Only a day and a half until the pitchers and catchers report for Spring Training–those that aren’t already there, of course, like the inspirational Jon Lester–and with each passing minute, I’m getting more excited.  Not just because baseball season is fast approaching, after all opening day is still more than a month and a half away, but to me, that day in cold, dreary February when the pitchers and catchers report, is the epitome of what spring is all about–new birth, endless possibilities, and a brighter, warmer outlook…er, weather forecast.

Don’t get me wrong, I love winter, but the way I see it, if I can’t have cold and snow, give me warmth and sunshine.  If I still lived in Maine–where I’m told they got another 8 inches of the white stuff this past weekend–I’d be willing to wait for spring because, hey, what else can you do up there?  And besides, the long wait makes it that much sweeter when it does finally arrive.

But down here in North Carolina, where we’ve had maybe an inch of snow total this winter, and we’ve been plagued with cloudy, gloomy weather for the last, oh, millenium, or so, I’m more than ready for spring. 

And spring to me, means baseball!

So, I’ve moved the official site of the Boston Red Sox up to the top of my favorites list and I’ve been checking out various sports blogs for a little entertainment.  It won’t be long, I’m sure, until the first thing I do in the morning is turn on Sports Center and suffer through the seemingly constant basketball coverage, just to get a minute or two of baseball news.

But right now, I’m watching the blogs and the Red Sox home page, both of which are starting to heat up like the weather in spring.  Here’s the latest news (in no particular order of importance):

1.  YOUK!  Kevin Youkilis just signed a one year, three million dollar contract and will be back at first base this year.  Quite possibly the best news I’ve heard in this long, long offseason, because IMO, he’s one of the most underrated–and underpaid!–players in baseball.

2.  Curt Schilling is already on the DL and likely will be out until at least the All-Star break with right shoulder problems.  I’m not sure how I feel about this…Curt’s an asset to our pitching staff, granted, but I think it might have been a good thing if he’d retired this year.  Sorry Curt!  You’ve been a favorite of mine ever since I first saw that commercial you made when you came to Boston–you know, the one where you’re hitchhiking?  Can’t remember if it was Dodge or Ford or even Chevrolet, but I remember when the truckdriver picks you up and asks where you’re going, you answered (paraphrased), “Boston.  I’ve got an eighty-six year curse to break.”  When I saw that commercial, I got a funny feeling that you just might do it–and I was right!  So, while I value you for everything you’ve brought to the Red Sox–including your um…outspoken bluntness, shall we say?–I still think your best bet for this year may have been retirement.  Too many injuries over too many years, and no matter how much I love baseball, it’s still not worth your health.

3.  Moonshot Manny!  From everything I’ve read, he seems more relaxed and happier than ever that he’s a part of this team and I think the team will only benefit from that.  I’m not happy that it’s his last year under contract with Boston because as you know, I’m a squee! fangirl! of his and can’t imagine the Red Sox without him.  But I’m glad he’s more content than he has been in the past and well, you know, the Red Sox still hold options for the 2009 and 2010 seasons.  *fingers and toes crossed as I pray to the baseball gods for the owners not to let you go*

In the words of Jon Lester:  “It’s going to be another fun year, and hopefully, we can go do it again.” 

Oh yeah!

And from Tessie by The Dropkick Murphys: 

“Boston, you know we love you madly,
hear the crowd roar to your sound!
Don’t blame us if we ever doubt you,
You know we couldn’t live without you,
Red Sox, you are the only only only!”

  

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