Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Talkin' Baseball

The third greatest sporting day of the year is 12 hours away, even less if you slept in today.

Pitchers and catchers report!

Oil up out the glove, stretch the rotator cuff, dust off last year's hat, re-bend the brim and start spouting phrases like "15-game winner," "Walks-to-hits ratio" and "torn labrum."

Tuesday, Yankees pitchers and catchers report to Tampa for the first day of spring training. The only better sporting days of a year are 1) The first day of March Madness and 2) Opening Day for baseball.

Perhaps, just for 2005, the first day of pitchers and catchers will be the best day of the year because it coincides with the impending doom of the NHL canceling its season. I could be drunk by noon! (And I typically wake up around 11:30.)

But back to baseball.

On this day, summer unofficially begins. On this day, we can forget about Jose Canseco and his big burly Irishman Bash Brother. We can forget about the steroids scandal and anything else that plagues the game right now. If only for one day we have the purity of baseball to enjoy, just like when Dad took us to the game and baseball cards cost 35 cents for a wax pak.

On Feb. 20, Arn Tellem's puppet strings will be cut and Jason Giambi will have to face the scrutiny of the New York and national media. The media will have free reign then, unlike last week's carefully orchestrated farce at the Stadium. It promises to be brutal, with every reporter thinking they will be the one to get Giambi to say something of substance.

But let's forget that all for one day and revel in the sights of Jorge Posada catching Randy Johnson's first throws as a Yankee. Or Mike Piazza doing the same for Pedro, or insert catcher's name here and pitcher's name here.

There are six weeks of spring training, 162 games and the playoffs to deal with all the bad things about the sport.

Just give me one day to revel in the beauty of baseball.

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