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Every year at this time, sportswriters note that they just can't believe it's almost baseball season, because by golly the Super Bowl just happened. Football! Football! Football!

F football. I said it. I love college football, but the NFL game has become so watered down and generic that I can barely stand to watch it any longer. That's why the baseball offseason feels so long to me, too. I have nothing to watch besides college football and boxing, because we all know basketball doesn't matter until March, and we all know hockey... well, let's not even go there. And college football ends in early January, meaning I'm pretty much abandoned by sports.

We're just a few days away from pitchers and catchers reporting, and it cannot come soon enough. I don't care if this team wins 50 games. I'd rather watch bad baseball than just about anything else. It means the arrival of spring, the ushering out of winter. I'm sure many of you are the same way, too. Baseball is part of our makeup, for better or worse. The fields, the gloves, the bats, the uniforms, the infield dirt, the freaking foul poles. The crack of the bat on a home run. The smack of the catcher's mitt on a Daniel Cabrera third strike fastball.

And the eternal optimism of spring training amazes me every year, as it does many. For all intents and purposes, we know this team isn't going to be very good. But man, remember the first half of 2005? Remember what that was like? This team is better on paper than that one was, and they made a go of it before falling apart as gloriously as any team could. There's always the sense that this could be that special year where the unexpected happens, and the Orioles could make a run. Why not? Besides the obvious, I mean, which is that they don't have the players.

Every year, I refuse to believe that it's impossible. Every year, I probably become a little bit more insane. But that's baseball. That's just the way it is.