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Today Is the First Day Of Winter

All you budding meteorologists and dayologists might try and say Winter doesn't officially start until December, but as far as I'm concerned, it's all darkness, starting today, until Spring Training.

Last night, as the Phillies piled on one another in what looked like an elementary school pileup of "Smear the (insulting adjective goes here)", only with 200 pound bodies, I turned off the TiVo and started to make preparations for what will be a long hibernation period, as we baseball fans will go starving, snacking only on minor sports and petty contests like the Super Bowl and March Madness until the crack of the bat and thud of the catcher's mitt snap us back awake.

For the next few months, we are really in the worst part of the calendar year. You know, I was doubtful that this so-called financial crisis could really slip from recession to depression, until I realized there would be no baseball and got depressed myself.

After the very visible publication and aftermath of Moneyball, some of us have said that the games themselves aren't actually Billy Beane's and the A's favorite time of year, and they may enjoy the baseball draft and the Hot Stove League more. But as a fan, I'd rather sit in the rain to watch a sloppy blowout against the Mariners than be reloading the transaction wire on the Web. I'm a fan to see the games, to sweat out every strike and bloop hit, to debate the merits of speed, fielding and if there is such a thing as too many strikeouts.

Even if I hadn't been rooting for the Rays in this year's World Series, which I was, I didn't want baseball to end last night, because every year, when the lights finally go out on the last game of the season, I know the future is bleak, full of cold, darkness, and silence.

How many more days until pitchers and catchers report?