by Matt Eurich

The weather is getting cooler, the leaves are turning colors, and football season is in full swing, unfortunately though, that can only mean one thing; baseball season is all but over.

When a team like the Cubs have struggled all season long, for many fans the fall has become a welcomed sight. No longer are day games and blowouts the only sports options to watch on TV. Saturdays bring a bevy of college football games and Sundays are filled football pregame shows, the early games, postgame shows, the late afternoon games, more postgame shows, a Sunday night football game, and to top it off, Mondays are spent completely dissecting what happened over the weekend as well as hyping up the Monday Night Football matchup.

It is easy this time of year to stray away from our love of baseball because of the daily force feeding of the NFL and college football. We become less and less likely to watch the highlights of a Cubs vs. Reds game in favor of watching a show that will tell us how to improve our fantasy football chances for the week.

Before we give up completely and turn our focus to other sports, remember that baseball will not return until next April. Sure, we’ll have the tease of pitchers and catchers reporting in February and Spring Training beginning in March, but nearly six month will go by without the chance to watch a game on TV or inside the friendly confines. If you consider just how cold it can be in April and early May, it may be close to eight months until it is pleasant enough to sit in the stands without freezing.

Nine of the 15 remaining games for the Cubs this season are at home, with plenty of tickets still available for matchups with the Reds and Cardinals this week as well as for the final series of the year against the Astros during the first week of October. This time of year boasts some of the best weather for an afternoon baseball game and night games give you the opportunity to bundle up in your favorite Cubs jacket or hoodie.

In a 162-game season it is easy to stray away from a team that is playing poorly. Players like Starlin Castro, Anthony Rizzo, and Jeff Samardzija have given us hope for the future and reasons to keep watching but ultimately we all stray.

In these final 15 games, make a point to check-in and catch a little more of the game than you normally do. Marvel at the beauty of a clear blue sky during an afternoon game as it paints the perfect backdrop to one of the games most beautiful stadiums. Embrace Cubs culture and sing a long with the seventh inning stretch and try to make it to Wrigley Field for one last glimpse of the 2012 season, because before you know it, we will all be counting down the days until that Spring Training opener in March.

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