It will be near 80 degrees at noon today in the Valley of the Sun. In Fort Myers it will reach 77 degrees under sunny skies. Spring is back and changes are in the air.
As pitchers and catchers and others report to spring training camps in Florida and Arizona, there are changes everywhere. Over in the American League, in Tampa, the Yankees will have a new starting pitcher who prefers to lease a jumbo jet to fly in from his home; a new center fielder and a new catcher. In downtown Fort Myers, the World Champions have a new catcher, center fielder and a new shortstop. The Rays still have one of the best pitchers in baseball and have held their playoff team solid. The Orioles really didn’t add anyone and may start the season without Manny Machado. Toronto has a lot of snow.
The Tigers have a new manager, new first baseman, new second baseman a rookie at third and one of the game’s top closers. The Indians have a fading closer via St. Louis and Milwaukee. The Royals have a great lead-off hitter courtesy of #Melvinitis and a new second baseman. And the White Sox may have the most exciting new player in the game in their new Cuban first baseman. The Twins have their old catcher now at first. Perhaps this will help him stay off the DL.
The A’s have really rebuilt their pitching staff with a new closer and a host of bullpen new faces. The Rangers have the Prince at first, a new second baseman and a Choo in center. Seattle has a new first baseman, second baseman and a new GM. The Angles made changes, along with a new left fielder but their hopes are pined on a Pujols return to normalcy. The Astros have been dealing with their TV contract to make sure they get paid by the firm who just bought Time Warner Cable but claims its subsidiary is bankrupt and can’t pay the Houston club. Good luck with that.
In the Senior Circuit, the Braves have a new catcher. Nationals have a new manager. The Phillies have a new starting #2 pitcher from Pittsburgh. The Pirates have lost a starting pitcher and a first baseman. The Mets have a new center fielder and still a couple of first baseman. The Marlins are in Miami. And they still have Giancarlo Stanton. That in itself is a major miracle.
The Brewers have a new right fielder, a new left fielder a host of new players at first base (in fact they hold a record for most first basemen eating bratwurst in between innings) and a new starting pitcher while losing one of the best leadoff hitters in the game. The Cards have an almost entirely new infield, center fielder and right fielder. The Reds have a new manager and a new center fielder. The Cubs have a new manager and a new spring training facility in Mesa. Plus, they have Lenny Faralli desperately hoping for a winning season.
The D’backs have a new starting pitcher, a new left fielder and lost a bunch of coaches. The Giants have lost 42 pounds from Pablo. The Padres have a new starting pitcher. The Dodgers have four outfielders in an attempt to tie the Brewers in accumulating the most players in one position. The Rockies will no longer have Todd Helton and that is a loss for baseball.
So on this glorious Sunday in Arizona and Florida, hope is in the air but it is all about change.