Baseball did a great thing for us snow birds and decided to start spring training at the perfect time of year. The excitement of the holidays is over, we have already given up on our New Year resolutions, the Super Bowl is in the past, next....BASEBALL!
I can't count how many people have told me they are counting down the days until they get down to Jupiter to watch the Birds get ready for the season. The weather alone is enough to draw even the moderate fan to Roger Dean Stadium, but the Cardinal faithful understand that spring training is so much more than just the workouts and games. Where else can you go and have such an up close look at some of your favorite players, and watch some of the up and coming stars for the first time? Autographs and photos are easier to get, and a little Vitamin D in our system and a little sun on our pasty skin isn't going to hurt anyone. I usually head down south, looking like I spent the winter working in a flour factory, and my eyes typically need two days to get accustomed to the brightness, but the instant change in weather tricks our minds into thinking that spring is here.
I personally enjoy reconnecting with all the guys and listening to how they spent the offseason. Many weddings again this offseason, and babies born. New homes built and even a couple of guys celebrating the fact they were given a new contract. We welcome in the new players and see some of the minor leaguers we haven't seen since last spring. Anticipation is just like the expectations...high. Everyone has a clean slate and a new start to their career, with the ever present reality that this season could be the one to set their career on an even better trajectory.
I am anxious to address the guys as a group and point out some things we did very well last season, while setting our course to improve on some others. Excellence is always the aim, as it is at the core of everything the Cardinals stand for. Proud to be a part of this group, and looking forward to seeing many of you down in Florida, supporting this team.