Last season I made an effort to listen all around the league and find different radio casts that I enjoy. The Indians and the Nationals have solid radio crews, the Cardinals and Braves teams are entertaining -- I don't want to sound too biased, but man do I love Rays Radio on 620 WDAE.
Andy Freed and Dave Wills are quality announcers, incredibly informed, even keel, and personable. A great tandem, they're even hard to tell apart. When someone I know that doesn't "get" watching 150+ baseball games a year, I'm quick to remind them how you develop a relationship with the players and the announcing crews -- video and radio broadcasts alike.
Watching the first televised spring training game with the Red Sox broadcast was personally painful. A tease of what the season will be. It was worse than waiting for season to start. But today there was no video broadcast, and I turned to Rays Radio. It felt like going home. Welcome back, baseball. I'm glad you're finally here.
Another advantage to spring training is how candid players can be. The reporters and beat writers have access to not only the full 40-man roster but non-roster invitees, and we the readers are the beneficiaries.
A couple highlights from the weekend include many of the Rays rising stars on their first appearances of the Spring:
Relief pitcher, journeyman, and all around inspirational Juan Sandoval...
Future starting rotation mainstay Chris Archer, who was throwing "easy heat" at 95-97 but was focused on his changeup...
The jewel of the farm system Wil Myers, whose first hit wouldn't come until his second game...
Potential fifth starter Roberto "Fausto" Hernandez...
And Evan Longoria, talking about the birth of his daughter Elle Leona.
All featured videos courtesy of the Tampa Bay Times.
The Tampa Tribune:
- Giving a proper spotlight to Jose Molina's talent for framing pitches
- and Jennings says he needs to relax.
The Tampa Bay Times:
- On David Price assuming a leadership role in the wake of Shields's departure
- More on Evan Longoria and fatherhood
- and Kelly Johnson's hesitancy to wear an outfield or first baseman's mitt.
- Rays blogosphere personalities Jason Collette and Sternfan are featured on the inaugural "Podcess Report", led by Toby David, discussing Fausto's potential, Jeff Niemann's viability, and the Rays' off-season moves.
- Jonah Keri leads the charge as mlb.com opens up the video vault for all our viewing pleasure.