“I love playing this game and every spring training feels like the first.”, said Rickey Henderson. ‘People who write about spring training not being necessary have never tried to throw a baseball.’ stated Sandy Koufax. Harry Carey, the great announcer for the Cardinals, the A’s, the White Sox and the Cubs gave us a fans perspective. ‘It’s the fans that need spring training. You gotta get ’em interested. Wake ’em up and let ’em know that their season is coming, the good times are gonna roll.’
Everyone has a different view of how spring training is part of the most wonderful times in our lives. Spring training is all about hope. Today, it is in the 70’s in Arizona and Florida. The air is beginning to warm up. No clouds in the high, blue sky. With very little wind, it is a great spring day. For those in Milwaukee, Chicago, Detroit, Minneapolis, St. Louis, Pittsburgh, Cleveland and Cincinnati, its a different story. And it it that which makes spring training the first ray of hope of the coming year.
Down on the 101 in Scottsdale, the sound of bats hitting balls, balls slamming into gloves is loud and clear. At Camelback Ranch, the same sounds are beginning to be heard. Twenty miles apart, the Diamondbacks and the Dodgers begin their training ahead of all the others because they will be playing in the first regular season series of the year…down under in Australia at the end of March while the other big league teams are reaching their peak of spring training.
Steve Earle probably summed it up best when he rambled, ‘I love baseball. I’ll probably be one of this old farts going to spring training and drive from game to game all day.’ It’s that kind of wonderful dream many desire and dream about but few achieve. Chasing that dream to see our heroes in the cathedrals of spring is never ending.
But that is what spring training is all about. It is now the season of hope. Now we know this winter of misery will end. Baseball is back. Our worries are over.