Let’s face it, it’s time to accept the fact that baseball is over for the year. It left us a great parting gift in an exciting World Series that culminated in the Astros’ first championship in franchise history, but it left us to face the cold winter alone.
Not all hope is lost, though.
In the absence of the game being played, we still have the wonderful world that is baseball Twitter. Twitter is full of accounts that are dedicated to the great sport of baseball. Some are informative, some more entertainment-oriented.
Putting together the list I am about to present to you took lots of time and effort. This list rivals the Forbes list in terms of prestige. To help you get through the endless offseason, here is my list of essential baseball Twitter accounts you must follow this winter.
MLB Home Run (@MLBHR)
In a time where home runs are hit seemingly every other at bat, following an account that alerts you of every home run may sound a bit annoying. But in order to stay up to date with all the dingers hit across the league (a league record 6,105), this account must be in your following list.
Baseball Countdown (@Count2Baseball)
Like I said, the offseason is long and grueling. It drags on through the cold, dreary winter months and makes you think there is no light at the end of the tunnel. But Baseball Countdown lets you know there is a light there. Every day you’ll be made aware of the number of days until baseball returns. And right now, that glorious morning is just 105 days away.
Baseball Reference (@baseball_ref)
Have you ever wanted to know who hit the most home runs on a Wednesday in June in the old Yankee Stadium while wearing blue socks? Well, Baseball Reference probably can’t give you that answer, but they have a vast database of baseball facts and information that can be useful to any fan of the game. If you’re watching a game and want to know anything about any player on the field, this is the account to follow.
Cespedes Family BBQ (@CespedesBBQ)
So you like baseball, pop culture, and comedy. Look no further than Cespedes Family BBQ. The account is run by two recent college grads who landed jobs with MLB – I’d like advice on how they did so, by the way – and pretty much give their commentary about anything interesting or funny in the world of baseball.
Old Hoss Radbourn (OldHossRadbourn)
If you’ve ever wanted to be inside the mind of a player from the late 1800s, give Old Hoss Radbourn a follow. Radbourn was a real player in the 1880s who is best known for finishing the 1884 season with 60 wins. His alter ego on the internet is filled with lots of anger towards the modern world, with some baseball commentary thrown in occasionally.
I know the offseason won’t be fun, but stick to this list and follow all of these accounts, and you’ll survive.
I’d like to start this week’s column by congratulating the Houston Astros on winning their first World Series championship. They had a terrific season and put up some of the most amazing offensive numbers of all time.
I’d also like to congratulate myself for correctly picking the World Series matchup.
On the first episode of the podcast on April 1, I chose the Boston Red Sox as my 2017 World Series champions. When the Houston Astros traded for Justin Verlander at the August trade deadline, though, I tweeted this out:
I knew the Astros had a good team, but adding Verlander all but sealed the deal in my book. There was no way this team was not going to win the Fall Classic.
After picking six of the seven playoff matchups correctly (including calling that the World Series would go seven games), I feel I’m qualified to give advice on making predictions. So it is with great pleasure that I give you The Art of Predictions.
1. Be Bold: In reality, no one ever really knows what will happen, so it doesn’t hurt to make a bold pick. Hey, if you’re a major publication like Sports Illustrated, you might even pick a team that just went 51-111 to win three years from now. Why not?
2. Change It Up: I’ll be honest, at the beginning of the season I didn’t even think the Astros would win their division. I picked the Rangers to win the AL West (yes I know, that was a dumb pick). But once they traded for Verlander, I couldn’t ignore the ‘Stros. So don’t be afraid to change your picks when something major happens.
3. Follow Trends: When making a prediction, keep recent trends and momentum in mind. For example, home teams are 20-22 (now 20-23) in World Series Game Sevens, so it was likely the Dodgers would lose this series once it went to Game Seven. On a recent episode of the Start Jumping podcast at Virginia Tech, Trey Lyle and I predicted Iowa State to beat TCU, citing their recent string of upsets over ranked teams. Trends are usually helpful when it comes to predictions. However...
4. Beware the Unpredictable: Although trends are helpful, anything can happen, especially in baseball. Five of the last seven World Series Game Sevens have been won by the National League club, but this year's was different, so it was smart to go against the trend. It's important to keep in mind the unpredictable nature of sports, and once they get into the playoffs, the unpredictability is multiplied tenfold. *cough* March Madness *cough*
And, if all else fails...
5. Be Random: I'm in a weekly NFL pick 'em league with my friends and family, and somehow I'm beating my roommate, who is a football fanatic. I have little actual football knowledge, but I have a 50/50 shot at getting each game right. So if it comes down to it, flip a coin and you should be just fine.
I'm not guaranteeing anything, but by following these tips, you can make the Vegas sportsbooks bankrupt in no time. You may even end up like this lucky guy.
Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm off to find something to do until next baseball season starts.
Matthew Atkins, Journalist and Baseball fan.