This is the time of the year that separates the dreamers from the pragmatic pessimists. With the abject failure of the Wrigley Sweep in your rear-view mirror, how do you come to grips with the next two weeks of St. Louis Cardinals baseball?
Do you succumb to the deep disappointment of the likely blown opportunity presented to the St. Louis Cardinals with a weak division and eminently catch-able wild card foes? Or do you still cling to marginal mathematical possibilities that require more suspension of disbelief than Game of Thrones?
If you remain the hope-filled optimist, then go someplace else; this column isn’t for you.
On the other hand, if you have managed to flip that mind and heart switch, accepting that fairly legitimate cynicism of yours that it’s over, then we offer a bountiful list of ideas for how to get a head start on your fall and winter recreation. Hopefully there’s enough variety here to satisfy those of all genders, ages and persuasions:
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You know, those places you pass en route to the game? The Zoo, the Garden, the parks, the beach (the latter for out of town Cards fans, of course).
Converse about something that isn’t baseball. I realize this is tough for most of you, as you may not have had an actual discussion about much other than Mike Matheny’s faults or why Yadier Molina bats fifth or…wait, that’s me, not you. Never mind.
Mow the lawn. That’s for you, not me. I’m not doing it, but you should. And while you’re at it, mow mine.
Plan a trip. Ok, this one you can actually cheat and include stuff like spring training. But challenge yourself to new and exciting options. Try the Fall League or spring training in Arizona. They’ve got mountains and desert and stuff. Very different.
Plan a trip, part 2. On second thought, support Florida spring training, those poor people have had enough heartache, having your support of the local economy would be greatly appreciated.
Walk your dog. Or, as with the lawn, walk mine. No, I don’t mean walk your lawn. You know fully well what I mean.
Plan a trip, part 3. It’s conceivable you could do a trip that has nothing to do with baseball. Oh really, you say, what else is there. Well, national parks, big cities, you know, the other things in life. Besides baseball.
Go watch a college football game. Maybe in Columbia. Oh wait, that’s not football. Forget that one. Stay away from Columbia. Far, far away.
Go watch a pro football game. In Kansas City. Or Chicago.
This one’s a cheat: Watch baseball playoffs that don’t include the Cardinals. But honestly, since there’s no real emotional attachment for you there, it’s almost the same as not doing baseball.
Support the arts. A concert, a play, an exhibit. Even a movie. And here’s a hot tip. Lots of stuff in and around St. Louis is free or incredibly cheap and of super high quality.
Read a …. what? You can do it with one of those old-fashioned paper devices…i think it’s called a book. Or on your Kindle or iPad or other tablet. The whole idea is personal pleasure, enlightenment or both. It’ll never replicate a playoff chase, but what does?
Call a friend or relative. Yeah, I know, you’ve been ignoring your Aunt Pamela or Cousin Mookie or whomever since spring training began. Go see them. They need to know you’re alive. If they live in Chicago, they’ll probably mock you. That’s ok. Blood is just as thick as baseball, right? RIGHT?
Watch the news. Some is good, some horrid, but it reminds you that somehow we’re all connected, and that’s a good thing.
Enter the Publisher’s Clearing House sweepstakes. No, this isn’t a paid endorsement. And you may take away my winning entry. Still, it will kill 2 minutes of the day.
Spent massive amounts of time in the cereal aisle at the grocery store. Have you ever noticed how many cereals there are? I mean, I’ve lived a long time and I’ve never tried half of those brands and types.
Cook a meal. This is if you think that just looking at cereals is not sufficient. I personally do,but some are more ambitious than me. Make sure you plan ahead by looking at recipes, making a list, or asking Alexa or your refrigerator for their ideas. Don’t go to the store hungry. No party platters.
Listen to some really good music. Jazz, rock, classical, hip hop, it doesn’t matter. Music is restorative. If you do it really loud through your ear buds, it’s both restorative and destructive. Share a playlist with a friend, especially a baseball friend, they need it, too.
If all else fails, and you feel the urge to nurture your disappointment for another few months, you don’t have to do it by watching Cards games or news. I’d recommend following the Blues, thats always a sure way to bring you down.