The high priests have looked to the sky and determined that the Baseball Solstice will coincide with Christmas this winter, to be celebrated from sundown on Christmas Eve to sundown Christmas Day.
The Baseball Solstice, noted in this blog a year ago, marks the midpoint of the long layoff in play between the final out of the World Series and the first exhibition game of Spring Training.
Sergio Romo struck out A.L. MVP Miguel Cabrera in the bottom of the 10th inning of Game 4 of the series on Oct. 28 to complete a San Francisco sweep of the Detroit Tigers.
The next games between major league opponents begin Feb. 22 in Arizona and Florida.
As fate would have it, that makes the midpoint Dec. 25, the second most holy day in Christendom. (The first is Easter, which coincidentally marks the point at which fans of the Chicago Cubs traditionally abandon hope for the new season.)
It is a bit awkward for baseball’s midwinter ritual to come at Christmas, and we baseball fans mean no disrespect on such a sacred day that many of us will be observing. (We’re also a bit leery that fans in Philadelphia will boo Santa Claus.)
But there’s apt symbolism for the pairing: We baseball fans cherish the sport as one of the greatest gifts we have.
You can mark the days to the start of Cactus and Grapefruit league play on the terrific Countdown to Spring Training site on Facebook.
As for marking the solstice, we encourage all baseball fans to do so in a meaningful, fun way: break out the baseball cards and find your favorite players, get in touch with fellow baseball fans by phone or email or social networking or (and this may sound crazy in this era) around the dining room table. We encourage you to visit the nearest ballpark and look eagerly forward to warm, sunny days on the field or in the stands come spring (or July, if you’re a Brewers fan).
As a Giants fan, I’ll be savoring the memories of the 2012 season. As an Indians fan, I’ll be lighting a few candles. And as a baseball fan overall, I’ll be glad to know that the first cry of “Play Ball” is drawing nigh.