Spring training is much like life in that most of the people who go into it will depart it alone, their dreams unfulfilled. That process begins for the Orioles today as pitchers and catchers report to the complex in Sarasota in advance of tomorrow's first workout. There will be 58 players in camp. 25 of them will make the Opening Day roster, with one of that lucky 25 getting optioned or designated for assignment the next day when Chris Davis is activated.
Across Florida and Arizona, a similar situation will be taking place at the camps of 29 other teams. Of all of these teams, one will end up winning the World Series and the other 29 will be losers by year's end. Some are already losers, and they surely know it in their hearts, though the Orioles, thankfully, are not one of these teams any longer. Last year they came only eight wins short of winning it all.
Still, even on the days there's little going on beyond grainy pictures of random players throwing baseballs back and forth, taking batting practice, or doing fielding drills, at least those pictures have the color green in them. That's more than those of us back around Baltimore can see right now. The low temperature tonight is forecast to be in the negative degrees. At least you can take a small bit of comfort in knowing that, somewhere in this crazy mixed-up universe of ours, there's still a little place called Sarasota.
Spring training is a necessary evil, the last bleak weeks that must be endured before baseball returns to us. It has much more use for the players themselves. Shaking off the rust of winter, getting back up to playing speed steadily so no one hurts himself, these are important things.
It's especially useful with the O's needing to gauge how the recoveries of Matt Wieters and Manny Machado are progressing. It's nice to evaluate what players can do, to a point. If you overrate Grapefruit League performance, that's how you end up with spring training home run champion Jake Fox on the major league roster. We have moved past those days.
Opening Day is still 46 days away. That is a lot of days, many of which may be very cold, but there will be at least some baseball tidbits every day between now and then.