With the coming and going of the Super Bowl every year, the winter gives way to a whole new mentality. Although the cold weather will linger for a little while longer, I can not help but feel that, as the last scrapes of confetti are being removed from the gridiron, that our Summer Pastime has arrived.
Spring Training is just around the corner. Pitchers and catchers report in a week. Just one week. Enough time to go over the roster, see the new names, new faces, become acclimated anew to those that are returning. The next couple of weeks is always a ponderous time for me; mock rotations, mock lineups, feeble projections that represent little of reality. But that is what this time is about. In Spring Training, every team has a chance. This time next month, we’ll be wide-eyed over the next Max Ramirez tearing up Cactus League pitching, fawning over the possible emergence of Luke Hochevar, and wondering whether Johnny Giavotella’s performance has or has not made him the Opening Day starter at second.
For now, for right now, every player is an All-Star, every invitee a steal, every long-reliever an ace, and Jeff Francoeur hasn’t struck out in months. The grass is as green as it can possibly be here in the long, cold shadow of February. The warmth of the midsummer sun cascades in our memory, insulating us against the biting wind the weeks hold between now and Opening Day. It is the return of the box score, the recap, and the video highlight. I, for one, can not wait to hear that simple refrain echoing across baseball diamonds, down alleys and into the atmosphere above. Words marking so well the game we love to follow. It is that time, ladies and gentlemen.
–Follow me on Twitter @JoshuaKWard.