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Yep, that’s right, I’m already dreaming of spring and all the wonderful things that come with it. Must be the two seed catalogues I got in the mail yesterday. Can’t wait to get out there and dig in the dirt!

Or maybe it’s the weather; in the 60’s today with lots and lots of sunshine. Sure does feel like spring to me!

Or maybe it’s the fact that I’ve been spending quite a bit of time online looking at the Red Sox home page, checking out the Spring Training schedule and counting down the days till the first Grapefruit League game. March 3rd! That’s only 61 days away!

Happy New Year everybody–and here’s to a better year for the Sox!

 

 

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Well okay, not so much here in the mountains where it’s another rainy cold day, but in Florida, with less than a week to go until the first game, baseball is definitely getting warmer because…Manny’s in the house!  For the first time since 2005, Manny arrived on time for Spring training, and from his statements to the press he’s ready to play and looking forward to this season.

Could it be his last as a Boston Red Sox?  I have a hard time believing that and hope it won’t happen.  But then, as everyone knows, I’m a Manny Fan Girl.  I just can’t imagine the Red Sox without him, can’t imagine watching a game where there isn’t the Big Papi/Manny threat hovering over the opposing pitcher’s head, can’t imagine a time when another player will take on the job of taming Fenway’s Green Monster.

The Red Sox without Manny?  Say it ain’t so–ever!

And then there’s Jacoby Ellsbury.  I caught an informative and interesting article about him in Men’s Vogue the other day.  Did you know he’s the first Navajo to play in the Major Leagues?  Just another reason for me to appreciate him.  I’m not an official FG of his yet, but the more I learn about him the more I like him and I can see myself becoming one, especially after reading the article.  Here it is if you’d like to read it:

http://www.mensvogue.com/health/feature/articles/2008/03/jacoby?currentPage=1

Like I said, very interesting.  Put longer hair on him and he could be the cover model for the book I have coming out later this year, Snow Shadows.  Yep, he could be my Cherokee shape-shifter, Matt, especially since he spent his time in the off-season beefing up.

Hmmm, I wonder if he’d be open to posing for a pic of a paranormal romance hero who, in my editor’s words is “SO HOT!”  (hee-hee, I’ve been giggling over that little tidbit for days!)

The thing is…I’m about 50 pages into the next book, Storm Shadows (working title), and now I’m starting to worry about making the hero of this one, Matt’s brother Marc, “HOT!”  Can I do it?  Well, the only thing to do is write the story.  And now that I have a picture in my head of Jacoby Ellsbury, I think that will help immensely because the brothers in each of the four books in this series look very much alike, about the only difference being the color of their eyes and the length of their hair.  Jacoby’s is still shorter than Marc’s, but not by much.

So thanks, Jacoby, for the inspiration!

I’m not a big fan of Valentine’s Day.  Don’t know why that is, it just never meant very much to me.  I mean I love getting flowers and my husband just sent me a beautiful bouquet of red carnations–my favorite–but I’m not into chocolate and I’m against the whole card thing because hey, dead trees!  So Valentine’s Day is way down my list of preferred holidays.

I know, I know, I write romance, it should be right up there at number one, right? 

Well, this year it is, because it’s also the day pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training.  You know what that means–baseball season is almost upon us and after the beating the sport–and my love of it–took yesterday, it can’t come soon enough for me.

(Fair warning I’m going to go off on a little side rant here!)

So, I wasted two hours of my life watching Roger Clemens testifying to Congress about the Mitchell Report yesterday.  If you ask me, Clemens represents everything that’s wrong with professional sports and after his repeated attestations of innocence, I found myself having to control an urge to throw the nearest hard object at my TV.  Good thing I didn’t have a baseball handy!

Can we all say overpaid arrogant jerk?  Well, I can, and let me assure you, I did.  Several times, in fact.

The thing is…I already knew I didn’t like Clemens, but after yesterday I have to tell you, I’m even more disgusted by his wife.  There’s an acronym that’s popular in the romance community right now; TSTL.  It refers to a character, most often, but certainly not limited to, the heroine of a book who is Too Stupid To Live.

And that’s exactly how I feel about Debbie Clemens.  It’s bad enough she’s married to a jerk, but now she’s letting him use her to try and clear his name…or maybe just deflect some of the suspicion away from him…or something.  I’m not really sure at this point, but IMO, her saying she let Brian McNamee inject her with HGH without her husband’s knowledge, just made me think maybe these two were meant for each other.

Why would a woman do that?  Why, if you had a husband who was being raked over the coals, would you throw yourself down there with him?  I suppose it could be love, but I think it’s more a case of protecting all those millions her husband has milked from baseball.  Or maybe she’s been living with someone who is TSTL for so long that she’s caught the disease.  Whatever.

And so, on this day for lovers, I crown her TSTL Queen of the Day.

As for Mr. Clemens, my pick for TSTL King, I’d like to ask him what kind of a man that makes him?  You remind me of the playground bully who when challenged runs home to Mommy and hides behind her skirt.

Like I said, arrogant overpaid jerk–and might I toss in, moronic, idiotic, childish, immature…well, you get the picture!

Okay, now that I’ve got that out of my system, I want to wish all of you a Happy Valentine’s Spring Training Day!  The future’s so bright we have to wear shades…

Especially if you’re a Red Sox fan!  

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!”

  

The sun is shining here in western North Carolina–finally!–the thermometer’s pushing 70–take that Mr. Groundhog!–and I just saw on the Red Sox site that Jon Lester is in Ft. Myers already doing the Spring Training thing!  Woo-hoo!  

Now that’s exciting news for a baseball fan like me and the fact that it’s Jon Lester makes it doubly exciting!

For those of you who don’t know who Jon Lester is, I offer up this little bit of wisdom:

**Jon Lester, who came back from a cancer diagnosis in 2006 to win this year’s World Series clincher for Boston, was honored Wednesday with the Tony Conigliaro Award for overcoming adversity through spirit, determination and courage.

The 23-year-old pitcher was diagnosed with a rare form of non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma in August 2006. After cancer treatment during the offseason, he started the year on the disabled list. Lester was recalled in July and finished the regular season 4-0 with a 4.57 ERA.

The thing is…I saw him pitch with the Portland Seadogs in Maine before he was diagnosed with cancer, was devastated when I heard the diagnosis, and thrilled beyond belief when he returned last season after going through chemo-therapy.  And the fact that he won the Tony Conigliaro Award last year means he’s a winner in my book–forever!–because, well, you know how I feel about Tony C!

And judging by Lester’s early appearance in camp, he’s just as anxious as I am to get this season started!

So, am I ready for some baseball–yes!  Yes!  Hell, YES!  Bring it on! 

 **Copyright 2007 by the Associated Press–here’s the full story:  http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/news/story?id=3132061

Whistling Woman by CC Tillery

Winds of Fate

Storm Shadows

Snow Shadows

PMS Anthology

Romance of My Dreams