March 19, 2010

Spring Fever

This whole blogging deal has been an interesting experience so far. During the off season I blogged fairly regularly; more than I really thought I ever would. I would basically start off each day wondering what I would write about and some how, some way I’d find the inspiration to post about something.

Then spring training arrived and Cheryl and I headed out to Tempe and I had a little surge in the number posts for a few days and then bam; it all kind of stopped.

Doesn’t make much sense, right? I mean baseball finally arrives and I start posting less. What’s up with that?

I guess I should answer that question.

Well, I have to tell you that not being at spring training really puts a damper on my creativity. There isn’t a lot to get excited about when it comes to spring training games; unless you’re actually there at the games. The experience of being at an event in person is so much richer.

Face it, the box scores and results are nice to look over, but you really can’t come to any significant conclusions about anything (for the most part). Names and numbers don’t jump off a page for me. Baseball is about the personalities and the experience of being at the ball park with the fans.

Spring training is about so much more than just the games; it’s about the overall experience and you can’t get that when you’re in southern California listening to a game over the internet or a rebroadcast on the radio at night.

There’s so much optimism in the air at spring training. The ball parks are intimate and the fans are in a great mood. You just can’t beat it. I hate not being there and I miss it a lot.

I miss seeing Torii Hunter cracking everyone up. I miss talking to the guys as they had from the practice fields to the stadium. I miss the people that work there. I miss it all. I've clearly got a case of spring fever.

I have a friend who’s part of the 514 Fanatics and his name is Bob. Bob is making his second trip of the spring to Tempe this weekend. That’s not unusual in and of itself, but what makes it really interesting is that Bob is a CPA and an extremely busy one at that.

Here it is the middle of the tax season and Bob is putting his practice on hold for a couple days and taking his son Stephen to spring training. He’s making time; time he doesn’t necessarily really have.

That’s what spring training does to you. It’s special. It’s fun. It’s only here for a little over a month and then it’s time for the regular season. It’s like a pre-party to the regular season.

Now if you knew Bob, you wouldn’t be surprised that he’s heading back to spring training. He and his son Stephen are two of the biggest sports fans I have ever met. Check that. They are THE biggest sports fans I’ve ever met.

Stephen just started high school and he’s already been to more sporting events and venues than most people tackle in their lifetime. Heck, he’s seen more sports live and in person than dozens of people will ever see.

They’ve been known to go to Tempe and catch a baseball game in the afternoon, then go to a Suns basketball game at night and then hit another baseball game the next day and a Coyotes hockey game in the evening.

They do this all year long. They could fly to Dallas for a weekend to see the Packers and the Cowboys one week and then go to a University of Wisconsin football game the next. They’ll go just about anywhere at any time to see a sporting event.

They’ve seen and done just about everything there is to do sports wise and yet – spring training holds a special appeal for both of them. They wouldn’t miss it for anything. What does that tell you?

I’m probably crazy for trying to convince more people to go to spring training. It’s clearly becoming more popular every year and as a result, more crowded. Well, let’s just say that I believe that by going to spring training, you’ll become a bigger fan of baseball than you might have been to this point. I’m not kidding. It’s that much fun.

Sixteen days until opening day.

BallHype: hype it up!

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