I could almost smell it in the air this morning, mixed with the blinding sunshine, melting snow and constant chatter of Super Bowl predictions. We are finally in February, the month that Spring Training begins. Baseball is near.
The countdown timer on MLB.com tells me 12 days, 17 hours and 46 odd minutes until the first pitchers and catchers report. By my count, the first Rockies' pitchers and catchers will show their faces in Tucson in about 14 days, 17 hours and 46 odd minutes, as I type.
Even though this has been the shortest offseason ever for the Colorado Rockies, it seems like it's been the longest one for me – the Rockies fan. Enduring the sting of seeing the Rockies make the World Series, but get embarrassed in a 4-game sweep has been difficult. I've endured ribbings from the Bostonian-transplants out here in the Rocky Mountain State, particularly from staff members of the 9NEWS Assignment Desk. It feels like a long, long time since the Rockies took the field, even though in baseball terms, it hasn't been long.
I've been passing the cold winter days by rooting against all things Boston - the New England Patriots, Boston Celtics and Boston Bruins; and I've been following the hot stove league on mlbtraderumors.com and listening to innumerable trade or free-agent musings on baseballchannel.tv.
This winter, of course, we all had to endure the release of the Mitchell Report. Recently, I picked up Game of Shadows and started reading it. Can't believe I didn't read it sooner. I guess that kind of makes me like almost everyone else in baseball, I was keeping my head in the sand when it came to steroids.
I've also killed a little time by practicing for the 2008 fantasy baseball season, participating in a few mock drafts on mockdraftcentral.com. (Great site if you've never been there before.)
Lately though, I've been playing a lot of MLB 2K7 on Xbox360. In fact, I tried to construct the 2008 Rockies team and even gave Stewart, Baker, Barmes and Quintanilla all a shot at the 2B job (I never got around to creating Jayson Nix)(He wasn't in the 2007 game).
Instead, I found a suitable second baseman by doing what any Rockies fan/video gamer would do, I created a player with my name and gave myself the job. (Of course I had to do the Xbox version of steroids to inflate my character's skills and make him a superstar. But, at least the video games haven't yet figured out a way to incorporate busting juicers. Yet.)
Ahhhh, February. Spring Training is on the tongue of the 9NEWS sports department. The weather is starting to get a little nicer. The Colorado Rockies are almost back, and I can't wait. Two more weeks to go. I'm sure they'll be the longest two weeks yet this offseason – save, maybe, the week we spent waiting for Yorvit Torrealba's deal to fall through with the Mets. Thankfully, it fell through.
In two weeks, we will start to see exactly how the defending National League champions will respond. How will they defend their crown? How will they perform with a target on their back? And who will play second base? At least I know one thing for sure: It definitely won't be me.
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