SPRING TRAINING IS HERE!
Long has been the winter of our discontent, but finally, the sun shines again upon Arizona and warms the fields for the return of baseball. Pack the freshly pressed uniforms, the mud-rubbed balls, the sunflower seeds, and the Gatorade. Pack the canned nacho cheese, the popcorn, and the beer kegs. Pack the cameras, the tablets, and the cell phones to cover every last second. It's time for a road trip to the sunshine state!
Obviously there are miles upon miles of checklists that will be gone over with several varying degrees of fine toothed combs to make sure nothing is left out. There are a few select items that should be on one or more of these lists. Certain items one might not consider as essential, but items that will definitely prove useful as the season progresses.
Albert Pujols, for example, needs to bring his bat. Not just any old bat, but HIS bat. An injury in the second half of 2013 put his post-all star stats WAY down, but even before that Albert was missing his mojo. Nagging pains and steadily decreasing production have made many anxious about his ever-inflating yearly salary. Albert needs to silence the critics and rediscover the intangibles that made him "El Hombre". He can start by picking up his bat and slamming a few over the wall like the Pujols of old
A new Angel, David Freese, will need something special as well. David isn't familiar with how things are done in Anaheim. Questionable pitching changes, both lineup moves made and obvious moves missed, a bare-cupboard farm system, and several gargantuan contracts to work around is more drama than he may be used to. This, of course, is all in addition to the adjustments of dealing with a new work environment. The man needs to be well stocked in squeezy stress balls to help burn off some of that nervous energy.
(While we're speaking of team aggravations, someone should order the bullpen a set of high quality riot shields for all of the flak they'll take from fans and critics alike this season.)
One could argue that the only thing Mike Trout needs to bring for the season is Mike Trout. There is, however, a key item he should not forget. Mike needs to bring his finest ostrich-feather quill with which to sign a new multi-year deal. Any contract he signs would need to reward him handsomely and a grand contract should be signed in a grand fashion. There can be no greater way to sign than the very same way the Declaration of Independence was signed by America's forefathers.
The trucks are stocked, the television cameras are being tested on their mounts, the groundskeepers are making sure their lawnmowers have one last top-off, the umpires are preparing loads of tea and honey to soothe their throats to make calls, and the fans are preparing cold beer to soothe their throats to complain about the calls. Everyone's ready for the season to start. The travel and stadium preparations hold several very important items that aren't on the list: A clean slate and a chance to start something great.
Just as long as Arte Moreno remembers to pack his checkbook. None of this is going to be cheap.