With pitchers and catchers not ready to report for another few, it feels like this post is weeks early. But given the alternatives - I just don't have another "who makes up the bullpen" or "is there another move on the horizon" post in me - maybe now is the right time.
I miss the game.
There's something about baseball that keeps me completely engrossed for the 8 months of preseason through playoffs and leaves me itching for more during 4 months of offseason.
Normally, this is the point where I'd joke with you all about what a sad existence I must be leading that a 30-something year old dude is pining for the return of a game. A game. But the truth of the matter is, I lead a charmed life with no complaints a reasonable person could defend. So why is it that in both times of stress and those of relaxation, I find myself thinking about the upcoming season and the myriad of possibilities that could unfold?
It's certainly nothing I'd claim to be proud of, but it's not exactly, um....uncommon, let's say, that I may miss a question posed to me by the better half because I'm lost in thought about how Aaron Hill's statline might look by season's end.
Do I think he should have given her a rose? How in the fuck should I know, I'm trying to figure out if Rajai Davis' projected (in my mind) 53 stolen bases will be enough to compensate for his below-average OBP in the leadoff spot. Am I right?
And there's just something about this franchise today - the way decisions are being made, how one transaction can seemingly never be viewed on a standalone basis, or graded in the immediate aftermath - that screams the word "inspired". For me, anyway.
The hiring of John Farrell to run the on-field product was an inspired move. We (using the royal "we" here.....ie: me) all cried foul when names like Don Baylor or Bobby Valentine were run through the mill as potential candidates. Not prepared for the same old, same old, how could those guys even be considered? Well, speaking plainly, they probably never were.
Trading presumptive opening-day starter Shaun Marcum for Brett Lawrie was inspired. Some will tell you inspired by cost savings, still others will say it was a blatant effort to lose. But I'll argue it was inspired by a desire to win it all - eventually - versus a record 5 games better in 2011.
Trading Vernon Wells' contract was inspired.... by common sense. With an assist from west-coast lunacy.
And here we are. Two weeks away from the start of one of the most intriguing seasons in recent memory. Maybe since '93.
And I can't wait.