The World Series is a time of finality for baseball. The advertising, fanfare, and big-game ticket prices become a herald to the final celebration of the over 2000 games played over the last seven months. As baseball prepares for its winter slumber, it also presents an interesting challenge to sports writers: How do you report news on what is, ostensibly, a hibernation? Spring training is months away. Big-name trades will be few and far-between. The fantasy baseball draft reports won't even be out until after the new year. One would not be surprised to see an article in a local paper to the effect of "The outfield grass was mowed down to 3 inches in length today. How will this impact the team going forward?"
By far, the most common reads at this time of year are, somewhat ironically, the most diverse. The "year in review" pieces sit like a golden apple on a pedestal. Your team did not make it to the big dance. Don't you want to know what went wrong? Don't you want to know who to point the finger at? Don't you want to know who to heckle at opening day next year? Read the year in review! It will tell you everything you need to know about why your team sucks and why it might not suck next year!
Who's to blame? Was it that big money free agent that didn't produce? Was it the young player who got injured? Was it the head coach? Batting coach? Pitching coach? Craig T. Nelson on "Coach"? Was it the bullpen? Was it the starters? Was it Dino the hot dog vendor in section 403? Was it the barback that couldn't change the keg quickly enough? Was it the teens that bought nosebleed seats and snuck down to the field level? Where do we direct our outrage for this miscarriage of justice! After all, last season at this time, all of the year-end articles told us to be optimistic because they'd found the problem.
Reviews can be great. They identify problems big and small as seen from the outside. From the top-paid baseball analysts to the fan with 140 characters on twitter, everyone points out where they see issues. However, they should also be taken with a grain of salt. It's easy to generalize, and point out a problem, but it's not so easy to fix that problem. Anyone can recognize a car that doesn't start, but fewer people possess the capabilities to fix it. Read up on your team in the offseason. Read every bit you can get your hands on. There is nothing wrong with education after all, but consider the source. The analyst's office and the skipper's office are far apart for a good reason (much to the chagrin of analysts everywhere).