Welcome to the early offseason

It’s here. The first day of the offseason, at least for us folks who root for the boys in pinstripes, and I have to say, so far, it’s an odd feeling.

I’m so used to gearing up for the postseason and preparing myself emotionally for the games – because I tend to get a little too into playoff baseball – and now, I’m not sure what to do. I used to get myself so worked up that by the time everything was over, I’d be exhausted. This year, I am looking forward to having an October filled with watching games that don’t actually mean anything to me. Aside from rooting against the Red Sox and Rays (because really, who wants to see them win anything?) I’m just going to sit here and watch baseball from the perspective of a neutral fan of the sport.

During the past few seasons, I didn’t have to do that until at least mid-October.

And to be honest, I’m pretty excited about Game 163 tonight in Arlington because play-in games are a lot more enjoyable when your team isn’t involved. I was really rooting for total chaos yesterday and was hoping that the Twins could somehow help force two tiebreak games but alas, they didn’t. Nevertheless, Texas vs. Tampa should be a good game.

As for the Yankees, what do we have to look forward to?

Well, Alex Rodriguez‘s arbitration hearing started this morning. The news surrounding that particular hullabaloo wasn’t the hearing itself but the fact that the Daily News I-Team couldn’t believe Alex had supporters there. You know, I hate to break it to some people but I saw a number of people wearing #13 jerseys at the Stadium this season, especially in August and September and I even spotted children wearing them. (The horror!!!!) So while it may seem like the whole world hates A-Rod, it’s not true.

We also have free agency with guys like Robinson Cano, Curtis Granderson, Phil Hughes, Joba Chamberlain, Boone Logan and Hiroki Kuroda (among others) whose contracts are up. That should be an interesting turn of events, especially where Cano’s contract is concerned. Part of me is a little fearful that Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira will be the only big names we have left in the infield next season.

And while I’m writing this post, I wanted to thank the readers of IIATMS for sticking with us this season. I know it has been a weird season of baseball for all of us and I’m glad you guys stuck around to read our pieces, hang out in the game threads and to spark interesting conversations in the comments. I really hope you stick around during the offseason as well because as I said, there will be a lot to talk about.

Anyway, here are some links for you to peruse on this lovely Monday afternoon:

Stacey is co-Editor-in-Chief of It's About The Money, co-host of the It's About The Money, Stupid podcast and is a monthly contributor to ESPN's SweetSpot Blog. She is a former contributor at Aerys Sports and High Heat Stats. She has contributed to group projects at Baseball: Past And Present and the Hall of Stats. Her work has appeared in USA Today's Sports Weekly and most recently, she wrote four pieces for Derek Jeter: Celebrating the Yankees' Captain Clutch, a magazine printed by i5 Publishing.