Saturday, February 19, 2011

Oh, Hey. Pitchers and Catchers Reported This Week

I'm not sure if you noticed, but the earliest parts of baseball season are upon us, meaning pitchers and catchers reported this week. Now, in years past this news was unbelievably exciting, to the point that I would make sure the entire world knew all about it. Of course that remnant of my college years there came in 2007, four months after the Mets had been tantalizingly close to a World Series berth and seemed primed to challenge for another one. This season is another matter. Pitchers and catchers reported this week and I was, well, kind of ambivalent.

And how did that happen, you ask?

Well, despite all seeds of optimism -- such as the realization that the Mets actually have a pretty decent roster if they stay healthy -- most people agree this could be an awfully long season in New York, and that apparently extends to players who haven't even been on the roster for 20 years. Then again, unlike the players on the current team, Tim Teufel actually won a World Series. Regardless of the misfortune affecting Mr. Teufel, I am almost overwhelmed by how not overwhelmed I am by the Mets this season. This is the first time in at least a decade that pitchers and catchers have reported and I've been almost ambivalent about it in every sense.

Don't get me wrong. I will still be watching baseball enthusiastically all season long, and I am currently planning a trek to the southwest to see the Mets visit Arizona and San Diego in August -- remarkable considering they're likely to be well out of the race by then -- but something about this season just doesn't excite me like it has in seasons past. We'll see if a few spring training games actually get me back into the swing of baseball fandom.

In the meantime, at least there's one team that's giving me a reason to get excited about the next few months.

This one.

I'm not entirely sure how the Devils have suddenly turned on the switch, and as I said last week, the excitement cause by New Jersey's current run is likely too little too late, but that doesn't make it any less fun; particularly if they can knock off the currently eighth-seeded Hurricanes in Carolina tonight and trim that postseason deficit to 10 points with 23 games to go. As I've said before, if that happens, I'll actually throw my support behind this foolish run. A run that, if you hadn't paid close enough attention, has now given the Devils a 14-1-2 record in their last 17 games.

And if you are as excited about the Devils right now as I am, surely you just can't get enough hockey, and if that's the case you must be totally pumped up for the inaugural Hockey Day in America tomorrow -- a day to celebrate America's deep-running love of hockey.

Yes, that exists, oh naysayers. Just because you don't care doesn't mean millions don't. In any event, there is nine hours of hockey coverage on NBC and Versus tomorrow, including NBC's first ever NHL doubleheader, but you probably knew that since you read that totally great article about NBC's coverage on earlier this week. You always keep up with your NHL news, just like how you were looking for hourly updates on Dustin Byfuglien's contract extension late Tuesday night or Steve Yzerman's thoughts on facing the Red Wings for the first time in a professional capacity.

Regardless of the fact that none of you reading this actually probably care about any of those topics, Hockey Day in America should be fun, if not busy for me at the office. All four games NBC is showing should be pretty decent matchups and the whole day is capped off with the Heritage Classic in Calgary, which, like all outdoor games, will be a lot of fun.

Lastly, if the Devils impending hot run that winds up just short isn't enough to excite me (WARNING: DAVE IS ABOUT TO TALK ABOUT AUSSIE RULES FOOTBALL) Geelong's 2011 campaign down under is about a month from getting underway, and its opening match in the preseason NAB Cup bounces tomorrow afternoon. Yes, I know what what you're thinking. "How are the Cats going to compete to their typical standards with Gary Ablett Jr., the best and fairest in the game, taking his talents to the brand new Gold Coast Suns?" Yes, those are valid concerns. But remember, this is still a rich, deep, and young roster, with strange talents like Corey Enright, Steve Johnson, Tom Hawkins and my personal favorite, Joel Selwood. Don't forget the experienced leadership of Cameron Ling, Brad Ottens, Cameron Mooney and Darren Milburn. Geelong, which was one win away from a fourth consecutive Grand Final appearance this past season, will still have the talent to be in the mix.

Heightening this excitement? AFANA just announced this season's impending schedule for broadcasted games on, because unfortunately that's really the only way to see any footy these days. And the best part about this schedule is that of the 22 matches Geelong will play in the home and away season, 11 of them will be streamed live on Best of all? The one announced live match to be broadcast on ESPN2 this season is Geelong facing off with Port Adelaide on Sunday morning at 12 a.m. on April 10 in a rematch of the 2007 Grand Final, Geelong's first Premiership in 44 years.

Aren't you excited, too? No? Well, don't worry about footy then. Or hockey.

Did you hear pitchers and catchers reported this week?

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