Monday, March 05, 2018

The Joys of Spring Training

The chalk base lines.

The crack of a bat.

The pop of a ball into a mitt.

The high numbers of the prospects who are trying to make a name for themselves.

The alumni, gathered near a field, swapping stories of the old days.

The optimism of each team, even if the deepest, most thorough analytics tell a different story.

The discussion of the building of legacies.  Can Scherzer win a fourth Cy Young Award?  How will Judge and Stanton fare in the same lineup.  Will Crawford, Kingery and Hoskins be this decade's version of Rollins, Utley and Howard for the Phillies?  Is Mike Trout the best outfielder ever?  Who is a lock for the Hall besides Ichiro and Adrian Beltre? 

The hot stove yields to the warm weather of Florida and Arizona.  Rosters for the most part are in place, usually with only a few spots open.  The union and the owners still joust about an issue or too, this year that the game is too slow in the weather that climate change brings.  The younger fans, to the extent they remain interested, get bored quickly.  Can they speed up the game the way they do in the minors?  Joust they have done, and joust they will continue to do.  They probably fight about the Oxford comma in contract negotiations, such is the history.

Families go to spring training to get closer to the players, who are more wont to sign autographs before the games count. 

It's a wonderful thing, this spring training.  A way to slow down time, reminisce about the good times and speculate about the future. 

Have a hot dog, smell the popcorn, eat peanuts and toss the shells wherever you like. 

Just like they used to do it decades ago.

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