When spring really begins

People have different triggers,
especially when it comes to realizing that spring is upon us or at least near.
For some, it’s the first crocus or maybe it’s Ground Hogs’ Day. (Is that the
only thing people have to look forward to in Punxatawny?)

For others, mid February is the
time to start thinking spring and it has nothing to do with chocolate, roses or
Valentine’s Day. Rather, it has everything to do to with wood, leather and
horsehide. It’s spring training for the upcoming baseball season.

It doesn’t matter which team
one roots for or even what league or level of play. The love of Little League
and high school action can be just as important as the big leagues. And it all
starts with pitchers and catcher reporting to camp. It’s like getting to first
base.

The first few images from
Clearwater, Fla., where the Phillies train, can bring a rush of emotion. Last
year Phillies’ fans were giddy with the reacquisition of pitcher Cliff Lee.
This year we recall the playoff game he blew or we remember the image of Ryan
Howard falling to the ground with a ruptured Achilles tendon to end the team’s
World Series bid.

But spring is a rebirth of life
and so is spring training. That failure was last year and hope springs eternal.
This is a new season.

A week after pitchers and
catchers report to camp, the rest of the squad shows up. Now we have runners on
first and second.

There are people who don’t like
baseball. It doesn’t matter why. Many think the game is boring. They just don’t
get the game. True, it’s not as ballet-like as basketball, or not as
hard-hitting as hockey or football. And there are many times when a baseball
game does seem to drag. But for a long time, baseball was the great American
pastime.

A week after the position
players arrive at camp, the preseason games start. Bases loaded.

There is optimism when the
other sports begin their preseason workouts, but there’s something different
about baseball. Maybe it’s because the major part of the baseball season is
played in nicer weather, the warmth of spring, summer and, if the team does
well enough to get into postseason play, early autumn. We can listen to games
while at the beach or having a backyard barbecue.

And Phillies fans have had it
good the last few years. The team has won the National League East Division
five years running and there’s no reason not to think they can’t do it again
this year. Perhaps that’s merely the optimism of spring or perhaps it’s faith
in the best starting pitching rotation in the majors.

Once those preseason games are
done, the real season starts and the team comes home. That’s what you’re
supposed to do in baseball.

About CFLive Staff

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Comments

comments

One Response to “When spring really begins”

  1. DeVries says:

    Rich: Take two, and hit to left!!

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