do” List is “Paint the Bedroom”.
“Paint the bedroom? Didn’t we just do that when we moved into this house?” I asked.
“We moved in almost 20 years ago.” She replied.
I’m not sure I completely understand the relevance of her reply. I looked at the walls and they had paint on them so it’s not like some sort of polar vortex had crept into the house and eaten all of the paint off the walls or anything. Despite my arguments, the item remained at the top of the list made even worse by the fact that it wasn’t even my bedroom we were painting, it was one of the kids rooms. Clearly I was not going to get out of this so I assumed the position of one of Sheriff Joe’s chain gang waiting to be shackled and made to work. For the record, whistling tunes from Where For Art Thou Brother will only get time added to your sentence and a stern look from the warden.
First step was to pick out paint. This ranks just below going to the fabric store on my list of cruel and inhumane punishment. I tried to keep things positive. I threw on my Diamondbacks hat and climbed into the back of the paddy wagon to accompany the guards to the home improvement center.
I admit, I haven’t been to a paint department in a while (at least 20 years according to the warden) so I was not prepared to find myself in a sea of paint chips. I stared in amazement at the racks of paint samples. How in the world did we go from 64 Crayola crayon colors to 16.7 million color rainbows of paint chips? As if that was not bad enough, the home improvement center has a device where you can set something inside a magical box and it will identify the color and turn that color into paint. Wait, what was that? It can match anything in the world to a paint color?
This was perfect. I looked around and my wife was completely focused on a massive display of paint colors. I confidently walked up to the counter, removed my Diamondbacks hat and handed it to the kid behind the desk. “I’d like five gallons of Sedona Red hat color” I said.
The kid nervously looked at my hat and me. He then looked at my wife who was still going through color samples. His expression looked sort of like someone who was just asked to turn his key and launch nuclear weapons at the former Soviet Union. I looked back at him with my “It’s me dude, it’s ok I know what I am doing” look.
“You want me to mix up 5 gallons of paint based on the color of your hat?” he asked. Well when you say it that way it does sound a little weird. Well, no not really it sounded completely natural from my perspective. From the looks of the other people at the paint counter maybe that wasn’t a normal request after all.
Before I could respond, my wife wheeled around hearing our conversation and took my hat away from the paint worker and cancelled my request. It would appear that inmates are not allowed to vote or make paint decisions while incarcerated in “the big house”.
For now I will be placed in solitary confinement with a paint bucket of something called Mint Essence and a brush. I guess I can paint lines that will mark the next 58 days 13 hours 11 minutes and 32 seconds until Opening Day where I hope to be pardoned for good behavior.