"Aaron Hill & Paul Goldschmidt hitting this morning. Been here for weeks." - Steve Berthiaume via Twitter
"The sky above the practice field was the color of television, tuned to a dead channel." With apologies to William Gibson, when you think of spring training in Arizona, this morning's weather is probably not included. It's grey, cold and damp. But who cares? Baseball is back, people!
Four words I've been eagerly awaiting to holler at @dbacks camp - WELCOME PITCHERS AND CATCHERS!— Derrick Hall (@DHallDbacks) February 11, 2013
Okay, this is really the falsest of false dawns. There won't be any spring training games for almost two weeks, a large chunk of the team doesn't have to show up until Thursday, and the key word today is "report." As Brad Ziegler pointed out, this is not the first day of practice: "It just means it's the last day we can arrive in town to get ready for practice TOMORROW!" So, if you were thinking of going out to Salt River Fields today, I probably wouldn't bother, because while there will be some players popping in and out, there won't be that much to see. I'd recommend waiting until everyone gets here and actual training begins.
But, still. Baseball, people. I dunno about you, but it seems like a very short off-season. Is it really almost four and a half-months since the Diamondbacks last took the field? Doesn't seem like it. Of course, it was a pretty active off-season, one way or another, starting before the playoffs had completed, with the trade of Chris Young. Hardly seemed like a week went by without action of some kind, either a signing, a trade or, at the very least, a rumor of a trade. I think that the disappointing campaign last year makes everyone, players, staff and fans alike, all the more eager to get back on the horse, as soon as possible.
Of course, "true" Opening Day isn't until April, and I wonder how long it'll be before we're all heartily sick of meaningless spring training contests, where the result is unimportant, and by the end, both teams feature a Who's He? from their rosters. But let's cross that bridge when we come to it. The next eight weeks are one of my favorite things about living in Phoenix. 15 major-league teams will all be living, practicing and playing within easy access - if you don't take full advantage of the opportunities that offers, you're sadly missing out. To finish with another quote mutated for spring training purposes:
"Is this heaven?" "No, it's Arizona."