Stuck in a north Idaho snowbank with an official high of 29 degrees today, February 23 is the harbinger of warmth and an "anythings possible" new year. I, and those like me, are born again in baseball. Today, live from Peoria, Arizona is the very first spring training broadcast of the annual charity nine innings played by the San Diego Padres and the Seattle Mariners, two clubs long overdue for post season participation. Naturally these two teams are the most near and dear to my heart. The former the product of my calling San Diego home for many years and the latter because of its proximity to my new home in the Pacific Northwest. The Padres last played in a World Series in 1998 and the Mariners have sadly never made it to the Fall Classic. It's easy to root for hard luck clubs like these. They've never had the money or the fan base of the Yankees, Dodgers or Red Sox but they have cool uniforms, beautiful ballparks to call home, and their full quota of colorful characters.
|Freezing outside, but there is baseball in my man cave.|
I love baseball and always sign up for the full boat MLB TV package from Direct TV just to be able to watch WAY too many games that now take too much time and, late in the season, matter little. It's not like I was ever any good at playing the game. I'm fairly certain I went 0 for Little League with my obviously defective bat. (Hey, nobody knew I needed glasses until I was 14!) However, any game without a clock, lots of spitting, pot bellies and bench clearing brawls is my kind of sport.
In a couple of weeks I'll be making a pilgrimage to Peoria to scope out the new collection of Padres and Mariners. Rookies with promise and veterans hoping for career years are more accessible to fans during Cactus League play and I, for one, find the experience both comforting and exciting. The world is spinning in greased grooves as the boys of summer make spring a magic time for those of us certain that "this is the year". My Dad spent most of his life certain in his conviction that the White Sox were destiny's team only to be disappointed nearly every season. My Uncle Louie bore a lifetime of letdown as a Cubs fan. Of course I'm positive that the Padres will fool everybody in 2018. I wonder what the odds are in Vegas?
The grass is green in Arizona and Florida and fans are high on hope. Let's PLAY BALL!