By Drew Zuhosky
As I mentioned about a month and a half ago, I love to watch spring training baseball every year. I’ve been watching spring training games almost every day since the exhibition season began.
However, every year as spring training nears its end, I reach the point of critical mass when it comes to exhibition games.
About a week ago, I reached said point. By now, when I watch spring training games, I say to myself “Oh, come on! Can the regular season just start already?”
Thankfully, the end of the preseason is now only a few days away for Major League Baseball with teams packing up from their Florida and Arizona training complexes and heading toward their home markets.
In fact, the Houston Astros, San Francisco Giants and Los Angeles Dodgers will all be back in their home ballparks later tonight for the first in a series of final exhibitions before Opening Day.
Spring training in baseball is too long for me, but at the same time, the last month has been all about developing a baseball team’s farm system.
In baseball, you rarely hear about competitions for the top spot in the starting pitching rotation, like you would in football with the debate as to if a rookie quarterback will come out of training camp with the starting job.
Baseball teams, especially since it has a minor league system, have a general idea as to who starts at what position from year to year. Some teams have long since named a starting pitcher for Opening Day.
Cleveland Indians manager Terry Francona announced right-handed pitcher Corey Kluber as the starter for this Monday afternoon’s game against the Boston Red Sox at Progressive Field before the fifth Cactus League game.
Boston will counter with left-handed pitcher David Price, which will be a great pitching match-up.
Another entertaining Opening Day game has to be the Dodgers vs. San Diego Padres tilt. Any time the Dodgers send Clayton Kershaw to the mound, you just have to watch the game to see what he does.
Now at this time of year, sportswriters and columnists make predictions about the new baseball season. At the risk of sounding like a total idiot in October, I won’t be doing that today.
Instead, I’ll close the column with what Opening Day in Major League Baseball means to me. In brief, it brings me back to when I was growing up.
As a child, I couldn’t wait to get off the school bus on Opening Day, go into the house and see if I could find out what the Indians score was. When I was seven years old, I asked my mother to tape the home opener (not Opening Day proper) for the Indians off Channel 43 out of Cleveland.
With blank VHS tapes being very affordable (this was 1999, mind you), Mom pressed record on our old VCR at the stroke of 1:00 that day.
I didn’t get around to watching that tape until three days later and didn’t get too far into the tape either, but the Indians won that year’s home opener in 10 innings.
For some reason, possibly due to my heightened interests in video games, I never asked my mother to tape an Indians home opener again.
Opening Day unleashes my inner child every year. You can be assured that I’ll be on the couch with an assortment of snacks watching baseball this Sunday.
Enjoy the new season, everybody!