Pitchers and catchers have begun officially reporting to their respective spring training camps around Florida. Position players are not far behind. The baseball press corps is right there with them and with the first time in 14 years, I am not among them.
I’m actually quite happy about that. I’m not going to miss those 7 a.m. open clubhouses or the standing around waiting for a grown man to get dressed so he can spout some cliche about feeling refreshed after the offseason or some platitude about how the novel offseason workout he discovered is the mystical remedy to his lifetime 4.62 ERA.
I realize that most baseball writers love spring training. It has nothing to do with the actual games. They are just happy to get six weeks away from their spouses and bratty kids. Also, it is warm and has cigar bars with an ocean view. I live here year round. We loathe snowbirds of any feather.
I can honestly say that I am excitedly unexcited about the arrival of spring training. First off, I didn’t have to face the wrath of my wife because the report days for the local team just happened to coincide with Valentine’s Day and, a few days later, our anniversary.
I didn’t have to make the arrival of delivery trucks somehow more interesting than the dude in the Amazon van dropping of my Prime order by pointing out how many balls he has. I didn’t have to suffer the insufferable media that would ask the same damn question three different ways because they wanted a slightly different cliche answer given by whatever player was offered up as media fodder for the day.
I won’t have to get daily updates on the status of the utility infielder’s hip flexor or suffer the shivs from Peter Gammon’s bony ass elbows as he tries to weasel his way to the front of the interview scrum. No trying to make spring training games sound interesting. No rehab updates. No living off ballpark food and cans of Sprite.
I always found it morbidly humorous how sportswriters would literally wet themselves over free donuts in the press box and then act surprised when one of their colleagues died prematurely of a heart attack in the offseason. I still ate the honey maple donuts covered in bacon bits because I’m a nihilist.
I used to hold some romantic notions about spring training. That was back before $72 box seats and $11 beers. Every player with a decent agent won’t make a bus trip over 45 minutes. It’s in the contract. Position battles are just media contrivances to justify charticles on a Tuesday deadline.
Spring training used to be its own special thing, Now it’s basically an extension of a season that was already way to long to begin with. So yeah, this spring I’ll be observing the Grapefruit League from the cheap seats.
The best part?
Since I’m not officially covering the games, I don’t even need to wait until the sixth inning to start drinking.
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