A fan's guide to leaving football behind and preparing for the upcoming baseball season.

Well, football season is officially over. I, along with millions of fans around the world watched the Seattle Seahawks surprise the football world by completely wrecking the Denver Broncos in the Super Bowl. As a lifelong Broncos fan, I've grown used to Super Bowl disappointment, with only two shining moments at the end of the 1990s to subdue my misery. Time to turn the page and return to my first love, the game of baseball. 

If you are like me, and are counting down the hours and minutes until your favorite team's pitchers and catcher report for spring training, here is a checklist of things you can do to ensure that once Opening Day arrives, you are ready to root your team on to a pennant or better yet, a World Series championship.

Baseball season starts at the end of January for me. If you are like me, and can't get enough baseball, Topps' 2014 Baseball Card Series 1 set came out this past Wednesday, January 29th. Go pick yourself up a few packs or a hobby box. Rip through each pack and enjoy today's stars, along with a walk down memory lane with insert cards from yesterday's legends as well.

If your favorite team made a big splash in the free agent market this winter like mine did (the Yankees), go ahead and pre-order your newest acquisition's replica jersey, or some variation of, such as a t-shirt jersey, a batting practice jersey, etc.

Depending on your viewing schedule and location, begin reviewing the most affordable way to view or listen to your favorite team's games throughout the season. If you enjoy television, you have a couple of choices: the MLB Extra Innings package, which in my opinion is way too overpriced for most fans, a cheaper option is to subscribe to MLB.TV. You can watch games streamed live through your Playstation, X Box, on your laptop, Ipad or PC. You can even watch games on your smartphone. In a pinch, you can also listen to live radio broadcasts from either the home or road radio teams on your phone or computer as well.

If you are like me, and live far away from your favorite team, but close enough to a Major League park to go see some live action, check the schedules now to see if and when your team might be coming to town. Order your tickets early!

Sign up for a fantasy baseball league. It's the Dungeons and Dragons of sports for ex-jocks and wannabes. Playing fantasy baseball helps you learn about players on other teams as well as the value of players on your favorite team.

If you won't or can't find your way to a big league stadium during the regular season, take a long weekend and go watch some spring training baseball. Tickets are super cheap, and it's a great way to see players up close and personal. This is also a super way for kids to meet their heroes and to get items signed.

Last but not least, if you sleep, eat, breath, and dream of baseball like I do, you have two options to get you ready for baseball season. The first is to pick up the latest version of MLB: The Show video game for your favorite console. The other, is to purchase and download a true baseball video game classic: the return of RBI Baseball gives fans from the original gaming days a chance to play one of their all-time favorites with today's modern players.

So there you have it. These are all enjoyable activities that won't break the bank, and will get you primed for the upcoming baseball season!

Billy is the Senior Baseball Writer and Vice President of Operations for MLB Insiders. He is also a co-editor of Yanks Go Yard, and has his own blog: WestCoastYankees-The Blog. You can follow him on Twitter @Billy_Brost.  

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