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Baseball offseason is worth following

There is something about sports that draws in the average fan.
Whether it’s the big hits in football or the highflying dunks in basketball, everyone is a fan in some way.
Maybe you are the casual observer who watches when your team is on TV.
Or you might be like me and follow every topic of your sport, whether it’s in season or not.
When it’s early November and the Yankees just won the World Series, the season’s over and we have to wait until April to start caring again right?
Wrong.
Baseball doesn’t end with the World Series.
There is only a month or so until winter meetings begin.
Contract negotiations catch fire, and the lust begins for the season that doesn’t start until April.
You have to do better than the Yankees, right? 
So you start negotiating deals with the players you want to keep and trying to get that big-name free agent to agree to a deal with your team.
What team doesn’t want a CC Sabathia or Johan Santana to lead its rotation? Especially if you can lock him up for seven or more years.
You start to build the team you hope can bring you to the promised land in October, and when does it begin? The previous November.
So the winter meetings are in the books and teams have let people go and signed the few guys they think are important enough to keep around.
They have cleared up some roster space and have some cash in their pockets that their organizations are just looking to spend.
Now what?
Go spend that money.
There are free agents to pick up, winter leagues in the Dominican and players to scout overseas.
Where else are you going to find that young left-handed pitcher who can throw in the high-90s?
You have to go get him in his environment – the Aroldis Chapmans of the world aren’t going to come to you. 
So you’ve built up your team, it’s now early March and you have all the free agents you wanted to pick up. Or maybe you had to make that list shorter because of money or other teams getting them first, and to be honest, that team was probably the Yankees.
Now comes one of the most intense parts of the year for some – spring training.
The time when those young players are looking for their chances to make it on to the big club and when the older veterans are just sitting around because they know they have nothing to worry about. 
This is when the youth get to shine and make an impression on the big club. The injured from last year get their time to prove they are healthy enough to get back into the swing of things and are ready to play for that contract they so desperately want.
This might be the best part of the season. 
Early April comes around, the season starts and it’s time to see if all that work in the offseason paid off.
Maybe your star player is going to shine, and maybe that offseason contract you gave to the big-time free agent turns into a big-time bust.
Fans get to watch the games and see the teams develop from what was a stressful offseason of vigorous negotiation and reading through those lengthy contracts.
Now the fans get to see the fun stuff, while the front offices get to sweat it out to see if they’ve done a good job to earn their paychecks, or whether or not they are the busts of their team. 
What else are you going to watch? The NBA All-Star weekend? Honestly, it would be more entertaining to watch paint dry than to watch Nate Robinson dominate another dunk contest in which the real stars don’t even compete… I would much rather listen to Peter Gammons talk about off-season pickups.
Hayden Shaver is a sophomore sports communication major from Washington. He is the Scout sports reporter.
Direct comments, questions and other responses to hshaver@mail.bradley.edu.