February is not the most thrilling month of the year. It is cold, dark, and miserable. The only real excitement in February is the return of baseball. Pitchers and catchers report, full squad team workouts, and Spring Training games. Most of the country remains covered in cold weather and snow. However the end of the long, cold winter appears on the horizon. Winter’s grip remains, but it will not last much longer. This glimmer of hope makes the sad days of winter a little less difficult.
Baseball fans have long had the pitchers and catchers report date for their favorite team marked on their calendars. It is the most anticlimactic event in baseball, as there is nothing to see unless you are at the team facility. The same applies to the first full squad workout. You might see a video of players playing catch, nothing you could not replicate in your backyard. The beginning of Spring Training is about the building excitement than actual action.
The sun is shining, time for baseball. (www.nj.com)
Mark your calendars these exciting, non-events, begin February 11th as pitchers and catchers report for the Oakland Athletics. They conclude on February 16th as the Atlanta Braves are the last team to have their pitchers and catchers report.
The actual fun begins a few days later. Spring Training games begin on February 21st when the Seattle Mariners visit the Oakland Athletics in Mesa, Arizona to open up the Cactus League. The next day, February 22nd, the Grapefruit League begins in Port Charlotte, Florida as the Tampa Bays Rays host the Philadelphia Phillies. The Grapefruit League Opening Day will also feature the defending World Series Champions, Boston Red Sox, beginning their 2019 campaign by hosting the Northeastern University Huskies in Fort Myers. The third game of the day had the Detroit Tigers hosting the Southeastern University Fire in Lakeland.
The Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues help shape the regular season. Spring Training is short, and the regular season is fast approaching. Baseball is a train leaving the station. It slowly builds up speed as it races towards October. Climb aboard, it will be a fun ride.
Spring Training is officially under way. We are inching closer and closer to actual games. While Spring Training does not necessarily tell you whether or not your favorite team is going to be a surprise contender or a massive disappointment, it does mean it is time to find your glove. Before too much longer we will all be sitting in the stands tanning under the hot summer sun, engulfed in the sights and sounds that is professional baseball. Spring Training games do not have your favorite players in the line up for very long. I personally prefer if I do not recognize anyone because it means the line up is set and they are getting a good look at who is going to be the 25th player and who goes to AAA and who goes to AA. Baseball is almost here. Hang on just a little longer. The Cactus League and the Grapefruit League will bring back the boys of summer as they prepare for another year of amazing catches, beautiful swings, brilliant pitching, in your face arguments, hilarious bloopers, and enough memories to last a life time. Spring Training is back and life is about to get so much better.
You can find your favorite team from the Cactus League here and from the Grapefruit League here. Lets get this season going. It has been an extremely long winter, and I for one and tired of the snow and ice and am ready for the sun, the fresh-cut grass, the crack of the bat, and the pop of the glove. Baseball is back and life is good.
Today is the day. Spring Training games start today. Get excited! The Atlanta Braves take on the Detroit Tigers in the Grapefruit League opener and the Cincinnati Reds will face the Cleveland Indians in the first Cactus League game. PLAY BALL!
As the mid-January chill sets in for much of the country, a certain dread comes over many sports fans. Professional football is winding down, and unless you are a fan of one of the teams heading to the Super Bowl it is unlikely you are being consumed with the hype before the game. College football is over. Hockey has just begun, so only the true diehard fans have really tuned into the games. Professional basketball is closing in on the midseason mark, but again only the diehard fans are tuning in with regularity. College basketball has not started its tournament season. These can be some long, dark days for sports fans.
Don’t despair; there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon. That hope is baseball, glorious baseball. The American pastime is beginning to awaken from its winter slumber and return to the diamond.
The quest for the 2013 World Series begins on February 10th with pitchers and catchers of the Chicago Cubs, Cleveland Indians, and Boston Red Sox reporting to their Spring Training facilities. All Major League teams will have their pitchers and catchers at Spring Training by February 12th. Position players will begin reporting on February 13th for the Red Sox and Indians. Position players for the remaining teams will report by the 17th. Just hang on a little longer; Spring Training games are so close.
The first Spring Training game is on February 21st at 1:35 pm ET (for those of you who can’t wait an extra second) as the Red Sox will face the Northeastern University Huskies in Fort Myers. The next day is when Spring Training games begin in earnest in both the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues. The Grapefruit League will kick off the Spring Training action in Florida as the Atlanta Braves host defending American League Champion Detroit Tigers at Disney World. The Cactus League will kick off Spring Training in Arizona with a tripleheader as the Cincinnati Red visit the Cleveland Indians, the Seattle Mariners host the San Diego Padres, and the Texas Rangers host the Kansas City Royals.
Hold on just a little longer baseball fans, spring is just around the corner. The weather outside might be cold and gloomy but the sunshine and warm of spring and summer are not that far off. The return of baseball marks the beginning of the end for Old Man Winter.