Every spring about a half-dozen Rays-related stories about how so-and-so is in the best shape of his life or how this pitcher learned a new grip that should make him better and every year some fall into the hype trap; it's a rite of spring, really. This year I'm going to try and track the most notable ones, just to see whether they ever come up again upon failing to turn players into immortals. It's really a study in correlation and causation.
First up, a simple one: David Price underwent LASIK a few weeks back. Improved vision is a pretty respectable reason to improve and could be a reason for improved command. So could simple regression, as showed last season. There's a decent chance he's going to walk fewer than the 3.8 per nine innings he did this year. If that happens, you know what set the improvement off? Improved vision baby.
I don't believe anyone has actually reported that one yet (I'm sure they will now though!), but this MLB.com piece on B.J. Upton includes the most overused spring cliché of them all:
"I'm in the best shape I've ever been heading into a season," Upton said. "I'm more excited, definitely after coming off the year I had last year. I'm just ready to go and help this team win ballgames."
Fantastic. This lame attempt at a series is in the best shape of its life.