Sure, the vernal equinox doesn’t happen until March 20th. But Spring’s already here. Every baseball fan knows that. Pitchers and catchers have been on duty for a week and a half, and the position players followed a few days later. With Spring Training comes Spring. To heck with the intersection of the celestial equator and the ecliptic.
There’s a splendid simplicity in baseball’s Spring Training. Most managers are happy. Most players are healthy. Every fan of every team exists in Best Case Scenario Mode. Yankees fans think LaTroy Hawkins is the answer in the bullpen. San Francisco Giants fans are adapting to a season without the distractions of Barry Bonds. Pittsburgh Pirates fans hope that is also a five tool outfielder. Spring Training is all about potential, and that’s why I love it so much.
In some ways, I enjoy Spring Training as much as the regular season. There’s no pressure in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. Not for the fans, anyway; the rapidly aging career minor leaguers trying for a roster spot may be a different story. Instead of fans obsessively pouring over live fantasy baseball feeds and lamenting over every loss, they talk confidently of the months ahead. I love that. There isn’t the every day grind of following the sport yet. This is the season where the sun stays out a few minutes later every day and you can catch up on all the baseball news of the past 24 hours in about five minutes.
In exactly one month, the regular season will kick off when the Boston Red Sox and Oakland A’s play a two game series at the Tokyo Dome. Between now and then, relax, hope and watch some good clean baseball.