Anyone else notice that there’s no such thing as an offseason anymore?
OK, maybe in hockey there is. Or does having no season at all count? Regardless, even when hockey does have a season, its offseason is about as compelling as a Buster Posey interview.
Wow, is that cat dry or what?
Pardon the digression. The point here is that the big-time pro sports — football, baseball and basketball — have figured out various and creative ways to keep themselves relevant and in the headlines 12 months a year.
So has golf, come to think of it, but that doesn’t really count either. For two reasons.
One being that golf ceased to be a big-time pro sport the moment Tiger slammed into a Florida fire hydrant and began his descent into that strange range of stardom inhabited by Jason Giambi upon leaving the A’s: still damn good, but never again as scary-good as he was at the peak of his powers.
Two being that golf doesn’t even pretend at have an offseason. Why should it when princes and kings and corporate gangsters lording over lands we can’t even pronounce are forking over multimillion-dollar appearance fees for far-away “tournaments” that carry less gravitas than Chuck Barkley chiming in on politics.
This just in: Tiger, despite being a shell of the pimp-in-every-sense-of-the-word he used to be, just made $3.37 million for coming in eighth place at the 2012 Sultan of Syrgahkistan’s Opulence Open.
Wait. That was another digression, wasn’t it? And a doozy at that. Worth it, though, don’t you think?
Anyway, here’s how the big three sports tend to keep us engaged year-round:
BASEBALL: The MLB Draft is an in-season thing, and for good reason. I.e, Zzzzzzzz. So how baseball keeps us in its grips is to pepper us with GM meetings (this week), winter meetings (early December) and the brilliant concept that is the Hot Stove League.
The true genius of the baseball offseason, though, is in the spacing out of the postseason awards. Daily headlines! And now they’re taking it a step further, going all Heisman on us by announcing the “finalists” in advance.
Oh, and if that doesn’t hold your interest, isn’t the 1984 World Series on MLB Network this week? The haircuts alone are worth a look.
FOOTBALL: Combine, combine, combine. That’s the entire offseason. The run-up, the actual event, and the analysis. Then comes camp. Boom.
Last time oversized men in skivvies meant so much, the WWF was born.
BASKETBALL: The NBA Draft isn’t as big as it is in the NFL, but it’s still plenty big, and somehow the Association has managed to make us care about the Vegas Summer League.
Or do we really care about the Vegas Summer League? Isn’t is just a decent excuse to say, “Honey, I want to go see Harrison Barnes.” Never mind you’ll see less of Barnes and more of a ditzy 20-year-old with fake everything but the C-section scar and Daddy issues.
Ain’t sports grand? Twenty-four, seven, 365 baby!
Mychael Urban has covered Bay Area sports for more than 22 years as a contributor to Comcast SportsNet, CSNBayArea.com, KNBR, MLB.com, ESPN The Magazine and various newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @BigUrbSports. His website is UrbsUnchained.com.