Confession time: I was battling the flu and fell asleep, after a valiant effort, in the bottom of the 7th of Game 4. I woke up briefly to see Emily (who'd been trying to sleep for about an hour) come up with the remote and aim it at the set with a gunfighter look in her eye. “Nooooo,” I managed feebly, “I'll wake up when something happens.” Click. Darkness. A protest tried to swim up high enough in my brain to be acted upon, failed, and I went back to sleep. Then I awoke in the middle of the night, stared into the gloom, and staggered to the computer to read the news from My Yahoo.
White Sox Sweep Astros.
Oh my God, I thought, I slept through the rest of baseball season.
If only I could sleep through the rest of the offseason.
See, this is not the terrible day, for today there is at least coverage of the White Sox victory parade. Today at least a team is still together as a unit of 25+ guys. Once those victorious players disperse, though, watch out: Eight-foot snow drifts may as well arrive this very second, for baseball is truly gone.
There's no getting around the fact that if you're a baseball fan, you've now signed a 3 1/2 month lease for a studio apartment in Suck City. Here's a little guide to what's ahead, just so you're not surprised:
Early November: Devour all news of free-agent positioning (we bought out Danny Graves' option!), coaching changes, and tidbits from the Arizona Fall League. Tell all your friends that hey, Matt Lindstrom could really solidify things in '06.
Mid-November: Realize during Sunday chores that you've spent three hours working yourself into a fury wondering how in hell Armando could have walked O'Neill.
Early December: Sign up for a Google alert whenever an article includes the words “Pedro Martinez toe.” Try to find Licey Tigers cap  to buy. Scan upper regions of digital cable for winter-league games, spend an hour waiting and listening to Spanish, after which sight of Anderson Hernandez grounding out makes you briefly ecstatic.
December 8: Freak out about loss of Double-A player you've never heard of in Rule V draft.
Mid-December: Obsess about non-roster invitations extended to middle relievers, utility infielders and fifth outfielders. Give in, watch 2000 Mets highlight tape. Think it was wholly appropriate that the tape mysteriously ends, Pravda-style, moments after Benny Agbayani's game-winning double off El Duque.
Late December: Repeatedly write out likely 25-man roster after dog-and-cat trade nets middle reliever, utility infielder or fifth outfielder.
Early January: Sight of green field while channel-surfing leads to accidental viewing of 15 seconds of Horace Clarke Yankeeography. Shudder, take hot shower.
Mid-January: Actual free-agent signing/big trade coincides with freak warm spell and weather above 55 degrees. Mets all over back pages and WFAN, crocuses briefly appear. Run around for a day in shorts and Met gear. Euphoria quickly quashed by disappearance of Mets news, death of crocuses, horrendous blizzard.
During Mid-January Blizzard: Give in, watch “Think Big” video. Play “Centerfield” 34 straight times.
Late January: Certain winter not survivable. Sit in corner rocking and muttering.
Early February: Buy every glossy baseball preview/fantasy sports magazine on shelves, even though they're published according to some archaic schedule and list Braden Looper and Doug Mientkiewicz as key 2006 contributors. Despite this, spend three days spittingly furious when one magazine picks Mets for fourth in NL East.
Mid-February: Pitchers and catchers report, life begins again.
Hang in there, kids. We'll make it.