A baseball fan’s survival guide for the stretch drive of winter – Sporting News

Here we are in late January, with baseball seeming like it’s both right around the corner and a million years away.

Spring training starts in a little more than two weeks. But even then, we won’t see actual baseball for a couple weeks after that. In lieu of live baseball, it’s good to watch any baseball. So I’m here to help.

Below you’ll find a just-for-fun mishmash of baseball clips and links to help push you through the waning days of baseball-less dreariness. 

MORE: Spring training reporting dates for all 30 MLB teams

I hope this compilation comes through in the clutch (even if you don’t believe in clutch) to add some warmth to your winter. If you think of something cool/weird/exciting to add, feel free to send it along. 


Run, Tyler Naquin, run!

We love baseball, of course, because baseball is great. Don’t ever, ever let someone tell you that baseball is boring. Resist! Then show them Tyler Naquin’s touch-’em-all walkoff sprint last season.

Not so fast

Walkoff homers are cool. But you know what’s almost as cool? Robbing someone of a walkoff homer. The super-underrated Ender Inciarte knows this.

Go home, Ellsbury!

You know what’s always great? A straight steal of home. Jacoby Ellsbury’s done it a few times, including against the Rays last season.

That’s one way to turn a triple play.

See? Baseball is all kinds of great. But you knew that. Sometimes baseball is exciting AND ugly. This White Sox triple play against the Rangers last season proves it.

Not human

Giancarlo Stanton is a monster. Here’s a 504-foot homer he crushed at Coors Field last season. It was the longest homer in all of baseball in 2016.

Hi, Rajai Davis.

Not to harp on the exciting/great thing, but Rajai Davis’ game-tying homer in Game 7 of the World Series was both exciting and great. Relive it all you want.

A different kind of great

Remember when Mike Trout made a kid’s day — made him cry, even — by signing a ball? Yeah, that was cool. Watch it again.

Now we’ll dig a little into baseball’s past …

Vin Scully calls Puckett’s World Series homer

Vin Scully retired after last season, which is sad. But his body of work is a gift that will keep on giving. You probably didn’t even know there was a recording of Scully calling Kirby Puckett’s famous walkoff homer in Game 6 of the 1991 World Series, did you? “And Charlie Liebrandt has turned the lights out in the Metrodome again.” Ouch, Vin.

Speaking of Scully, wanna hear a bunch more awesome calls? Click here. Also, he’s Forrest Gump

Gary Redus, home run champion … wait, what?

Athlete skills exhibitions were a staple of sports TV in the ’80s. Ever wanted to see the Reds’ Gary Redus battle the Braves’ Dale Murphy in an obscure, NBC-sponsored home run derby narrated by Bob Costas in 1984? Here ya go!

Vintage bat flips

Next time someone spreads the alternative fact that bat flips weren’t a thing in decades past, first laugh, then show them this Gary Matthews beauty from the 1983 NLCS. Notice the artistry: Behind the back, one motion, all part of his swing. 

Then show them the greatest bat flip of all time — Tom Lawless, he of the .080 batting average, in the 1987 World Series. You’ve gotta wait for the replay to see it, though. That’s how epic it was. Lawless is still a fan of bat flips, by the way.

Glorious 1988 All-Star weirdness

Younger fans have no memory of the 1988 All-Star Gala at the Cincinnati Zoo. Come to think of it, older fans probably don’t either. It was a rain-effected disaster that was so bad it was great. (For the full story on that weird night, read this.) Here, watch late, great Craig Sager do his duty to kill time by interviewing a young Mark McGwire, who has a big snake around his neck. Yep, it was weird.

Cool baseball tunes

If you watched baseball in the ’80s and ’90s, before just about every game was broadcast on a regional network affiliate, local stations produced their own broadcasts. That meant original theme songs! Watch this video to waste a good hour of your day.

A random old game

YouTube is full of odd baseball things, including this Braves-Dodgers spring training game from 1979. Commercials included! You know you’re curious.


Wanna see at least one highlight from every All-Star Game since 1970? Click here.

What about baseball fights? You like baseball fights? Click here.

Pitchers hitting dingers? Click here

Do you wish “This Week in Baseball” was still on the air? You do? Me, too. That way he’d get to hear that cool theme music every week. Ever wondered how that closing theme came together? I wrote about it here.

That’s all I’ve got for now. I hope some or all of these help keep the baseball part of your brain occupied as we creep closer to opening day.


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