People who aren’t baseball fans just don’t get it. We heard a few times on talk radio this week that hosts didn’t understand why baseball people get so excited over camps opening, when the regular season is still six weeks away.
It’s pretty simple. First of all, baseball is the one sport that occurs pretty much every day. To be a hard core supporter of the grand ol’ game is to make a daily commitment, 162 games played over 180 days.
Since it is played each day for the most part, it is missed when it isn’t here. So Tribe fans, still dealing with a heart breaking loss in game 7 of the World Series, haven’t been able to lick their wounds with action on the field since November 2nd.
Second, it’s an early sign of spring, the promise of warmer weather to come, looking forward to warm, summer nights at Progressive Field.
We don’t believe any other sport can offer the regeneration of warm weather to follow.
And Tribe fans are even looking forward more to the beginning of spring training this year because of last year’s success, but also because of the tremendous off-season Chris Antonetti and GM Mike Chernoff had, signing perhaps the most prominent free agent this winter in 1B/DH Edwin Encarnacion.
They also added to an already strong bullpen by inking lefty Boone Logan as a free agent. They did have to say goodbye to two large contributors to last year’s success in Mike Napoli and Rajai Davis, but overall it appears the Indians are stronger than they were when they ended the season.
Baseball fans will be awaiting the first pictures from Goodyear, Arizona, particularly pics of the newest Indians, seeing Encarnacion in Tribe togs for the first time.
We also want to see how our old favorites look in camp, even through many of them were just in town for Tribe Fest at the end of January.
And we are all very anxious to see reports on those players recovering from injuries, mostly Michael Brantley, who missed virtually the entire regular season with shoulder issues.
Brantley’s recovery would be huge, adding another solid bat to an everyday lineup that finished 2nd in the American League in runs scored in 2016.
We will also be interested in the progress of Carlos Carrasco and Danny Salazar, two stalwarts of the starting rotation, who missed most of the post-season fun with injuries. Neither should be a problem long term, but until they are on the mound in exhibition games getting hitters out, you can’t be sure.
It is also fun to follow the progress of the top prospects in the organization, to get your first look at catcher Francisco Mejia and outfielder Greg Allen, both of whom should get some “A” game at-bats.
And we will get a newer look at OF Bradley Zimmer, who will likely start the season in Columbus, and should be on track to make his big league debut this summer.
Those are just some of the reasons why baseball fans look forward to hearing “Pitchers and catchers report”. It’s the beginning of eight months of a commitment to the sport.
It’s a sign that winter will soon be over…baseball is back!