We now have real stories to talk about. Ones that actually occur on the baseball diamond and not in our minds. It's Spring Training. All 30 teams -- for now -- are at least somewhat optimistic about the season ahead.
Take the Braves for example. There is excitement about seeing their bevy of young talent take the field every day this month to get some work. The double play tandem of the future, Dansby Swanson and Ozzie Albies, will see some action together. Pitchers like Aaron Blair, Lucas Sims, and Sean Newcomb are getting their chance to show that they belong in the big league rotation at some point this season. Mallex Smith will get his shot, and excited everyone by dominating on Wednesday.
Some of these guys will struggle in Spring Training and some will excel, and fans will be tempted to (not just tempted, they actually will) overreact in both directions. But for now, excitement abounds.
Take the Phillies. It's a pretty safe bet that they will not be very good this year. But Maikel Franco is crushing baseballs early in camp, and people are excited. Heck, maybe Ryan Howard will show some promise this month, and give fans at least a little hope heading into April.
Take the Marlins. Well, let's don't. They aren't allowed to grow beards.
These three teams will likely bring up the rear in the National League East this season, but don't tell their fans that now. This month is about hope and pride in your organization, and being hopeful that the future is bright. We can save the bad vibes for the doldrums of summer, when teams are out of the race.
All in all, it just means baseball season is back. And that's a great thing. The Braves or any other team may not have the best year, but at this moment, we're fired up. Who knows? Maybe your team will be better than you think. They may also be worse than you hope.
We would also like to extend our condolences to Shannon Forde and the Mets organization. The longtime Mets press staffer passed away after a courageous battle with cancer. For those fortunate enough to know her, it is obvious that she was one-of-a-kind to work with and to be around. She will no doubt be missed.