Mechanicsville, VA – Today marks the real start of spring for us baseball fans, not the artificial one that in marked by the spring solstice and listed on our “no longer free” calenders. No, it is not March 21st but the day when the first official game of what is known as Spring Training.
The day that all who’s team did not win the World Series title in October have been anxiously waiting for since the last out. The start of do-overs. When rookies and prospects vie for a chance to make it to the promised land of green fields and wily old veterans try to hang on for one more season of glory.
Spring training games mean zip in the broad scheme of things and the win-loss record means little in reality – but don’t tell that to the trolls who will jump on every opportunity to somehow diminish or inflate the importance of the final numbers. Sadly, the real truth is the baseball owners have figured yet another way to extract another bit of coin from our pockets for the privileged of watching a lot of guys get ready for the real season.
Still, it is important to keep score, why else would we play? I am also pretty sure it will be important for some of these kids to have a opportunity to brag to their grand kids they hit a three run homer off the likes of Roy Halliday or Tim Hudson, even if was at a time when neither was working on anything but locating a fastball over the plate.
No matter, it is spring and all hope is renewed. Every team – well except maybe the Pirates and the Indians – have a chance. Come on, it can happen! Just ask the ’91 Braves. Did anyone pick them to finish out of the cellar in the NL West that season?
So spring begins today. For Braves fans it will be against the suddenly cash strapped Mets in Port St. Lucie. The line up will bear little resemblance to the one that will take the field against the Washington Nationals on March 31st, but who cares?!
It will be the first opportunity for us to get a sense of how far Jordan Schafer has come from the brink of being a footnote in Braves lore. The first glimpse of Nate McLouth and his new found resolve to once again be a major league center fielder. To answer questions about Jair and his attempt to return to form that had so many Braves fan giddy with anticipation.
So come on fans… Spring has finally sprung, time for renewed hope, almost real baseball and evaluation of the next crop of seedlings called prospects.