Do you smell that? It kind of smells like dryer sheets. No, wait. That’s not right. Is it warm apple pie fresh out of the oven? Nah, that’s not right either. It smells like, optimism?
“There’s also a sense of confidence to go with that,” manager Bruce Bochy said, referring to the addition of free agents Jeremy Affeldt, Bob Howry, Randy Johnson and Edgar Renteria and the 28-27 record San Francisco posted to close the season. “Every team comes to Spring Training full of optimism, but I think with the changes that have been made here, this club does come in with a sense of urgency to have a good year.”
Ahh, it’s that time of year again. Baseball is 90% back. Pitchers and catchers have reported to warmer climates in preparation for another season. In about 8 days, Spring Training games will begin and we can start to read real boxscores again. Everything is fresh with optimism. This-could-be-our-year’s permeate the air. It’s thick, it’s heavy, it’s optimism. All of those feel-good vibes will eventually bubble over into sports articles and headlines. It’s hard to help, there isn’t much else going on right now and, as they say, everyone is tied for 1st place at the moment. You might see headlines like:
Dave Roberts Helps Eugenio Velez Discover Mechanical Sandwich-Eating Flaw; Velez Hopes to Eat 1,000 Sandwiches in ’09 Campaign
Lincecum Adds Gyroball to Pitching Arsenal, League Weeps Silently
It’s easy to be optimistic right now because the games haven’t started yet. We haven’t seen routine flyballs clank awkwardly off Eugenio Velez’s glove. We haven’t seen Barry Zito walk 6 consecutive batters in a row to start a game. We haven’t seen Aaron Rowand miss a cut-off man by 30 feet. We haven’t seen any of these things yet. They are things that can shred optimism to pieces in an instant. Piece-by-piece the harsh realities of, well, um, reality assault us at every turn. Eugenio Velez probably isn’t going to swipe 60 bags this season. A few prospects will probably flameout. The bullpen might be worse.
Thankfully, we don’t have to worry about those realities at the moment. Spring Training is like a good dream. At the moment, it’s still just a dream. Unrealized, hanging in the ether, vague but with shape and full of promise. Whether or not it’s actualized is still to be seen, but for the moment, we should try to enjoy the process as much as possible.
What’s the point to this rambling post? I’m not sure. I guess it’s one part “Read these things with a big ‘ol grain of salt” and two parts “Holy heck, baseball is back!” Now, if you’ll excuse me, I discovered a mechanical flaw in my sandwich eating technique, and I’m going to go correct it.
Perennial Giants ST blog, Giants Jottings, is back online and posting excellent pictures again. If you’re jonesing for pictures of Buster Posey, Pablo Sandoval, or Eugenio Velez — you sick freak — this is the place for you. Giants Jottings is a must-see for this time of the year.