It has been a long, hard year, something I think most of us can attest to. 2020, among other things, brought us a shortened 60-game baseball season, denying most fans their most beloved distraction. Obviously there were very good reasons for the season being shortened, but now, as spring training 2021 has started on time, fans have reason to hope for a full season this year.
Parks across the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues welcomed fans (in reduced numbers, of course) back to the best place in the world: the baseball stadium. Some games were shortened by several innings, but all the same, it was live baseball on our TVs and on our radios.
I don’t care if you think spring training games don’t count for anything. The wins felt like wins, and just seeing baseball played again made me feel lighter and happier.
- Pete Alonso shares why he gave up social media (something we should probably all do), story by Deesha Thosar.
- A.J. Hinch talks about his return to major league ball following the Astros cheating scandal, and on what it means to get another chance, with Cody Stavenhagen. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Dan Caesar looks at why Tim McCarver won’t be broadcasting any Cardinals games any time soon.
- Joon Lee brings us Francisco Lindor doing his best Eddie Murphy impersonation.
- Jay Jaffe assesses what to make of Carlos Correa, if Fernando Tatis Jr. is potentially the next Carlos Correa.
- Last fall, Tommy Pham was stabbed. This week he reflects on how lucky he is to be alive and back in the game. Two stories, one from AJ Cassavell and one from Associated Press, share his journey back to health and baseball.
- Just going to get a little dust out of my eye as the crowd cheers for Trey Mancini, who returns to the game having beaten colon cancer.
Let’s take a minute to appreciate the umpire pretending to clean home plate for 30 seconds so Trey Mancini could get a standing ovation pic.twitter.com/G0gulVeUOe— Ben Porter (@Ben13Porter) February 28, 2021
- Michael Shapiro shares the story that led to the moment above.
- A new startup softball league might change everything we know about how teams are run. Story by Emma Baccellieri.
- On the topic of how things are run, revelations over the past weeks have put the darker aspects of how teams handle their behind-the-scenes works, writes Buster Olney.
- Last week we shared a clip that announced names were coming back to the Giants jerseys, and now the ever-delightful Grant Brisbee shares a bit more detail about the move. (The Athletic subscription required.)
- Speaking of the Giants, Brandon Crawford talks to John Shea about how much he misses signing autographs in spring training.
- We all love to use the Baseball Bugs gifs when a slugfest is happening, and Frederic J. Frommer looks at the classic Looney Toons cartoon 75 years later.
- Michael Clair is looking to get contentious while choosing the best ball cap ever for each team. For what it’s worth I think he nails it pretty much across the board.
- Joe Rock, a prospect with an 80-grade baseball name, threw a no-hitter last week, writes Rob Terranova.
- What does the minor league restructuring mean for those teams who got lost in the shuffle? Chelsea Janes looks at the fallout from the offseason moves.
- I don’t mean to steal thunder from Cub Tracks but oh my goodness these photos are too cute not to share.
And tomorrow will be a better day than today, Buster. Make it so.