Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Pitchers and Catchers

We have another bad weather stretch here in the Big Apple, as the winter of 2010-2011 has turned into one for the record books.  The worst on record?  Maybe.  Certainly if you believe all of the hype.  It's definitely one that I think we'll all remember.

So just a moment ago, I posted this status on Facebook: "I look outside and think to myself: 13 days until pitchers and catchers!"

It's so true, and yet, the date is purely symbolic.  Let's think about it: all fall and winter long, those of us who love baseball look forward to that mythical moment when those first players report to Spring Training.  Yet, they just kind of drive in and begin to loosen up.  Some have been doing that for weeks already.  Derek Jeter is among those already in Florida (and based on what I've seen, he's hanging at his MEGA mansion in Tampa, so it's not like he has a long commute).

What I'm saying is - it's nice, but it's almost like Groundhog Day (coincidentally tomorrow).  Poke your head out, and it's still six weeks or so until first pitch of the regular season.

Don't get me wrong.  I'll take whatever images I can find of the boys of summer whirling the arms around and playing catch.  I'll take a few exhibition game broadcasts featuring one at-bat by the starters and the rest of the game of names you'll never hear again (I'm exaggerating, of course).  It's all nice, definitely.  Yet until 1:00 on March 31st, at Yankee Stadium against the Tigers, it means zero.  Nada.

Pitchers and catchers reporting is a sign that warmer weather is on the way, but we have oh-so-far to go.

Thus Opening Day remains my official start of the year and, arguably, my favorite day of the year.

(I Googled "Yankees Spring Training" and that picture came up.  That works.)

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