After an off season of scandal, on again off again blockbuster trades, gigantic free agent signings, possible Minor League Baseball contraction, and the Mets being the Mets it is time to return to the diamond. Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training, the journey to October begins.
Expectations are high in the Bronx after signing Gerrit Cole. Houston is out to prove they can win without stealing signs, while the rest of baseball is out for revenge. The on again off again trade of Mookie Betts to the Dodgers showed how far Boston has fallen while searching for financial flexibility. The Red Sox continue searching for a permanent manager to replace Alex Cora after he was swept up in the fallout from Houston. Major League Baseball proposed eliminating 42 minor league teams, which immediately angered the communities potentially impacted, baseball fans, and even Congress.
The Mets once again managed to stay in the headlines for all the wrong reasons. Yoenis Cespedes reworked his contract after the revelation that his injury was the result of a run in with a wild boar. The Amazin’s General Manager Brodie Van Wagenen, Cespedes’ former agent, now had to alter the contract he negotiated, but from the other side of the table. Carlos Beltran never made it to his first workout of Spring Training as Mets Manager. His involvement in the Astros scandal followed him to Queens. The Wilpons were unable to sell the Mets because they wanted to continue making team decisions once they no longer wrote the checks.
The Cincinnati Reds are poised to climb out of the cellar and into contention after an active Winter. (Kareem Elgazzar)
Anthony Rendon got paid by leaving Washington, Stephen Strasburg got paid to stay with the Nationals. Zack Wheeler left Queens for Philadelphia for a chance to win and a large paycheck. Madison Bumgarner left the Bay for the desert, while Hyun-Jin Ryu left sunny Southern California and moved north of the border. Josh Donaldson added his name to the slugging Twins lineup, a new age Murderers’ Row. The White Sox and Reds loaded up on free agents, vaulting themselves into contention. Hundreds of other moves happened. Time will tell which moves helped teams, and which teams will come to regret.
Baseball lost the legendary writer Roger Kahn. Few, if any, possess his ability to write about the game. He was baseball’s writer. His ability to put the passion and beauty of the game into print will be missed.
It was an odd and harrowing off season, but now Pitchers and Catchers are reporting to Spring Training. The world is a little more perfect because we are getting back to baseball.
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.
Pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training is without a doubt the most exciting time on the sports calendar where absolutely nothing happens. Literally it is a group of men reporting to the first day of work. They just show up and nothing, publicly, happens. There are no games, no monumental moments, just people walking in the door. Usually the free agents have been signed and introduced to the team and public, the draft picks have been around for almost a full year, nothing special is going on. Pitchers and catchers reporting is the most anticlimactic moment possible in sports, and yet baseball fans mark it down on their calendars every year.
We’re here. Now what do you want us to do? (www.dodgersphotog.mlblogs.com)
It is not what is happening, rather it is what could happen. This could be the first step teams take towards winning the World Series. This is the day baseball tells the world that summer and warm weather are coming soon. Players know this is when all their off-season work will begin to show. Umpires too. Fans know the sounds of baseball will soon return to their lives. The crack of the bat, the pop of the glove, the roar of the crowd, the static on the radio. The smells of baseball will return too. The fresh cut grass, hot dogs, beer, the smell of your glove. Every day until Halloween you can escape for a few hours and lose yourself in the game. Pitchers and catchers reporting to Spring Training is anticlimactic, however what will follow is not.
Valentine’s Day is less than two weeks away. Time to start planning those romantic dinners, flowers, and cards. Oh also remember your glove and bat. Half of Major League teams have Valentine’s Day as the official report date for their pitchers and catchers. February 15th will see 13 other teams report on February 15th. The Dodgers and Nationals are the last two teams to require their pitchers and catchers to report to Spring Training, their report date is February 16th. The path to the World Series begins with the most anticlimactic event in sports. There is nothing to see when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training, it is simply players showing up to the facility. Baseball usually ends with a bang in the World Series, but it begins with a bit of a whimper. Players playing catch, running, fielding, laughing, and smiling. It is a scene that every player at every level, no matter their ability, can duplicate.
Happy Valentine’s Day, Love John McClane (Twentieth Century Fox)
Love is in the air on Valentine’s Day this year. The warm sunshine, the green grass, and the sound of baseballs popping the catcher’s mitt. Hearts and candy are nice, but the sights and sounds of baseball are the most beautiful of all. This year for Valentine’s Day I will celebrate the beginning of baseball without actually seeing anything occur on the field. My heart will just know that the season is beginning. Personally, I will enjoy my traditional Valentine’s Day dinner with my fiancée by eating hamburgers and watching Die Hard. Love is in the air, and it is less than two weeks away.
Pitchers and Catchers begin reporting today. Unless you are at Spring Training there is still no Major League Baseball to watch, but baseball is beginning. The day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training is anticlimactic, yet still exciting. This day is circled on many calendars, yet when the day arrives, there is nothing to see or report. Baseball is waking up from the winter. Soon there will be Spring Training games. While these games are just exhibition, it is wonderful to have baseball to watch again. It may still be the middle of February, but the warm sunshine and the green grass are back. The cold of winter will begin giving away to the warmth of spring and the heat of summer. It might not seem like it, but baseball is officially back as of today. The road to October starts now.
What a beautiful sight. (www.m.mlb.com)
Happy Pitchers and Catchers Day everyone.
Pitchers and catchers have now reported to Spring Training for every Major League team. Arguably it is one of the least exciting moments in baseball, because unless you are at Spring Training you do not see anything change. However, the magic of pitchers and catchers reporting is the anticipation of what will and could happen during the upcoming season. Much in the same way the anticipation builds when a runner is in scoring position late in a tight game; the off-season has given the pitcher the sign. Pitchers and catchers reporting is the moment when the pitcher comes set, but before coming to the plate. At that moment, there is a litany of possibilities. The rest of the team reporting to Spring Training is the pitcher holding the ball and more tension building. Everyone waits for the pitcher to come to the plate. However, there are a few more weeks before the first Spring Training games begin and the pitcher comes to the plate. The pitch seems to last an instant and an eternity all at the same time. The regular season is that split second and eternity when the ball is hurtling towards home and the batter swings. Fastball! NO, changeup! The batter adjusts and swings. Fans and players alike do not know what will happens when the ball gets to the plate. Collectively, we all hold our breath and pray our team was able to make the necessary adjustments and come October send that pitch deep into the night.
Cheer up baseball fans. The beginning of baseball in 2015 is nearly here. Just over 6 weeks left until pitchers and catchers begin to report to Spring Training. Thanks to our friends at sbnation.com we now have a complete list of when each and every team will report to Spring Training. February 19th is the magical date for the Cincinnati Reds, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, and San Francisco Giants. The fans who have the longest wait are Minnesota Twins, Tampa Bay Rays, and Toronto Blue Jays have to wait until February 23rd before their team reports. Below is the full list for every team. Enjoy baseball fans.
|Club||Pitchers & Catchers||Full Squad|
|Baltimore Orioles||Feb. 20||Feb. 25|
|Boston Red Sox||Feb. 21||Feb. 25|
|Chicago White Sox||Feb. 20||Feb. 24|
|Cleveland Indians||Feb. 20||Feb. 24|
|Detroit Tigers||Feb. 20||Feb. 24|
|Houston Astros||Feb. 21||Feb. 25|
|Kansas City Royals||Feb. 20||Feb. 25|
|Los Angeles Angels||Feb. 20||Feb. 25|
|Minnesota Twins||Feb. 23||Feb. 28|
|New York Yankees||Feb. 21||Feb. 26|
|Oakland Athletics||Feb. 20||Feb. 25|
|Seattle Mariners||Feb. 21||Feb. 25|
|Tampa Bay Rays||Feb. 23||Feb. 28|
|Texas Rangers||Feb. 21||Feb. 26|
|Toronto Blue Jays||Feb. 23||Feb. 27|
|Club||Pitchers & Catchers||Full Squad|
|Arizona Diamondbacks||Feb. 20||Feb. 25|
|Atlanta Braves||Feb. 21||Feb. 26|
|Chicago Cubs||Feb. 20||Feb. 25|
|Cincinnati Reds||Feb. 19||Feb. 24|
|Colorado Rockies||Feb. 21||Feb. 27|
|Los Angeles Dodgers||Feb. 20||Feb. 26|
|Miami Marlins||Feb. 20||Feb. 24|
|Milwaukee Brewers||Feb. 22||Feb. 26|
|New York Mets||Feb. 21||Feb. 26|
|Philadelphia Phillies||Feb. 19||Feb. 24|
|Pittsburgh Pirates||Feb. 19||Feb. 24|
|St. Louis Cardinals||Feb. 20||Feb. 25|
|San Diego Padres||Feb. 20||Feb. 25|
|San Francisco Giants||Feb. 19||Feb. 24|
|Washington Nationals||Feb. 21||Feb. 26|