What does MLB Spring Training Symbolize?

More than just Baseball

Oh, how this is my favorite time of year.  Baseball is starting back up, flowers are beginning to show, the weather is trying to warm up, and college basketball is nearing the Tournament.  I can’t wait.  Besides those amazing things going on during this time of year, there are even more that make this, truly, the best time of the year.  Everyone has grown tired of the weather during the winter months and are beginning to develop a depression.  We’re praying for sunlight and warmer weather.  St. Louis is notorious for giving teasers of Winter being over, only to slam to door shut with frigid temperatures for a couple of days.  Oh, to be a cold or flu virus during these times.  You’d be thriving and having the time of your life.  Sorry, I was imagining the movie Osmosis Jones, where the virus’ had actual personalities.  [If you haven’t seen it before, I highly recommend it.]  Ok, back on topic, where was I?  Oh yes, the temperature has sure seemed to have been riding a yo-yo these past couple of weeks.  I’m so tired of it.

Back to the best time of year though.  Here in St. Louis, at least in my eyes, Spring begins when Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training.  If you didn’t already know, we love our St. Louis Cardinals.  My brothers used to always tell me the countdown till they reported and they had a mini celebration when they did.  But then the countdown changed to Opening Day.  As of the writing of this post, there are 31 days until the Cardinals Opening Day on March 28th.  I know that I’ll be somewhere watching the game as they take on the Milwaukee Brewers at 1:10 pm CDT.  This will be a good year for the Cardinals, I can just feel it.   Growing up in St. Louis, I have become a die-hard fan of the Cardinals and feel absolute joy when they are playing well.  In the backyard when I was little I used to imagine myself playing for the Cardinals, helping them win the World Series by robbing a homerun that would have won the game for the opponent.  My neighbor and I took turns pretending to rob homeruns over the white picket fence in my backyard.  If I remember correctly, he was Brian Jordan and I was Ray Lankford.  Great, I just reminded myself that I just missed meeting Ray Lankford many times when I had a broken leg and went to the doctor to get it checked out and the cast changed.  I was told, everytime, that I missed him by about 30 minutes.  Looking back, I have a feeling that they were pulling my leg, pun intended.  But with all seriousness, Baseball season symbolized that school was nearing its end for the year, which meant many, many wiffle ball games in the back yard.  A few times my friends and I actually kept stats for the summer; it wasn’t too hard as there were usually just four of us playing.  These times helped build who I am today.  I would still enjoy playing games all day during the summer with my friends and family.  I still have that competitive mindset where I want to win and be the best.  I no longer dream of playing for the Cardinals, but I dream of being the best version of myself and achieving other goals that I have set for myself.  Seriously, I continued to dream about being a professional athlete through my freshman year of college, however, at that time it would have been for football.  That’s a story for a different time, I’ll just say, I was cut from a Division-1 Football team for being too small. 

Another great part about Spring’s arrival, is that the bulbs that were planted in the Fall are starting to sprout.  Just seeing new life sprout out of the ground makes me smile and excited for the new season to begin.  Seeing this is a great reminder that if you plan on having a vegetable garden this year, it is probably the right time to start your plants, indoors.  This is on the schedule for the next few weeks for me, as I want to be ready for planting time.  It is great to have your own garden which allows you to save money at the grocery store.  It is also fun to grow vegetables that you can’t get at the store; I tend to try to grow super hot peppers so I can use them in sauces and salsas.  Every year, I choose a different plant to try to grow, some are successful and others are not.  For two years now I’ve tried to grow green beans up a trellace on the fence in my backyard.  This would work if we didn’t have a dog who enjoys eating leaves.  Those plants get eaten before they even have a chance.  Also, he likes to pee on them.  We’d really have to wash them good before considering eating those beans.  We’ve learned and created a garden space in our front yard for multiple reasons.  One for sure being to have a chance to grow stuff without it getting eaten by our dog and him peeing on the food.  The other big thing is that we have a Black Walnut tree in our backyard, and I learned that it is very difficult to grow tomatos around a Black Walnut tree as the leaves, walnuts, and roots have a toxin that tomatoes don’t like. 

One of the other big things that I love about Spring, and Spring Training’s arrival is that it is a great cue that it is nearing, is March Madness of NCAA Basketball.  As a guy who went to the University of Kansas, I feel that I have a horse in the race every year, including this year, even though they’ve had a down year.  It is a great time to be a fan of college sports.  I enjoy watching most college sports.  I, somehow, am still a Kansas Football fan, despite their struggles in the past decade (or longer).  When I was there they were a really good team and even won the Orange Bowl; I take credit as I was on the team the semester before.  I was lucky enough to be able to go to the game and even have an orange from it still.  No, it didn’t get all moldy and nasty, it dehydrated itself on the shelf in my room and is now basically a rock.  I wish I could find a way to authenticate it, as it is probably the only orange actually remaining from that game.  Back to basketball though. During the time that I was a student at Kansas, they won the NCAA Basketball National Championship. That was a great time to be at Kansas.  It was crazy being on the main street in Lawrence, Kansas.  There were estimates of 100,000 plus people on the street partying.  I’ll admit I was no exception.  I wasn’t going to miss out on that!  I still have a jersey that I bought that day and I still feel that it is lucky.  The first weekend of the tournement is the definition of controlled chaos, but I love every minute of it as a fan.  If you’ve never experienced the rush of watching the emotional roller coaster that the teams go through during the games during the tourniment, you need to check it out.  I always fill out numerous brackets and am even in a few with money on the line.  On those, I have to fill out two brackets so I can pick Kansas as the winner and one where where Kansas doesn’t win.  I know that I am 100% biased, and make an effort to think about if they were to lose a game, where could it be.  I have to play against my heart.

Now that you understand why I love when Spring Training starts each year, I hope you will go out and enjoy the warmer weather, watch the Cardinals do great this season, and Kansas will do great in the NCAA Tourniment.  I also hope that you take time to plant yourself a little garden.  There are so many aspects of life that improve when the Pitchers and Catchers report for the season.  I can’t wait to get home today and check on the bulbs around my fence and begin to plan out the garden.  It will be a great season full of growth and hopefully, real estate activity.  I hope you all have a great day and let go see some houses.

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