It is, according to the countdown on dodgers.com, 9 days, 18 hours, 50 minutes until pitchers and catchers report for spring training.
I am a big college football fan, a relatively big college basketball fan, a spotty NFL fan, and a developing NHL fan. But baseball is my great love, and spring training is one of my favorite times of the year.
I get completely giddy, then I obsessively read any and all news bits about non-roster invitees, young prospects, and the returning team. One of my favorite moments of the year is hearing Vin Scully say “it’s time for Dodger baseball.”
I realize that all this joy and excitement over a bunch of games that don’t count can seem kind of ridiculous, but spring training is so, well, hopeful. Every year, you watch your team take shape. Now, usually you sort of know going in what it’s going to look like, but there’s almost always a surprise. Someone out-performs expectations and earns a job, a non-roster invitee shocks the hell out of everyone, or someone gets hurt and suddenly the back-ups have to step up.
Plus, during spring training, it feels like your team can do anything. You haven’t yet had your heart crushed by an 8 game losing streak or the total destruction of a pitching staff. This could be your year! It… probably won’t be, actually, but it could be!
I’ll admit that during the season, I possess sort of fatalistic depression about the season’s outcome, pretty sure that my beloved Dodgers are going to find a way to screw it up. I am basically always right. But during spring training, I set that all aside for a little while, and just enjoy.