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Cincinnati is known as the birthplace of professional baseball. Although few of us in the city are talented enough to play for our modern team, the arrival of spring does bring with it a baseball substitute for the rest of us. I'm speaking, of course, of recreational softball.

For those who are serious about the sport, there's a spring training regimen as arduous as any the pros go through -- only without the steroid shots. As any athlete will tell you, proper training is critical to assure top performance throughout the entire season. At the risk of letting our opponents steal the secret to our success, here's the protocol we follow to get our team, "One Bad Inning," in peak competitive form:

This very strict training regimen helps us assure that we're ready for whatever the season throws at us. When we win, we celebrate, typically at a local Buffalo Wild Wings. In the unfortunate event that we lose, we still wind up at the bar to drown our sorrows.

The cost-benefit analysis
The benefit: From the first game of the season, we're ready to gulp down blazin' hot wings, chase them down with ice-cold beer, and enjoy ourselves among the noise and controlled chaos of the bar. Whether we win or lose, our diligent preseason preparation helps us make sure we're ready for the all-important team-building that follows each game.

The cost: Like any professional-quality training program, ours doesn't come free. Excluding the hearing aids that result from blasting the music a bit too loud, our out-of-pocket expenses run as high as $15 per person, per week -- sometimes more if we splurge for 5-ways. And unfortunately, our team's rookies often find they've added an inch or two to their waistlines by the time the season gets into full swing.

All told, our training regimen is a small price to pay to make sure we're in peak form and operating as a single, cohesive team, both on the field and after the games.

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At the time of publication, Fool contributor Chuck Saletta did not own shares of any company mentioned in this article, though he thinks he may have some Skyline Chili in his freezer. Buffalo Wild Wings is a Motley Fool Hidden Gems selection, and The Motley Fool owns shares of the company. The Fool's disclosure policy knows CPR and is not afraid to use it.