The trucks have made their way down south. The lockers have been packed with care. For many, it feels like a strange combination of Christmas and spring all at the same time. The players have awoken from their long winter slumber to return to their teams with the hope everlasting that this year they will bring home a World Series Trophy.
Sure, the media is everywhere telling us what to expect from teams, and the sabermetricians rank all the teams WARs and tell us projected statistics for the season, but there is something magical about spring training. The noise cancels out. The game slows down. Baseball returns to the sounds of the crack of the bat and the whip of the ball hitting the glove. Fans and players alike return to a state of kid like wonder where dreams run high and you feel as if your team could go 162-0.
While up north we freeze to death from the polar vortex, simple pictures of our favorite ball players in shorts on the grass makes us see the light at the end of the tunnel: spring is coming.
There is nothing in the world like spring training. There are no other sports in the world that pick up their entire franchises and move them thousands of miles away for two months just for nice weather only to move them back. And yet, it feels so natural. It is a part of the ritual that is baseball. Without spring training, we would be hopelessly lost in our baseball calendar and us fans would have no time to plan our fantasy drafts.
So, as spring training begins, I have one piece of advice: let baseball be your peaceful distraction. After spending months trapped inside and grinding through work, take a few moments and check out what’s going on in baseball. Forget the records. Forget the projections. Forget the noise. Reflect on why you fell in love with this game in the first place, because no matter how your team does this year, there is no other game like it.
Welcome back, baseball.