In some ways, it feels like Friday, October 12th was just yesterday. I can still feel the excitement of the playoffs, the searing disappointment of losing game five in what was an utterly winnable series. But at at the same time, it seems like a lifetime ago. It turns out that when your baseball team of choice is actually good, the offseason is a letdown, not a sweet release.
We went into the off season with high hopes, and no matter what your opinion on how Dan Duquette approached the winter, I think you'll all agree with me that the inaction made for a long four months. But now, at long last, we have the first glimpse of the new season, and for the next few weeks or so we'll hear nothing but optimism about the team. Everyone will be convinced that the Orioles can compete, every player will be in the best shape of his life.
Practically speaking, there is little to get excited about, but that won't stop many of us. Because while it's cold in Maryland, it's sunny and warm in Florida and we'll begin to see pictures of our 2012 heroes stretching, playing catch, and engaging in general baseball activities. The sight never fails to give me an itch to see real live baseball.
Today Adam Jones tweeted, "Off to Sarasota. Time to put in work. Who gives a rats ass about last year. Time to be heard. #StayHungry." And that's what the start of Spring Training is really all about. As of today when pitchers and catchers report, the 2012 season and all of the magic that went with it will truly be in the past, and the only thing that matters is 2013 and what the Baltimore Orioles can do this year.
Last year when Spring Training started I was as pessimistic as I could remember being for a long, long time. And this year I'm as optimistic as I can ever remember being. I'm nervous, though, that things will go back to the way they were before 2012. Nervous but excited. And today is the first day of what could maybe, possibly, be a baseball season even better than last year.
Pitchers and catchers!