The Baseline: A baseball survival guide for die-hard fans

Story by Emily Gresbrink

The Baseline

This is the best week ever.

This is the week where we all crawl out of our hibernation holes and whip out the short-sleeve tees and caps. This is the week where we pray that our fantasies will come true.

And by that, I mean we gear up for games and hope our teams will win — it’s baseball season 2012! It is here at last!

The season starts today with a Cardinals-Marlins game, and then moves into solid regular games on Thursday. Our own Twins and Brewers step up to the plate on Friday, facing the Orioles and Cards, respectively.

This is the time of year where everything I have taught you so far with statistics, drafts and scouting comes together in publicized, FS North bliss. It is wonderful.

But before everything can get wonderful and perfect, let us keep a few things in mind: Baseball can occasionally be awful. Not to be a pessimistic realist, but that is how the game works.

But what do you, loyal fans, do when these tragedies strike? You will be mad and sad or maybe confused. If you’re like me, you’ll resemble a Dr. Jekyll-Mr. Hyde complex and go insane. I’ve thrown things before, people.

So, In lieu of numbers and hard facts this week, I think we should go over some important tips and tricks for making your ballgame experience even better.

Yes, friends — its The Baseline’s first-ever “Worst-Case Scenario Survival Guide to Baseball Games.”

With that, let us begin.

1) Expect the unexpected. You sit down in front of a TV with a big paper boat of wings and a cool draft. You’ve got your shirt on and your smartphone out to watch your fantasy team. And what happens? YOU LOSE! You are raging out on hot sauce and drinks. This isn’t okay! Your league is ruined! Blast! What do you do?

Solution: Calm down. Sit down. Look carefully at your managing device. Tell yourself that the season isn’t over because you lost a series. There will be many more. Remain a loyal fan. Don’t become an Astros fan until absolutely necessary (kidding! Love you, Houston!). Take time to see if you can bench anyone or make trades within your league. Just know that everything will be fine. And please, wipe the buffalo sauce off your chin.

2) There will be injuries and illness: You head out to Target Field to see a rousing game of ball and your favorite player ever, Justin Morneau! But alas, he has been hit on the head with a leaf and his concussion is acting up again. He won’t play. Now you look like a fool in your circa-2009 “M&M” shirt. Shoot! Now what?

Solution: Go to the clubhouse and buy a new shirt. Parmelee is a safe bet. Or you can stand fast and remain loyal to your player. The majors have pros for athletic injuries — fear not, the game will not die without a regular player. Stay seated and remain calm.

3) Things will not go as you plan: You drive up to Miller Park, it’s the best and sunniest day ever, and a half hour later … rain. Drat! Now what?

Solution: You silly goon, Miller Park has a retractable roof! But for those outdoor stadiums, they do have games be delayed and rained out … and trust me, that’s not fun. Especially after you get all psyched up about the great parking spot you got and the bitter, final game for that inner-league rivalry. Once more, calm down. Perhaps the game will start again! Eat a hot dog or have a Coke. If the game is rained out, often times they’ll rain check it for another game. If not … well, then maybe it’s okay to be bummed, but don’t get mad.

Overall, during the season, make sure to remain a loyal and polite fan. Nobody likes it when a half-drunk college student flips out over a missed play — in fact, that’s not good at any age. Practice good sportsmanship as a spectator and know that a lost game, an injury or a rain out isn’t the end of the world.

Now please pass the peanuts. I promise I won’t throw anything this year — mostly because it’s time for my favorite thing of the summer: It’s time for baseball!