What snow? Pitchers & Catchers Tell me Spring is in the Air
But, spring is in the air.
I keep getting reports from Port St. Lucie where the temperature is in the 70s and a variety of men have donned fresh uniforms to work out and warm up. Forget the groundhog and his shadow. The true arrival of spring is signaled with regularity every February when pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training. Several position players and minor leaguers vying for a fulltime role are also showing up day by day.
This is the time of year speculation runs rampant. Who arrived in shape? Who’s overweight? Who has clearly been working with a coach on hitting or throwing? Which positions are locked down and which ones are up for grabs.
With my beleaguered, beloved Mets, the handicappers already have them finishing the year in fourth place with a mere 73 wins. Those are pretty low expectations and easy ones to beat. Frankly, last year they finished close to .500 and finishing above that should be the goal for the 2014 campaign, putting the pieces in place to really make a run for the pennant in 2015.
I guess the biggest question this week is whether or not they really are making a run for shortstop Stephen Drew. Adding him will increase the chances of a stronger year but I also think they have enough pieces in place to have a respectable year. Of course, I say that when everything is bright and gleaming with promise, before a player gets unexpectedly hurt or has an off year.
Spring training encourages us to think of the coming summer, the coming season and the promise of 162 entertaining games. And frankly, given what I see outside my window right now, I’ll take those visions.