New Hope for Baseball Fans Everywhere
“Just when I begin to think life is totally meaningless, baseball starts again.” This opinion, taken from a Far Side comic, relates to many fans’ sentiments about the game they love. The best feeling in any baseball fan’s heart is knowing that pitchers and catchers have reported to spring training. The long, harsh winter is officially over when the “boys of summer” report to camp to start a new season of America’s original pastime.
Each spring, a renewed hope floods the cities of teams who fell short of the title in the previous year, making optimism commonplace in Seattle, Kansas City, and Miami. By October, it is almost impossible to find. The feeling that all teams have an equal chance gives each team the hope they have what it takes to win it all, even if in past years they have failed to make even the playoffs.
Spring training is a time of rebirth; players are healthy and recovered from injuries sustained last season. Players long forgotten, such as Manny Ramirez and Andy Pettite, return to the scene, hoping to make one last impression on the game that they have loved their entire life.
The game which we know and love of baseball has changed quite a bit since the Cardinals won the World Series in 2011, adding an extra wild card spot for the playoffs and new free agent signings. Many critics and fans are excited about the addition of wild card teams because it will bring more competition to the playoffs and enable small market teams to compete on the big stage. “It’s a great way to include more baseball, and give teams hope for a chance to win it all. I’m a Nationals fan and it’s really awesome to know there is a chance to still make the playoffs, even if the Phillies clinch the National League East again this year,” said freshman Jeff Constantz.
After winning his second World Series ring last year, Albert Pujols let the money talk, walking away from the team that gave him his shot in the show. He recently signed with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim for a tune of $254 million. While Pujols was out making the big money, Miami was out spending it. A revamped Miami Marlins will open with a new stadium, famed Chicago White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, and former Mets shortstop Jose Reyes. Along with their brand new stadium in the heart of Miami, the Marlins created an all new look with a new logo and jersey, hoping to bring a string of championships.
Two leagues comprise spring training- the Cactus League in Arizona, and the Grapefruit League in Florida. Teams from the West travel to Arizona, while teams from the East go to Florida. While the games do not count officially, it is a great chance to see match-ups not normally seen in the regular season, like the Yankees matched up against the Phillies or Angels versus the Dodgers.
With the regular season rapidly approaching, teams have to decide what players they will keep, which will be sent down to the Minor League, or released all together. While spring training is a vacation for fans, players must work hard to make final roster spots. Spring training is a beacon of light for teams, fans, and owners, and a time to be optimistic about the fast approaching season.