Toronto Blue Jays pitchers and catchers report for duty on Valentine’s Day, and that is the best gift of all
It seems quite fitting that pitchers and catchers are reporting on February 14th this year. It is, after all, the day to celebrate love. For many of us, myself included, celebrating a love of baseball is definitely in the plans. A celebration not only of the love of baseball, but for loving the fact that it is finally back.
Every season my heart drops at the sound of the last out being called. The games leading up to that day are revered. The sounds of the crowd, the crack of the bat, the taste of a ballpark hotdog with just the right amount of mustard, are things meant to sustain me through the incredibly long space in between that final out in the fall, and that awaited first pitch in the spring.
October has been a bitter sweet month for blue Jays fans lately. After a 22 year post season dry spell, the past two seasons have seen the Blue Jays playing beyond the lazy days of summer and surging head first into the cool fall. The idea of October baseball itself is fantastic, and is celebrated wholeheartedly. It is some of the most exciting baseball to watch, and can also be the most heartbreaking. Each game though, brings with it that glaring reminder – mainly through the horror of a permanently closed roof- that baseball is coming to an end soon and that the long wait for spring training is set to begin. The countdown is real.
This off season has been a rather frustrating. There were times of complete silence that seemed to stretch for days, feeling like weeks. To make matters worse, watching fan favourite Edwin Encarnacion fly the coop was nothing less than a complete heartbreaker. The relative quiet of the Blue Jays front office didn’t help the situation either. With 11 Blue Jays becoming free agents at the end of the 2016 quite frankly I expected more action. Instead of a continuous stream of Blue Jays talk I was left scouring around, looking for news, updates, any acquisitions, anything. The table scraps were few and far between. Totally not helpful when going through what I refer to as Blue Jay withdrawal.
The word from Ross Atkins, is that the organization is happy with how the team is looking so far. He even went as far as saying, to Bob McCowan and Arash Madani on Prime Time Sports, that while the Blue Jays were open to improving the team in any way possible, they were confident in the team at hand. While certainly not all Blue Jays fans are feeling it yet, on this day meant for love, maybe it’s time to embrace the team, cheer them on and let them feel the love.
Today is a day to focus on the feels of baseball. Pitchers and catchers are back to work. That alone is enough to make me smile. To be able to see this team, the fruits of their work this off season come to fruition is exciting. Who can forget the transformation Aaron Sanchez made during last years off season? Russell Martin has been posting great clips of his training , easing fears of a reported knee surgery affecting his play and most likely the reason he was left off the roster for team Canada, and it has been a welcomed preamble to what is to come.
— Russell Martin (@russellmartin55) February 9, 2017
Bottom line is, all I want for Valentine’s day is Blue Jays baseball, and it looks like I will get my wish. I know it’s going to make my heart swell three sizes, perhaps even skip a beat or two. The wait is finally over. Spring Training is here and I couldn’t be happier. Baseball is way more than a game to me. It has been my happy place, my safe spot, my emotional outlet, my joy. And it’s back. On Valentine’s Day.
*Featured Image Credit: C Stem- JFtC
THANK YOU FOR VISITING JAYS FROM THE COUCH! CHECK US OUT ON TWITTER @JAYSFROMCOUCH AND INSTAGRAM. LIKE US FACEBOOK. BE SURE TO CATCH THE LATEST FROM JAYS FROM THE COUCH RADIO