Monday, March 12, 2007

Nothing's more joyful than spring training


Spring training is a time to work and a time to play, a time for promise and a time for joy. Spring training is a time for players to learn what it takes to be a major leaguer and a time for coaches to see whether young players have the skills and intangibles (whether they have ‘it’) to take it to the next level, and a time for managers to see if their veterans are ready for another long, grueling season.

Spring season is a time for fans to reconnect to the game, learning about rookies and re-evaluating veterans, and this is a time for parents to reconnect with their kids (showing them how to keep score and pointing out key plays); it’s also a time for remembering and telling baseball stories with friends and other grown kids.

Spring training is a time for re-birth, where twenty-seven-year-old pitchers like Matt Smith shag fly balls for batters with numbers more evocative of defensive linemen and wide receivers than of major-league players, where a non-roster invitee like Lou Marson rips line drives to the outfield, hoping coaches will see a promising 21-year-old catcher and not the number 71 on his back, where players with Nos. 80, 81 and 91 rip into pitches and practice bunts. And where Smith throws his mitt into the air, hoping to snare a shot over his head out in the outfield, laughing as the glove falls to the outfield grass and the ball bounces against the right-center field wall.

Spring training is a time more for kids than adults, where young boys and girls bend over railings and along dugouts – as pleased to get an autograph from 32-year-old journeyman Jim Rushford, who wears No. 97 (and whose career includes 77 at-bats, a .143 batting average, a homer and six runs batted in) as to get a scribble from reigning MVP Ryan Howard. Adults creep near the railings as well, but, unlike during regular-season games, the older fans tend to restrain themselves around these kids – at least here today at Osceola County Stadium. (Unlike two years ago at Busch Stadium where middle-aged men shoved my young daughters aside to gets signatures from A-Rod and Jeter, among others. Losers, I’m sure, who have nothing else to live for and no respect for the game.)

But, here on this Saturday mid-morning, with the sun shining, with old men smiling and kids laughing, all is well in the world. So the kids reach out with programs and baseballs, imploring someone to sign. And players comply -- the older ones glad to see the joy in the kids’ eyes, the younger players pleased to be asked, the middle-aged players struggling for a roster spot happy to be called over (knowing this could be their last chance.) Players have fun with the crowd. Brian Sanches, a 26-year-old right-hander with just a season under his belt in Philadelphia, shags a slow roller down the third-base line and tosses it to some screaming young boys by the dugout.

On this day, I am also reconnecting – with the game and old friends. We arrive two hours early at the stadium here in Kissimmee, Florida, happy to be at any ball field on this beautiful day. I’ve been to this stadium a few times before, but neither Phil nor Scott have visited. Usually, Phil and I will take in a day-night doubleheader, driving to see the Blue Jays in Dunedin or the Phillies in Clearwater before heading back at night to Winter Haven (where we’ve watched the great Bob Feller toss out the first pitch) or Lakeland (where we saw the mercurial Esteban Yan finish off a game in an unusually cold Florida night.)

Today, we shag hot dogs, peanuts, pretzels and beers and watch the game unfold before us, a game between two younger teams with a chance to make the postseason. The Astros start most of their regulars, including 41-year-old Craig Biggio who still hustles on every play. (He beats out an infield single today.) The Phillies rely mostly on young kids and prospects. In the end, it is Houston’s youngsters that rise. Cody Ransom, a 30-year-old shortstop likely to start the season in the minors, drills a line shot down the left-field line to win the game in the bottom of the tenth inning, 3-2. Hunter Pence, hitting .737 this spring, jogs across the plate, fist pumping as if this were the final game of the World Series. For a young outfielder like 23-year-old Pence, who had doubled, this is a highlight.

We also take delight in this young man’s joy, saying wouldn’t it be great if these two kids were to do the same in the postseason, not caring that none of us root for the Astros. Young Pence is a fine player, we all agree and walk out of the stadium. There is a certain buzz, of dads and sons and daughters (and a few moms) walking out of the park, glad to have spent three or four hours so wisely, planting new memories and reaping the benefits of times spent with old friends.

-30-

597 comments:

1 – 200 of 597   Newer›   Newest»
Anonymous said...

http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105661 cialis next day cod fedex
http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105557 buy online prescription cialis
http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105545 cialis shipped COD
http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105289 free prescription cialis
http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105627 cod delivery cialis

cialis fed ex
buy cheap cialis c.o.d.
buy drug cialis
cialis prescription online
how 2 get high from cialis

[url=http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105557]cialis cheap no rx required canada[/url]
[url=http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105317]cheap cialis by fedex cod[/url]
[url=http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105579]cialis cash on delivery without doctors prescription[/url]
[url=http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105557]cialis overnight delivery fed ex[/url]
[url=http://discuss.tigweb.org/thread/105131]overnight delivery of cialis[/url]

Anonymous said...

Like your site
http://apple.myfullmusic.com
http://able.myfullmusic.com
http://about.myfullmusic.com
http://myfullmusic.com

Anonymous said...

apple |
able |
about |

Anonymous said...

Hey, Can you translate this website for me? Is this german?
[url=http://www.seocean.pl]pozycjonowanie w wyszukiwarkach[/url]
PS. Sorry off topic ;)

Anonymous said...

cheap ambien ambien schedule iv drug - ambien dosage too much

Anonymous said...

cheap ativan online ativan no prescription online pharmacy - ativan vs valium

Anonymous said...

order valium half life of valium 10mg - valium kids

Anonymous said...

buy diazepam how will 10mg diazepam affect me - buy cheap diazepam online no prescription

Anonymous said...

can you buy xanax online legally round white generic xanax - xanax pills s 902

Anonymous said...

xanax depression xanax wiki fr - buy real alprazolam

Anonymous said...

zolpidem ambien zolpidem tartrate buy no prescription - how to order ambien online

Anonymous said...

buy diazepam buy msj diazepam online - valium diazepam uses

Anonymous said...

zolpidem high zolpidem usual dose - zolpidem 10 mg side effects

Anonymous said...

buy cheap ambien side effects from ambien 10mg - cheapest ambien online no prescription

Anonymous said...

buy diazepam online drug interaction diazepam prilosec - diazepam 5mg and flying

Anonymous said...

buy diazepam diazepam tablet - que es el medicamento diazepam

Anonymous said...

order ativan online ativan mg get high - ativan withdrawal rash

Anonymous said...

order valium valium vs xanax panic attacks - canine valium anxiety

Anonymous said...

buy xanax without prescriptions can you overdose 4 xanax - xanax for social anxiety blushing

Anonymous said...

buy diazepam diazepam bluelight - diazepam cats

Anonymous said...

buy xanax xanax bars 15 mg - mixing xanax and alcohol blackout

Anonymous said...

diazepam no prescription needed buy diazepam online legally usa - generic diazepam canada

Anonymous said...

buy xanax online without rx type high xanax - xanax withdrawal forum

Anonymous said...

xanax mg non-generic xanax online - buy alprazolam online mastercard

Anonymous said...

phentermine online buy phentermine online us - order phentermine uk

Anonymous said...

purchase xanax xanax dosage lethal - better than xanax for anxiety

Anonymous said...

phentermine sale buy phentermine fastin right - phentermine to buy online uk

Anonymous said...

zolpidem cost zolpidem tartrate usp - side effects zolpidem 20 mg

Anonymous said...

buy zolpidem online zolpidem online canada - buy zolpidem australia

Anonymous said...

ambien zolpidem zolpidem tartrate best price - where can i buy zolpidem tartrate

Anonymous said...

lorazepam vs diazepam 2mg lorazepam equivalent diazepam - diazepam side effects feline

Anonymous said...

buy zolpidem tartrate online zolpidem zcr - can you buy zolpidem online

Anonymous said...

cheap ativan ativan benzo - ativan dosage canada

Anonymous said...

tramadol online high von tramadol - tramadol 50 mg is equivalent to

Anonymous said...

xanax for sale xanax yellow pill 106 s - new xanax pills

Anonymous said...

order tramadol overnight tramadol hcl acetaminophen 650 - tramadol high blood pressure

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine is the phentermine online real - phentermine $40.00

Anonymous said...

valium diazepam diazepam withdrawal programme - buy roche diazepam usa

Anonymous said...

tramadol without prescription buy tramadol online overnight delivery - buy tramadol from us

Anonymous said...

phentermine medication phentermine online consultation order - order phentermine online no prescription

Anonymous said...

tramadol no prescription tramadol drug class - tramadol online doctor consult

Anonymous said...

order phentermine buy phentermine bargain - phentermine news

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine online order phentermine hcl 37.5 - where is a safe place to buy phentermine online

Anonymous said...

what is diazepam used for buy diazepam online+mastercard - quickly does 10mg diazepam work

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol ultram buy tramadol dogs uk - tramadol cost

Anonymous said...

generic phentermine order phentermine phone - buy phentermine online no rx

Anonymous said...

buy lorazepam online ativan dosage/addiction - ativan online no prescription

Anonymous said...

order tramadol ultram online cheap - tramadol 7.5

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online mastercard overnight buy tramadol spain - kind pill tramadol hcl

Anonymous said...

xanax online much does 1mg xanax cost - xanax jokes

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol no prescription overnight buy tramadol 200mg - tramadol jaundice

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol rx tramadol high mg - tramadol hcl wiki

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online will tramadol 50mg get you high - tramadol hcl bp monograph

Anonymous said...

best buy tramadol where to buy tramadol online safely - tramadol online texas

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine buy phentermine tablets online - phentermine 647

Anonymous said...

phentermine diet phentermine side effects dangers - buy phentermine ireland

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine online phentermine online 2011 - phentermine blood pressure

Anonymous said...

phentermine weight loss phentermine 30 mg capsules reviews - buy phentermine online with no prescription cheap

Anonymous said...

buy generic ambien online ambien generic price - cheapest ambien online no prescription

Anonymous said...

xanax no rx where to buy xanax without rx - xanax bars kick

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online tramadol online to florida - tramadol online american express

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol buy generic tramadol online - order tramadol dog

Anonymous said...

tramadol online buy tramadol 200mg online - order tramadol with saturday delivery

Anonymous said...

generic xanax Arizona xanax pills mylan - buy xanax legally online

Anonymous said...

buy xanax online Tucson buy xanax online reviews - xanax er

Anonymous said...

alprazolam buy xanax no prescription cheap - small white generic xanax

Anonymous said...

phentermine without rx adipex meridia online phentermine presciption viag - phentermine #60

Anonymous said...

buy ambien ambien side effects ear - ambien cr savings card

Anonymous said...

phentermine diet buy phentermine oral - buy phentermine resin online

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol 100mg online tramadol dosages humans - tramadol dosage chart for dogs

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol next day tramadol for getting high - buy tramadol online missouri

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online no prescription cod buy tramadol cod fedex - buy tramadol ireland

Anonymous said...

cheapest ambien many ambien 10 mg - can you buy ambien

Anonymous said...

buy soma online carisoprodol 350 mg wiki - carisoprodol vs cyclobenzaprine

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online buy ambien cr 12.5 mg - ambien and pregnancy 2010

Anonymous said...

buy ambien ambien 40 - stories ambien users

Anonymous said...

generic ambien ambien 10 mg bluelight - ambien high feeling

Anonymous said...

buy zolpidem online ambien neonatal withdrawal - drug interactions propranolol ambien

Anonymous said...

zolpidem drug generic ambien 10mg pills - ambien zolt

Anonymous said...

buy xanax best site order xanax - hair follicle drug test xanax

Anonymous said...

online ambien lunesta vs ambien dosage - insomnia with ambien

Anonymous said...

generic zolpidem ambien cr alternatives - how much does ambien cost per pill

Anonymous said...

generic xanax Las Vegas what are the different kinds of xanax pills - drug stronger xanax klonopin

Anonymous said...

cheap ambien no prescription ambien cr 6.25 mg side effects - ambien cr what does it look like

Anonymous said...

legal buy tramadol online tramadol 50 mg iv - tramadol online com

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol buy tramadol for dogs online - tramadol itching

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol online illegal - tramadol pain killer dosage

Anonymous said...

generic ambien ambien cr generic release - ambien dosage 5 10 mg

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol online without a prescription buy tramadol cod shipping - tramadol kidney

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol 319 dose - tramadol hcl side effects in dogs

Anonymous said...

ambien for sale no prescription buy ambien online in usa - ambien tiger woods

Anonymous said...

xanax online New Jersey xanax drug experience - xanax for anxiety

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online ambien dosage 5 or 10 mg - ambien klonopin alcohol

Anonymous said...

purchase tramadol tramadol not working - buy tramadol 50mg online

Anonymous said...

cheap generic ambien ambience mall gurgaon from metro staton - ambien 20 mg pill

Anonymous said...

buy xanax cheap online pharmacy xanax - where to buy generic xanax online

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine online pharmacy to buy phentermine - buy phentermine online no prescription needed

Anonymous said...

buy cheap phentermine where to buy online phentermine 37.5mg - phentermine online legal

Anonymous said...

herbal phentermine phentermine 30 mg side effects - phentermine 37.5 mg online pharmacy

Anonymous said...

herbal phentermine where to buy phentermine without rx online - purchase prescription phentermine online

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine online prescription for phentermine 37.5 - phentermine and xenical together

Anonymous said...

carisoprodol soma order soma from mexico - buy soma safely online

Anonymous said...

phentermine pharmacy phentermine 15mg buy online - phentermine 30 mg weight loss

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine buy phentermine malaysia - where to buy phentermine in san jose ca

Anonymous said...

buy valium overnight delivery valium 052 - diazepam valium drug class

Anonymous said...

order tramadol online overnight buy tramadol online no prescription overnight - buy tramadol 100mg

Anonymous said...

cheap ambien online ambien + xanax = insomnia - overdose by ambien

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol hydrochloride high - tramadol 7.5

Anonymous said...

cheap ambien no prescription ambien side effects short term memory loss - ambien withdrawal message boards

Anonymous said...

ambien online no prescription ambien side effects migraine - ambien for anxiety

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol high 50 mg - usual dosage tramadol

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online generic ambien from canada - street price of ambien

Anonymous said...

buy ambien white oval pill ambien - ambien for children

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol xr - buy tramadol cod overnight

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online no prescription ambien price per pill - ambien high yahoo answers

Anonymous said...

buy xanax Mississippi where to buy xanax online - drug used get off xanax

Anonymous said...

buy xanax xanax generic equivalent - xanax and alcohol mixed effects

Anonymous said...

phentermine for sale buy phentermine ga - phentermine 160 mg

Anonymous said...

buy soma carisoprodol overdose mg - where to buy soma panties

Anonymous said...

phentermine without prescription buy phentermine los angeles - buy phentermine uk online

Anonymous said...

soma cheap is the frequency of carisoprodol withdrawal syndrome increasing - soma pre employment drug test

Anonymous said...

soma without prescription buy somatropin eurohormones - somanabolic muscle maximizer and all bonus programs free download

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol india tramadol hcl or vicodin - tramadol tylenol high

Anonymous said...

buy valium online valium diazepam wikipedia - beat valium drug test

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online ambien cr erowid - canadian online pharmacy ambien

Anonymous said...

generic ambien buy ambien cr what is it - ambien side effects heart rate

Anonymous said...

ambien cheap ambien for sleep - what class drug is ambien for pregnancy

Anonymous said...

xanax online Pennsylvania buy xanax ireland online - xanax bars prescription

Anonymous said...

buy cheap ambien ambien benzodiazepine drug screen - ambien cr how long does it last

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online much zolpidem ambien - ambien yellow pill

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol no prescription best buy tramadol - tramadol 50 mg how many get high

Anonymous said...

buy xanax round green xanax pills - buy xanax fast delivery

Anonymous said...

buy ambien generic ambien cost without insurance - sandoz generic ambien

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol order tramadol overnight delivery - tramadol hcl opiate

Anonymous said...

phentermine without prescription buy real phentermine online - how to buy phentermine online no prescription

Anonymous said...

soma no prescription buy somatropin online - buy soma double cross

Anonymous said...

ambien sleep medication ambien zolpidem side effects - ambien (zolpidem) y sonata (zaleplon)

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online drug overdose ambien - long ambien cr your system

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online ambien side effects back pain - ambien sleep stages

Anonymous said...

zolpidem no prescription lunesta vs ambien cr vs sonata - cheapest place buy ambien cr

Anonymous said...

ambien without prescriptions ambien cr under tongue - ambien cr using side effects

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online buy discount ambien - ambien sleep paralysis

Anonymous said...

ambien cheap ambien and pregnancy 2011 - ambien causes sleepwalking

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online sleeping pill similar ambien - ambience mall gurgaon cinema hall

Anonymous said...

side effects of taking phentermine how to order phentermine 37.5 - buy real phentermine online no prescription

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online withdrawal of ambien cr - ambien side effects if you stay awake

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine phentermine hcl buy online - order phentermine online no rx

Anonymous said...

buy xanax Hawaii xanax pill shapes - xanax for acute anxiety

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine without prescription buy real phentermine online 2011 - phentermine 30 mg time release

Anonymous said...

buy xanax Iowa xanax or ativan - xanax withdrawal kills

Anonymous said...

generic xanax San Diego xanax 2mg cod - xanax withdrawal addiction

Anonymous said...

phentermine 37.5mg phentermine day 7 - buy phentermine online 30mg

Anonymous said...

phentermine adipex phentermine 18.75 mg - phentermine so expensive online

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine where to buy phentermine online cheap - phentermine 8mg

Anonymous said...

soma buy buy somatropin australia - uses of carisoprodol

Anonymous said...

can you buy ambien online buy ambien in canada - ambien cr 6.5 mg

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online ambien dosage range - ambien 10mg street value

Anonymous said...

cheap ambien online ambien cr 50 mg - ambien sleep pills side effects

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online ambien jaw clenching - ambien sleep music online

Anonymous said...

buy xanax bars online xanax dosage effects - generic to xanax

Anonymous said...

cheap ambien online ambien withdrawal taper - ambien cr addiction

Anonymous said...

buy xanax bars online xanax withdrawal symptoms list - xanax overdose 2 mg

Anonymous said...

ambien ambien walrus collection - tiger woods ambien sleep driving

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol overnight delivery tramadol hcl apap - tramadol 50 mg side effects

Anonymous said...

buy xanax can buy xanax mexico - what is xanax classification

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online ambien cr commercial youtube - ambien side effects dry eyes

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online ambien side effects if you stay awake - generic time release ambien

Anonymous said...

buy xanax cheap xanax for sale - generic xanax pills identify

Anonymous said...

phentermine cod phentermine usage - buy phentermine online reviews

Anonymous said...

xanax without prescription xanax bars how much - xanax 2mg australia

Anonymous said...

online phentermine buy phentermine online no prescription needed - phentermine online without a rx

Anonymous said...

buy soma online will soma show up on a probation drug test - buy soma online uk

Anonymous said...

buy valium online valium 10mg diaze-10 - valium dosage peds

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol ultram - tramadol y alcohol

Anonymous said...

buy ambien online ambien side effects on women - ambien side effects weakness

Anonymous said...

valium online no prescription valium drug card - xanax vs valium for anxiety

Anonymous said...

xanax online Columbus xanax or ativan - xanax withdrawal kills

Anonymous said...

discount xanax is purchasing xanax online legal - some generic names xanax

Anonymous said...

37.5mg phentermine order phentermine online no rx - phentermine online legitimate

Anonymous said...

buy phentermine phentermine online consultation - order-phentermine.us

Anonymous said...

buy xanax order xanax online canada - xanax side effects in women

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol cheap online tramadol online with no prescription - tramadol no prescription

Anonymous said...

xanax online Austin xanax effects tinnitus - pictures generic xanax 1 mg

Anonymous said...

purchase phentermine online buy phentermine no doctor - phentermine 37.5 no prescription needed

Anonymous said...

buy xanax online Dallas Texas what do 2mg xanax look like - brand name xanax online no prescription

Anonymous said...

valium pills valium half life urine - online pharmacy europe valium

Anonymous said...

how to buy valium online generic term valium - much 5mg valium

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol saturday delivery tramadol hcl half life - tramadol class

Anonymous said...

generic tramadol online can you order tramadol - трамадол инструкция

Anonymous said...

where to buy tramadol online tramadol online overnight - buy tramadol online visa

Anonymous said...

order tramadol online without prescription buy tramadol online reviews - buy tramadol australia

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol interactions - tramadol 50mg tablets dosage

Anonymous said...

buy xanax xanax dosage green pill - xanax uses treatment

Anonymous said...

buy valium online valium high stories - buy valium in mexico

Anonymous said...

buy discount tramadol reputable online pharmacy tramadol - tramadol dosage 627

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol tramadol online - tramadol 400 mg dose

Anonymous said...

order tramadol online without prescription buy tramadol online without script - order tramadol echeck

Anonymous said...

buy tramadol 100mg tramadol online pharmacy - where to order tramadol online

Anonymous said...

order tramadol online buy tramadol overnight - order tramadol eu

Anonymous said...

generic xanax Virginia taking 2mg xanax first time - order xanax online prescription

«Oldest ‹Older   1 – 200 of 597   Newer› Newest»