Spring Training right around corner

Corey Marine

 Pitchers and catchers report Feb. 18. For avid baseball fans across the country, these are some of the most beautiful words to hear during the cold, gray days of winter when the sun sets too early. They are words that bring back memories of days at the ballpark and flood people’s minds with batting averages, on-base percentages and earned-run averages. All signs indicate that that this should be an entertaining season.  There are storylines all over the league. If you look at the American League East, you can see that the Red Sox and Yankees are having an arms race again.  Boston stole John Lackey from the Angels to further bolster its already dynamic rotation.  You would have to think that his postseason performance against New York played as much of a role in his signing as did his history of pitching well at Fenway Park.

Turn west and you will see Cliff Lee donning a Seattle Mariners uniform (as much to his surprise as everyone else’s). After nine seasons and a World Series Championship playing for the Anaheim/Los Angeles Angels, Chone Figgins also traded jerseys and will be playing for A.L. West rival Seattle. Suddenly, the Mariners are looking like the favorite to take the division, and the Halo’s stranglehold on the West has gone limp. 

The Phillies finally got their man in Roy Halladay, and some people are actually scratching their heads as to why the trigger got pulled on this deal, given that Lee gave them as good a performance as any franchise can ask for during his tenure in the City of Brotherly Love. What has some Phillies fans upset about the deal is that some of the prospects that were given up that could have been retained had Philadelphia just resigned Lee instead of forcing the trade to happen. Wasn’t keeping those prospects one of the main reasons the trade talks came to a screeching halt during the regular season to begin with? 

The steroid cloud is still looming and talks about performance-enhancing drugs still continue to surface in the media. The latest topic is former St. Louis Cardinals star first baseman and current batting coach Mark Mcgwire admitting his steroid use. This is usually a case of “Another one? Not this again,” but given McGwire’s Hall of Fame-esque numbers and how he smashed Roger Maris’s record for most home runs in a single season, this leaves a bad taste in the mouths of those who love and respect the game. 

He claims that he wanted to speak during the Congressional hearing, but did his lawyer advised him not to because he could not get immunity. He says he wishes he never touched steroids, and he only used them to come back from and to prevent injury (despite the fact that even the average fan understands that human growth hormone does that without bulking you up). It all just seems too convenient given that it is becoming obvious that he will probably not get voted into the Hall of Fame and that he will be back in the public’s eye in his new position with the Cardinals.

There are plenty of reasons to get excited for baseball season. There is no secret in that.  Now, we just have to sit and wait for the dog days of summer. One week from now, when pitchers and catchers report, baseball fans across the nation will know that Spring Training is just around the corner. We do not need a groundhog to tell us that.

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Corey Marine is a senior english major from New York, N.Y. He can be reached at [email protected]