Maybe it’s me, but it feels as if spring training has been going on since New Year’s. It’s probably because of the World Baseball Classic. But it may also be because winter refuses to end, as well.
Check out the forecast. Some stupidly named storm is percolating in the Plains States, on its way through Chicago, with a detour to Minnesota and Wisconsin, headed across Upstate New York and on to New England. I’d rather be watching David Ortiz taking some cuts, but he’s hobbling around and instead we get frequent glimpses of Mr. Weather Jim Cantore. If the weather is horrible anywhere in the United States, Jim is there. No doubt he is Most Valuable Weather Man. Cantore may be tilting sideways into a hurricane breeze, grimacing as the flakes whip his face in a blizzard, or treading water in a flood. I hope the Weather Channel foots the bill for his clothes anyway.
If we wanted to start the season with real live games now we couldn’t even do it because the weather is so crappy in most of the country they would all be called off. Duh, that’s why they hold spring training in Arizona and Florida, just about the only two safe places in the nation that won’t be battered by Winter Storm Harrison or Winter Storm Yogi.
Basically spring training is supposed to help the psyche of fans preparing for the season, but it feels as if spring training is kind of stuck in quicksand or something and I’m not sure why. We’re supposed to get jealous of all the sunshine and the boys running around in short-sleeved shirts. (You won’t catch Jim Cantore in Arizona unless he was switching planes there and mechanical failure grounded his plane. Cantore is not allowed to go swimming unless a giant wave on the shore of the Pacific hits him in the head).
To me it just seems spring training has been a downer. Every time there’s a news flash somebody is getting hurt badly enough to sit out for weeks, especially if they own a uniform that has NY on it. But then there was Chris Carpenter, Ortiz, and others who not draw payroll checks from the Yankees. Going back to before workouts even started there was the Miami anti-aging clinic thing that is going to have reprecussions, and the Hall of Fame vote with nobody getting elected.
Teams were also really slow to throw their starters out on the field. I don’t know what they charge for spring training exhibition game tickets these days, but after teams blackmailed numerous cities into building them new facilities under the threat of departing for another city which would build them a new facility, the fans get rewarded when they show up to watch by seeing a bunch of strangers wearing numbers like 67 and 86 who are headed for AA ball or maybe even the Frontier League.
Throw in the repeat U.S. World Baseball Classic blah showing and it just seems the entire last few months have been flat for the sport.
I am definitely ready for Opening Day and the Real Thing. I know I’ll perk up then. Counting the days.