“People ask me what I do in winter when there’s no baseball. I’ll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” -Roger Hornsby
The wait is over. Today, Rays pitchers and catchers report to spring training. After a long winter without even a postseason appearance, the Rays are back in action. Imagine the tall palm trees and sun shining bright in the Florida sky, the sounds of the baseball’s soft thud as it lands in a leather glove, and the laughter teammates share as they reunite after their separation in the offseason. All eyes will be on ace David Price, the reigning AL Cy Young Award winner as he leads the pitching staff now that James Shields is gone.
In less than a week, the first full-squad workout will take place, and Charlotte Sports Park will be booming with the sound of the crack of the Rays’ bats. Every Rays fan cannot wait to see slugger Evan Longoria unleash behind the plate with his explosive bat. Hopefully 2013 will be the year Longoria can lead the Rays to another postseason run after missing 85 games in 2012 due to a hamstring injury. Although center fielder B.J. Upton is longer in the outfield after signing with the Atlanta Braves this offseason, fans will still watch the out field as prospect Wil Myers is invited to spring training.
Some old, familiar faces are gone from this year’s squad, but the locker room will be abuzz as some of the Rays’ offseason additions like shortstop Yunel Escobar and infielder/outfielder Kelly Johnson are welcomed to the team. We no longer have to stare out the window and wait for spring. The only thing fans will be watching is how the Rays prepare for what is hopefully their most successful season yet.
Welcome back spring.