There’s a point during Spring Training you reach where you find yourself longing for nine good innings of baseball. It’s enough, some days, to get three or four innings of great pitching and strong hitting, but this Sunday I found myself wanting a game that mattered, something that counted for more than who would be sent to to minor league camp. The beautiful sunshine and the palm trees are a welcome distraction, but I find myself more than ready for a cool evening at Nationals Park, a hot dog with onions, and a fearsome 95mph Jordan Zimmermann fastball fanning whichever poor sap has to stand in the box.
I find myself lonesome, amid the snow, for my summer family, and more than ready for long homestands and long road trips, for weekend series in the sun, and cool nights on the Scoreboard Walk. While the team is still tuning up and finalizing their roster, I find myself ready for the fast forward into the summer and beyond. Baseball’s time for contemplation and anticipation isn’t present in the hockey and basketball seasons, where fast twitch and endurance outweighs the national pastime’s focus and civil pace. I miss that slowdown.
This purgatory of baseball, before the final tuneup games, and after the start of the spring’s excitement is almost excruciating. It appears Danny Espinosa is back and healthy, but no match for Anthony Rendon at second. Ross Detwiler appears to be the Nats’ fifth starter, ending the starter debate, and Christian Garcia looks to be the contender for the 13th pitcher slot. It looks like Tyler Moore is going to be the odd man out in the outfield, joining Zach Walters on the Infield side. Lobaton will take the backup role behind Wilson Ramos, barring injury. The team’s just about assembled, from here on out it’s about honing skills and building up capacity.
It’s hard to wait out these last few weeks, especially when the weather’s as crappy as it’s been. In the meantime, here’s some James Earl Jones reminding you why everything will be good again.