NEW YORK — Like lots of Americans, I was delighted to find that the national pastime will, as scheduled, continue into October, with its subdivisional wild card playoffs and its post-pre-World Series sudden death interleague best-of-seven classics. Or something like that. I have to confess that since the latest round of expansions, I get confused occasionally.
I have to say, though, that there was a small, cheap, mean part of me that was rooting for a strike. This is not, as one might imagine, because I have it in for the game, for its players, for its fans, for the owners, or even for its mascots. (OK, maybe a little for the mascots. It's those big googly eyes.) No, the voice in my head is saying to the players: "Really! You don't make enough! Show those owners who's in charge! Who needs a World Series? Championship rings make your fingers look fat!"
You see, I spent a good bit of time planning what I was going to do with the time I would save by not watching the playoffs and the World Series - without feeling guilty for a minute, since, after all, it wasn't my fault that they went on strike. But now, all those plans must fall by the wayside, as I settle in with a large bucket of takeout and the remote control.
Here are a few of the things I was going to do, and now will have to wait until the next labor stoppage by a major American sport:
1. Go outside.
2. Turn to something they call "the History Channel." It's history - but it's on television! Who would have thought?
3. Figure out what that thing is in the back of the refrigerator I've been afraid to touch.
4. Try to find out enough about the world of international soccer to say more than, "Brazil. They're good, right?"
5. Learn to play loud instrument for express purpose of annoying neighbors.
6. Set up digital camera to record thing at back of refrigerator to make sure that it is not moving.
7. Write back pen pal (it's been 17 years; I'm pretty sure he's ready to hear how seventh grade went).
8. Take cooking skills to next level: put food item into the boiling water.
9. Find numbers of poison control and emergency response team. Put them on notice re: refrigerator thing.
10. Gregory Hines film festival!
11. Create virtual candidate for local elections. Run him on "All fondue, all the time" ticket.
12. Gilligan's Island, Gilligan's Island, Gilligan's Island.
13. Practice magic tricks to divert refrigerator thing when it makes its move.
14. Prank call myself on mobile phone and pretend to be surprised.
15. Write Great American Novel. If too difficult, write Great Swedish Novel instead.
So you can see how productive I was going to be. Now, I'm just going to have to content myself with the crack of the bat, the roar of the crowd, the smell of the greasepaint - no, wait, that's not right, but you know what I mean.
Now if you'll excuse me, there's banging coming from the refrigerator and I have to go get my hat and rabbit.
Jeremy Dauber teaches Yiddish Literature at Columbia University. He is also a playwright, theater director, and screenwriter. He is currently at work on his first novel.