Many feel the best thing about Spring Training is the abundance of "hope" shared by every team and it’s fans. An "inside-out" appeal which springs the feelings that this "could be our year."
For me, though, the best thing about baseball this time of year is more about the sensory appeal. An "outside-in" reaction to the sights, smells, and sounds of the greatest game on earth.
The grass is greener here than anywhere else it seems. The fields are perfectly manicured. The edges are sharp and the dirt looks firm but soft at the same time. The uniforms are rich with color and contrast…and not a whiter white exists, than the white on a Major League uniform.
Fresh cut grass, warm desert air, and the "from the wrapper" smell of new equipment are the easy ones to pick out. They are all distinct, but they are not unique to baseball. Nope, there is only one "bouquet" that is specific to the grand ‘ol game. It’s the difference maker for me. Pine tar. It is slowly being replaced by tar "sticks" but the pine tar rag can still be spotted in on deck circle’s everywhere. If you know it, you can probably smell it right now. If you don’t, not to worry. You’ve experienced it if you’ve ever been to a ballgame.
The hum of a lawnmower, which means "growing" grass which means winter is almost over. The pops of the gloves, the cracks of the bats in the cages, and the clicks of spikes on the concrete as the players walk from the clubhouse to field.
Those are the "pleasant" sights, smells, and sounds of spring.
The "unpleasant" also exists!
Like the sound of Ned Yost’s air horn. Used to signal a station switch in the workout schedule. Necessary, but annoying. As you get lost in the bliss of the sun and the chirping birds, nothing slaps you back to form like the WAIL of the Skipper’s air horn. Especially for me…because I’ve been televising golf the last four years. In golf, an air horn means bad weather and a suspension of play…which means I have to go to my "fill" material…which also means the tournament might not end on time…which means I’m going to miss my flight home. I’m going to suggest a whistle, or cowbell, or a rain stick…in a few years.
Also on the "un" list: The smell of the clubhouse…post workout…post lunch. Time to call it a day at that point.
And finally, the unpleasant sight of a grown man reaching into a blazing fire at the Greasewood Flats, pulling out Aleta Mercer’s discarded, half-eaten bacon-cheeseburger, and making it his own. Attaboy…enjoy!
So you see, there’s a little Yin and a little Yang here in A-Z…or is it a little Yin and a little Spring Yang-ing. Either way…all is well…in Maryvale.
Here’s a tune you might like: Click here.
Please feel free to send your thoughts/questions by clicking the "comments" icon below.