Hmm. So, I was going to write something trying to justify not putting up a single post for over two months. I even started typing it. But let's face it. There is no possible justification for taking such a holiday right after your team wins a ridiculously improbable American League championship.
The dark months of winter have passed (well, February in Scotland is still firmly winter, but you know what I mean...), the American football season is over, and the (proper) football season in England is reaching its climax.
And yes, baseball is back.
In an odd way, I'm not quite excited yet as I normally am by the time Spring Training kicks into gear. I have a feeling its partly due to the fact that last year I was still watching baseball deep into October - a full month later than I've normally closed the book on the season. Then of course, there is the nagging fear - if that's the right word - of expectations. For possibly the first time ever as a Rays fan, I actually have some. I'm not really sure what to do with that. Frankly, while I know that I have some real expectations for the team this year, I'm not entirely sure what they are. A repeat AL title? Another win in the East? Just getting to the playoffs again? Being happy with challenging the hyper-spending Yankees and Red Sox? I don't know yet what I'd be happy with.
Anyway, as ever in baseball its been all-change over the winter in St Pete. For a start, the Rays aren't in St Pete at the moment - they're at their new spring home in Charlotte. Then there are the player comings and goings. In: Pat Burrell, Matt Joyce, Gabe Kapler, Brian Shouse, Joe Nelson. Out: Edwin Jackson, Eric Hinske, Cliff Floyd, Rocco Baldelli, Trever Miller, Jonny Gomes (sad face :-( ). Plus a few others in both columns. At some point I'll probably give my thoughts on the new faces, but here is a rather important one for starters - I really don't know that I'm comfortable having two outfielders called Gabe.
And since the last time I posted, Dewayne Staats has a new partner for the TV broadcasts. Not exactly a major news story in the grand scheme of things, but for someone who is limited to watching games on TV, it is important. I've already posted on the hard job that replacing Joe Magrane will be, and the man taking on the challenge is Kevin Kennedy. I've only read good things about him so far, so fingers crossed.
I haven't seen yet when the first Rays spring training game will be shown on MLB.tv - will have to check on that. Actually, just typing this has made me a bit more excited about seeing them in action again.
Excellent. Rays baseball 2009 is go.