Wednesday, March 03, 2004

Pitchers and Catchers and Hardball, Oh My

Last year was perhaps the most enjoyable baseball season of my life. The Sox' success, and how they accomplished it - with heart-stopping victories, wall-banging offense, and superb team chemistry - certainly ranks high of the list of reasons why I'll remember 2003 fondly. I think, though, that this little blog and the focus it forced me to have on each day of the season played a significant role in my enjoyment of the season past. Actually thinking about baseball, and about the Sox gave me both an outlet for emotions and a reason to reflect more deeply on the team, and that led to some insights that probably wouldn't have been possible in other years. For example, I'd have never adopted my "stay on target" mantra in an otherwise normal year - I'd have given up on the team dozens of times. Instead, I knew and believed enough about the 2003 Red Sox to remain positive (indeed, to have ushered in an era of positivity), and was rewarded by a breathtaking late-season and playoff run - a run that was cut short only because of Grady Little's addle-brained management of the season's final game. (For the record, that's the last time we'll mention that man's name in these pages.)

Enough about last year, though. Baseball begins in earnest this week, and, in fact, Whitney's Mets are on television at this very moment in their first exhibition contest. The Sox and Yankees were engaged in one of the most spectacular offseasons in the history of the sport, playing a high-stakes and high-dollar game of one-upmanship that brought Curt Schilling and Keith Foulke to Boston, and Alex Rodriguez, Kevin Brown, and Javier Vazquez to the Bronx, and ratcheted the already boiling feud between the teams to Hatfield & McCoy levels. I cannot wait for this season to begin. Can not wait.

Season preview, such as it is, to follow in the next several days. Whole new target, and a whole lotta ball left. Applications for new slogans are being accepted at the ticket window out front.