Ahhh yes, the sound of the crack of the bat, the pop of a glove.  Baseball is back; well sort of.  Pitchers and catchers don’t report until February 14th, full squad reports on the 19th and the first game is on February 22nd vs. Northeastern and Boston College.  (They begin Grapefruit League action on the 23rd vs. the Twins).  However; the most important day of all is February 5th, truck day.  Which is the Monday after Super Bowl LII, yes the day where they load up the 18 wheeler for it’s annual journey down to Ft. Myers, FL and it’s the day dreams are made of.

Spring Training is hands down the greatest time of the year.  It’s the beginning to the end of our winter doldrums as we finally get to see America’s pastime being played yet again.  Honestly, my favorite game is the games vs. the college kids.  I’m the biggest Boston College fan that you’ll ever find and the fact that my BC Eagles get to face off against my favorite pro team in the Red Sox makes me feel like a 5 year old all over again, and that’s the real purpose of Spring Training in my mind.  Bringing out your inner kid.

spring training facility

I mean, just look at how beautiful this place is!  It really is heaven on Earth.  I haven’t had the luxury of seeing the new facility in person…yet.  I’ve been to the old facility, the City of Palms Park and let me tell you, that place was magical even though it literally had no mystique to it at all (probably because it looked nothing like Fenway).  But that didn’t stop the five year old in me from enjoying it.  Heck, I love Spring Training so much that I even went to the Twins training complex in Ft. Myers when I was down there to see the Sox play the Twins.

However; this year’s Spring Training is going to be a lot different.  Will J.D. Martinez be there?  How much will Mookie Betts play and did arbitration affect him at all?  Will we see Andrew Benintendi improve from last year?  What will Dustin Pedroia look like?  Can they keep up with the Yankees after their stellar off-season.  Personally, I don’t think the Yankees are going to be this mighty team like everyone thinks, in the last century here, they’ve really only been able to “buy” one World Series and that was in 2009.  However, the biggest question is…how will they do under Alex Cora as manager?  Yes, Cora did help lead the Astros to a majestic World Series run last year but he was the bench coach.  Now he’s the guy that has to make all of the hard decisions.

My WAY too early A.L. East predictions because hey, why not!?

  1. Red Sox
  2. Yankees
  3. Orioles
  4. Blue Jays
  5. Rays

I think that this Red Sox offense will produce when it comes to crunch time in September and October and I think Cora will manage Sale much better in the early part of the season but only time will tell.

Written By: Brian Berard (@RockyBerard)

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