Your Ultimate Off-Season Survival Guide

BOSTON, MA: A fan waits during a third rain delay of a game between the Boston Red Sox and the San Diego Padres at Fenway Park in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Jim Rogash/Getty Images)

Within minutes of the final out of Game 7 of the World Series, Rogers Hornsby's famous quote zoomed through the Twitterverse: "People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."

If only Hornsby were alive today. 

For you, dear baseball fan, there is much to do other than stare out the window until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. However you choose to keep the baseball spirit alive through the dreary winter, there is something for you in The Ultimate Off-Season Survival Guide. Bookmark this now. You'll want to come back to it over and over again. 

Read Baseball Nation Every Day
The games may have ended but our baseball coverage goes on. We'll have all the rumors and news on free agent signings and trades as well as the baseball commentary we featured throughout the season. Don't be a stranger. 

Watch Baseball
Yes, the 2011 Major League Baseball season is over. But around the globe, professional baseball will be played for several more months. You can enjoy these games without leaving the comforts of home.  

This Tuesday, November 1, kicks off the Taiwan All-Star Series, a five-games series between a team of MLB players and the Chinese Taipei National Team. Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson and Pablo Sandoval highlight the MLB team. MLB Network will broadcast all five games. Here's the schedule.

MLB Network will also broadcast several Arizona Fall League games, including the Rising Stars Game on Saturday, November 5. The schedule for these games has not yet been released. Check MLB Network's website for more information. 

Baseball in the Caribbean is in full swing. Regular-season games in the Dominican Baseball League will continue through December with playoffs in January. You can watch the Escogido Club's games via livestream here

The Venezuelan Baseball League is also going strong. You can watch games live through the league's website here

Plan a Baseball Film Festival
Forget the usual suspects. (Well, don't forget The Usual Suspects. That's a great film). You've seen Field of Dreams, The Sandlot, Bull Durham and Bad News Bears more times than you care to remember. Here are some films you may not have already seen.

Road to the Big Leagues documents the difficult road traveled by young Dominican ballplayers who will do anything to make it to the major leagues in America. The film stars David Ortiz and Vladimir Guerrero.  

A must-see for all baseball fans is The Life and Times of Hank Greenberg, a terrific documentary about the Hall-of-Famer who played for the Detroit Tigers in the 1930s. 

If you like baseball biopics, there's Cobb starring Tommy Lee Jones as Ty Cobb and Robert Wuhl as Al Stump, the sportswriter chosen by Cobb to help write his autobiography. 

For a trip through the Negro Leagues, watch The Bingo Long Traveling All-Stars & Motor Kings. The film stars James Earl Jones, Billy Dee Williams and Richard Pryor, so even if the script lacks some zip, you'll still enjoy the acting. 

If you're steaming mad about the end of baseball season, perhaps you'll like Ball of Wax starring Mark Mench as a successful, good-looking baseball player who turns the game into a blood sport by pitting teammates against each other. 


Start a Baseball Book Club
There are almost as many "Best Baseball Books" lists as there are great baseball books. I like this one that appeared in the Los Angeles Times just before the 2011 season got underway. You likely have one or two of your own.

For a thoughtful take on baseball books beyond the top ten lists, spend some time on Ron Kaplan's Baseball Bookshelf. Kaplan is a sports writer and editor and serves on the Bibliography Committee of the Society of American Baseball Research (SABR). His blog covers a rich and diverse set of baseball book reviews. 

Listen to Music Performed By Ballplayers
When you want to be serenaded by Sandy Alomar, Jr., David Wells and Scott Spiezio (and frankly, when don't you want to be serenaded by them?), listen to the eclectic mix of Big League Rocks. There's even an introduction from Bob Costas. Of course.

Former Yankee great Bernie Williams released his second CD, Moving Forward, in 2009. The highlight is a track of Glory Days performed with Bruce Springsteen and Patti Scialfa.

If bluegrass is more your style, San Francisco Giants third-base coach Tim Flannery is the musician for you. His tenth CD, Travelin Shoes, is described as "soulful Americana."  A perfect fit for a baseball fan.

If rock covers are your thing, don't miss Bronson Arroyo's 2005 CD Covering The Bases. Bronson Arroyo. Rock covers. Enough said.

Visit a Baseball Museum
A visit to the Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown is already on your to-do list. But there are other terrific baseball museums that may be closer to home. They're worth a visit.

The Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in Kansas City is dedicated to preserving the African-American experience with baseball. There are mutli-media displays, photographs and artifacts dating to the late 1800s. 

To see how baseball bats are made and to learn about the history of baseball bats, visit the Louisville Slugger Museum & Factory

It's deja vu all over again at the Yogi Berra Museum & Learning Center on the campus of Montclair State University in Northern New Jersey. The museum features information and artifacts about baseball in New York and Berra's remarkable career. 

In one weekend in Baltimore, you can enjoy the Babe Ruth Birthplace & Museum and the Sports Legends Museum at Camden Yards. The Babe's place contains photographs and artifacts about his historic career. The Sports Legends Museum chronicles the history of the Orioles (and the Colts, in case any football fans are along on the trip). 

Ride a Rollercoaster


Source: FanGraphs

If you loved Game 6 of the World Series, ride some roller-coasters this winter. Here's a list of the tallest, steepest and fastest roller-coasters in the world. Have fun!

Plan Your Trip to Spring Training
It's less than 120 days until pitchers and catchers report. And while that seems like a long, long, long time, once you're done with these other activities, spring training will be right around the corner. Start planning your trip now.

Everything you need to know about the Cactus League can be found here. The Grapefruit League information is here.

Please add your ideas in the comments.

Before you know it, it will be time to Play Ball.


Wendy Thurm also writes about baseball at HangingSliders and FanGraphs. You can follow her on Twitter @hangingsliders.


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