(full credit for the above photo to intrepid reporter Jordan Bastian. If you're not following @MLBastian on Twitter....well, you oughta' be. You can't pay for this type of spring training coverage.)
"It's a good time to be a Blue Jay"
....and with that, we're off and running.
Before we get started, let's get one thing out of the way....if you think that I'm above a hackneyed, cliche-riddled blog post on the beauty of spring training, well.....you obviously haven't been following along.
Seriously, is there anything better than the start of camp? New faces trying to show they belong. Old faces battling to maintain their spots. Players in their prime establishing leadership position. Which brings us back to the quote above.
If fans of the team were worried about a leadership void after the trade of the Jays heart and soul, Aaron Hill is showing he's ready to be The Man inside the clubhouse. That's big. At the ripe old age of 27, Hill spent his first day in camp setting the bar for all current and future Jays:
"I hope these guys know what kind of opportunity they have," Hill said. "If I'm seeing it, I just hope that they see it. I love seeing guys really get after it and fight for it. I hate seeing young guys, or anybody, that just expects to be given something. You should always work for whatever it is -- not just baseball. I want to see the edge, the fire in these guys' eyes, to get out there and just kick some butt."
Hill has a unique perspective in that he's had to battle hard to get back on the field after the knockout blow by that goon Eckstein (heyo!). Realistically, I don't think anyone should expect the second baseman to belt 36 home runs again this season, but Hill is already showing his value to the club lies far beyond that.
Catching up with Doc (already)
I can't wait for the time that I can read a Halladay-related article without my heart sinking. Here, Griff (who's a monster in the spring, by the way) finds ol' Roy still saying all the right things and doing nothing to ease the pain.
Do a quick google news search, if you're brave enough, and you'll find a boatload of the requisite articles detailing how the Phillies youngsters are soaking it all up, getting into camp earlier than ever, sponging up the knowledge, etc. Ugh.
....and getting to know Drabek
It's not all sad times. Now that spring has arrived, we'll get a chance to learn more about the future of the club, starting with this quick piece on key rotation piece Kyle Drabek.
Nothing groundbreaking here, except for the money quote:
"I kind of like blue."