I love the All-Star Break. I love nearly everything about it, from the MLB Futures Game right through the Mid-Summer Classic itself.
Nevertheless, for many baseball fans, the MLB All-Star break can mean wandering in a sort of baseball desert for a week.
I have felt your pain. So, I’ve compiled this list of ways to enjoy more baseball over the all-star break. I’ve also included a “hidden gem” at the end of some sections.
Dive into minor league baseball
It’s surprising to me that many MLB fans have little exposure to the minor leagues. You can purchase a MiLB TV package to watch games that way, but it would be better to go see a live game. Support the guys who are out there struggling to get to the Big Show. Put your scout hat on and see who stands out. Tickets and concessions are cheap. Parking is usually easy. There is a relatively good chance there is a minor league team playing within a hundred miles of you. Lake Elsinore is just up the 15 freeway for those of you in San Diego. Hidden Gem: Don’t forget Independent leagues.
Re-watch baseball movies or watch some for the first time
Maybe you haven’t watched one of the biggies: The Natural (my favorite), Field of Dreams, Major League, Moneyball, Bull Durham, or the like. Or, perhaps you’ve never started “Tier 2” movies, such as: Eight Men Out, For Love of the Game, The Rookie, or 42. Then, there is the family genre: The Bad News Bears, The Sandlot, etc. We can argue about which movies belong in which tiers, but there is no arguing baseball movies are one of baseball’s enduring gifts to culture. Hidden Gem: Fastball (Documentary), on Netflix.
Visit your city’s baseball museums
In San Diego, some haven’t yet visited the Padres Hall of Fame inside Petco Park. Go. Or, you can view the baseball items inside the Hall of Champions in Balboa Park. Most cities have some baseball-oriented museums—and many go unvisited by that city’s most passionate fans. In San Diego, you can see a picture of San Diego’s earliest baseball teams (possibly 1873) at the San Diego History Center—also in Balboa Park. The picture is also the feature picture for this article. Your city probably has a museum dedicated to local baseball history. Check it out. Hidden Gem: Sullivan Family Baseball Research Center, on the 8th floor of the San Diego Downtown Library.
Take a college Sabermetics Class…
For free…online. I enrolled and graduated with a certificate (the certificate costs $25) from EdX’s Sabermetics class, taught by the eminently qualified Andy Andres (currently of Boston University), a few years ago. You can do so, as well. It’s fun, it’s intellectually stimulating, and you’ll finally know what the heck a lot of these acronyms mean that everyone throws around. Right now, the class shows as “archived.” But, when enough people enroll, it will go live again. Enroll. It’s free, after all. No, you don’t get real college credit for it. You just get a lot smarter in your knowledge of baseball. Click here to check it out or enroll. No hidden gem here. This is the hidden gem.
Read a good, long baseball book
In the era of the blog, a lot of us don’t read books any more. It’s summer, and we have a week off from baseball, right? You can do an online search for the best baseball books to find the headliners. Two hidden gems I’m reading this summer: The Only Rule Is It Has to Work: Our Wild Experiment Building a New Kind of Baseball Team; and The Arm: Inside the Billion-Dollar Mystery of the Most Valuable Commodity in Sports.
Have you ever noticed how many people are out in the street or in a park tossing the football around on Super Bowl Sunday? Why not play some baseball during the all-star break? At least play some catch. Hit the batting cages. Or, if you can find a way, pull a pick-up game together with some friends. For a few years during college, I played pickup with some guys that I played with or against in High-School or Little League. It was a blast. Really, anything with a ball, glove, and bat will do.
Studying, reading, and watching are awesome.
Playing is always the best.
How do you enjoy the All-Star Break, other than simply the MLB All-Star festivities? Are there any hidden gems you want to share with fellow EVT readers?
Feature Image Photo Credit: San Diego History Center: San Diego and Coronado Baseball teams, perhaps 1873, on baseball lot bounded by 6th, 7th, C and D Streets [cropped]