Finally, it has arrived.
106 times the sun has risen without shining on a major league field primed for action.
It was just before midnight on October 28th when Sergio Romo caught Miguel Cabrera staring at a strike-three fastball to clinch the World Series Championship for the San Francisco Giants. As the sun rose today, pitchers and catchers for several big league clubs reported to their respective Spring Training camps, marking the beginning of a new baseball season.
Slates have been wiped clean. Records have been reset. Rosters have been retooled and reloaded. Excitement prevails for all of MLB’s 30 franchises, because on this day – and throughout the spring season – there is hope.
Hope powers the minds of the front office populous as they pour over names, statistics and possibilities – a hope that their winter decisions will prove to have been the right ones, and that their legacies will be lasting.
Hope inspires the hearts of fans who flock to Florida and Arizona to catch glimpses of the new edition of their favorite teams – a hope that theirs can become this year’s version of last year’s San Francisco Giants.
Hope motivates the souls of players as they take to the practice field to prepare for another 162-game grind – a hope for validation for they lifetimes they’ve spent perfecting the way they play a simple backyard game.
No offense to Chris Kringle, but for dirt dogs like myself, this is the most wonderful time of the year. It’s when cold disappointment of fall is melted away by the renewed optimism of a fresh start. It’s when when we all believe ours will be the rookies that boast a breakout season. That ours will be the players who rise to superstardom. That ours will be the veterans who’s leadership carries the days and nights leading into a new fall.
The first spring training games are set to begin in just 10 days. The regular season’s March 31st opener is just around the corner. And this year, we have the World Baseball Classic sandwiched in between.
There is so much baseball on the spring schedule. So much to watch for. But most importantly, so much to hope for.