The Super Bowl ended like 10 minutes ago, the Winter Olympics just got moving yesterday, much of the nation is still gripped by frigid temperatures, seemingly half of the free agent pitching class is still unemployed… and in Arizona, Dodgers pitchers and catchers are reporting for duty today.
You can obviously thank the unique March trip to Australia for the early start date, and while the players may not love having their winter break cut short, I think I can safely say that it’s wonderful news for the rest of us. Nearly four months after the season ended with a disappointing NLCS loss to St. Louis, I think we’re all ready for something new to start happening and for the 2014 season to get into gear, because this isn’t going to be just any season. This is a full year of Yasiel Puig, and hopefully of Zack Greinke. This is a season where PECOTA thinks the Dodgers will win 98 games. It’s where we learn about Alexander Guerrero, and see if Chad Billingsley — who has reportedly already thrown nine bullpen sessions — can come back strong.
That’s not to say there’s likely to be a lot of news for the next few weeks, because the early part of camp is always about workouts, stretching, and endless reports of players “being in the best shape of their lives”. (Looking at you, Dee Gordon, and Hyun-jin Ryu.) But I say that now, and realize that might not be so true: there’s still a good possibility that they add another infielder or pick up another rotation option (no, it’s not going to be Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez or probably A.J. Burnett, but half-decent and inexpensive options remain behind them), and then the first spring game is two weeks from Wednesday.
Whether or not any of us will be able to see that game is an open matter, of course, as we’ve heard little about any updates on SNLA carriage issues. (I assume you’ve already seen http://www.ineedmydodgers.com, and as I am reminded from the network via email, “The last – and most important – thing is that I want to make sure you, and fans, know that your voices really do matter. The more tweets, Facebook posts, Instagrams, emails and phone calls that are send to providers, the more apt they are to listen.”)
That will be sorted out in time, but for now, know that out in the desert, pitchers and catchers wearing Dodger blue are starting to get loose. It’s been the shortest winter in Dodger history (I assume), but it’s felt so long. Spring is near.