Seriously, Pedro knows what’s good in this world.
Check out the guy to the left over there. He’s in a good mood, he’s concentrating, it’s sunny and there may or may not be a palm tree visible behind him. It could also be a light tower. It’s hard to tell.
And why shouldn’t he be in a good mood? It’s practically baseball season. At this point in the career of the player in question (it’s Pedro Martinez, for the record), he had just won the World Series, he was zooming in on his first season as a New York Met, and the horrifying reality of all that would entail hadn’t quite sunk in yet, so for now, life was still pretty great.
Likewise, baseball fans are at their most optimistic in March. The winter is finally behind them, and the thought of sunny skies and green fields and afternoons sitting in the bleachers with a beer and watching nine innings are so close as to be taunting. Everyone, even the most ardent fans of perennial cellar-dwellers can envision wreaking havoc against all odds in June and July, trading for Ervin Santana and making a run in October. Continue reading
Jeffrey Loria (artist’s rendering).
There aren’t many storylines in Spring Training that deviate too far from each other. Most of the time, they fit neatly into one of these categories:
1. Player A in best shape of his life
2. Player B outperforming expectations, may make team.
3. Player C suffers bizarre injury.
4. Team has new manager/general manager/players and is changing club culture.
5. Player D is still without a home.
Looking around, there are probably plenty of players who could fill the first category (I know David Ortiz is looking especially trim these days). It’s a little early for someone to fill the second, Jake Peavy has already given us the third by almost cutting his finger off, a few teams have new managers and overhauled rosters, and Ervin Santana and Stephen Drew are easily the best unemployed baseball players in the world.
And so it goes for Spring Training, which is typically five weeks of watching games in sunny locales with palm trees in the outfield and players with ridiculously high numbers taking the field. Soon it’ll be Opening Day, real games will start and real complaining can begin.
Unless the Miami Marlins are in the equation, that is. Continue reading