February is probably most known for the amount of flowers and chocolate sold for Valentine’s Day, but it is a much more important time of the year for baseball fans. It is the month when the off-season ends and “next year” is finally here as pitchers and catchers report. Many teams will get things underway today; all teams will be in action by the 22nd for Spring Training.
Traditionally, pitchers and catchers are the first players to report. Pitchers need a little extra time to stretch out their arms and begin to get ready for the season. Catchers are there obviously to catch them in bullpen sessions. Position players report about a week later to begin their workouts.
The 2014 season is long gone and every team has hopes of making the playoffs in 2015. That may seem like a laughable statement for some teams, but that is the mindset that teams need to have going into Spring Training. With roughly a month to prepare for the grueling 162 game schedule, it is crucial for players to show up in shape and ready to hit the ground running. There is little time to “get back into shape” in terms of a baseball timeline.
Players have switched teams, new managers have taken over the realm of clubs, and there are positive outlooks to be found all around the league during Spring Training. Whether it is the Angels having reining AL MVP Mike Trout, the Padres counting on their slew of new outfielders, or the Cubs hoping a young roster and new manager can finally win them a World Series, every team has a reason to be optimistic.
There will be a slew of news articles and social media posts going up over the next month highlighting the upcoming season, and baseball fans are encouraged to use the hashtag #BaseballBegins when talking about Spring Training and the new season. Each team and many players have their own social media hashtags, but this one is a way to let all baseball fans know that games are right around the corner.
Baseballs will be flying left and right in Florida (Grapefruit League) and Arizona (Cactus League) as the two states host Spring Training. It is a great time to see the new faces and potential rosters for 2015. The best part could be the fun atmosphere that surrounds the ballparks during this time of year. It is very family friendly and access to players is much greater than during the regular season. While many players are fighting for roster spots and staying focused, there are also plenty of veterans who take the time to talk to fans and sign more autographs than usual.
Although the playoffs showcase the best teams from the entire season and have a very dramatic flare to the games, Spring Training is a time to sit back and relax and celebrate the game as a whole. It is a great way to ease into the season as pitchers build up their arm strength and position players fine-tune their swings. Top-10 highlight shows will once again be filled with Web Gems, walk-offs, and athleticism at its finest as showcased only on a diamond.
#BaseballBegins with Spring Training