The Super Bowl is now over so the baseball fans among us will soon hear the terse yet soothing sentence “Pitchers and catchers report.” These four words, more than the appearance of robins or crocuses, tell us that spring and the return of baseball are truly not far off. Fortunately, for those of us who live in the south, neither are they very far away. Approximately 500 miles separates Atlantans from the spring training sites of numerous American and National League teams, including our own Atlanta Braves.
For the baseball fan spring training offers some very satisfying moments that the regular season can’t. The first, and most obvious, is a chance to enjoy genuine spring weather while the calendar still says it’s winter. Friends back home are still wearing coats and checking the weather reports for snow but you are wearing shorts and checking to make sure you brought sun block. (And you should! It isn’t usually very hot but the sun it still strong.)
Another treat is the sense that you are getting an insider look at the baseball season before it begins; sort of like being able to watch rehearsals for a Broadway production from the wings. All the legends and rookies and free agents are arrayed before you. Watch them perform and guess who the next star will be! You’ll know before anyone back home.
Are you a people person? You’ll find that everyone sitting around you is a fan just like you so the ice is already broken! You might be sharing your row with a family from Minnesota or some young women from Toronto or an older man who just happens to be from very near your home town. It doesn’t matter. Everyone has stories to tell and reminiscences to share. You may not be there to root for the Cleveland Indians but you’re part of a tribe nonetheless.
Still not convinced? Well, the ball parks are smaller, autographs and foul balls are easier to get and tickets and concessions are less expensive than at the regular season games. But if you still need a nudge, consider these books which are available at your Dekalb County Public Library system.
- Spring Training by William Zinsser
- Spring Training: Baseball’s Early Season by Dan Shaughnessy and Stan Grossfield