With the free agency period now in full swing, marking the start of the "Hot Stove season" (originally called the "Ha Stowe season" after Harriet Beecher Stowe's love of a good baseball rumor), I thought it would be time to give you, the internet baseball consumer, a rundown of the important dates that are coming up. Set your iCals and cancel your therapy appointments, this is the only social calendar you'll need:
November 12: Rookie of the Year Awards are announced
Why It Should Matter to You: Besides getting to host your first annual Mike Trout Celebration of Fantasticness Party, you'll finally get to settle this bet: is Wade Miley a real person? I'm leaning towards no.
November 13: Manager of the Year Awards are announced
Why It Should Matter to You: You are a family member of Buck Showalter and/or Davey Johnson. Either that or you wrote a 1,200 page thesis on when is the appropriate time to hit-and-run.
November 14: Cy Young Awards are announced
Why It Should Matter to You: RA Dickey, after scaling Mount Kilimanjaro and selling his soul to a snow demon, has a chance to become the first knuckleballer to win the Cy Young. It's obvious why that's important. Also, Justin Verlander. Wowzers.
November 15: MVP Awards are announced
Why It Should Matter to You: Listen, you might say that nothing matters and that we'll all die one day and turn to dust and who will really care about the MVP then? And I would say in response, well, okay, yeah, but that's, like, super dark. With Miguel Cabrera's triple crown squaring off against Mike Trout's glove and speed, this is the Tale of Two Cities of baseball awards. The NL will also have a winner. Good for them!
November 15-19: World Baseball Classic Qualifiers
Why It Should Matter to You: There will be box scores to check in the morning. That's always a positive.
November 17: Arizona Fall League Championship
Why It Should Matter to You: Everyone knows that good prospects must have the heart of a champion. And where better to prove it than in front of 30-40 Arizonians on a conglomeration of multiple teams' prospects and semi-prospects.
November 22: Ozzie Guillen quits Twitter again
Why It Should Matter to You: What's even the point of having Twitter if Ozzie Guillen isn't posting images of himself eating Jello? Fortunately, the national nightmare will end 24 hours later.
November 30: Last Day to Tender Contracts
Why It Should Matter to You: Who knows, maybe you'll be offered one! And wouldn't that be super cool?
December 3-6: Winter Meetings
Why It Should Matter to You: Are you a college student interested in selling season ticket packages for the Lansing Lugnuts? Then you'll want to be in Nashville, Tennessee this December. Or, if your interest in baseball is more in the suits than the stirrups, this is the Grand Event. Thrill as utility players are dealt for salary relief! Chill as contract negotiations are rumored! Spill your coffee all over your computer as you struggle in vain to keep your blog up to date!
December 6: Rule 5 Draft
Why It Should Matter to You: Lucas Luetge was the biggest name from last year's draft, which should tell you how important this is: very.
January 7: Kevin Mench's Birthday
Why It Should Matter to You: Should you not send a thoughtful and personal gift, Kevin Mench will, using the enormous brain stored in his giant head, vaporize a downtown city block. Don't test him.
February 1: The Caribbean World Series Begins
Why It Should Matter to You: I can promise you that this will be one of two chances to see Miguel Tejada, Karim Garcia, and Timo Perez all in one place. The other will be at Bob's Sporting Goods down route 15, next to the Chug 'N Glug.
February 12: Your Wedding Anniversary
Why It Should Matter to You: Come on. Get it together. Do I really have to remember everything for you?
February 22: First Spring Training Game is Played
Why It Should Matter to You: Sure, it'll be eight innings of pitching changes and AA players, but it's still Major League Baseball.
February 30: Bud Selig Invents A Day
Why It Should Matter to You: Selig also announces that on the next March Quintuplince, he'll decide if the Athletics can move. He makes no statement about expanded replay.
March 2-19: World Baseball Classic
Why It Should Matter to You: Until we're able to decide a country's strength by making their citizens battle it out for superiority in a giant cage, possibly with robots, we'll have to make do with the World Baseball Classic. This year maybe the United States will win. Or the Netherlands will gift us with a viewing of Randall Simon one last time. Regardless, waking up at 4 am to watch international baseball is always a good choice.
April 1: Opening Day
Why It Should Matter to You: Skip school, call in sick to work, shirk every responsibility: baseball is back. It's the most important day of the year!