Thursday, February 17, 2011
There is always something special about the first day of spring training. The early morning sun on the perfectly-maicured baseball diamonds, the freshly-cut grass, the energy of the clubhouse, the hellos and greetings of teammates and of course, the first time players head out onto the field for workouts.
In some ways, nothing tops it.
This marks my 20th spring training in baseball and it never gets old.
I still remember getting off the plane in Sarasota, Fla., and smelling the scent of flowers in the air. Spring was here.
Staffers like Herm Schnedier, Brian Ball, Vince Fresso, Gabe Morel, Roger Bossard and Ed Cassin come down days early to prepare fields, clubhouses, training rooms and travel plans for everyone.
Many players wander in early as well. Yesterday, I saw AJ, Gordon, Mark Buehrle (with kids in tow), Edwin Jackson and many other players around the clubhouse, sneaking in a workout.
Ozzie and Joey stopped by yesterday to set up their offices before heading out to get in what Ozzie called a “terrible” round of golf at the Wigwam.
Jake Peavy looks to be in amazing shape from his rehab.
Started early at 5:30 with physicals for pitchers and catchers (picture lots of athletes walking around with specimen cups), poking and prodding.
At 9 a.m., Ken Williams and Ozzie Guillen hold their first staff meeting of the spring with coaches and instructors from all levels of the organization.
Then the team heads out to the field at 11 am for a workout that roughly goes:
Pitcher Fielding Practice (PFP)
Then, like shampoo, we’ll wash, rinse and repeat tomorrow.
It seems a little strange to not have our friends from MLB Productions and The Club around this year, but there is plenty of other media at hand, from local Chicago TVs to writers, columnists and ESPN crew.