It's Truck Day, y'all!
Well, it was yesterday, anyway. For the uninitiated, no, Kevin Cash did not pack the entire roster into a semi-truck Partridge Family-style. Instead, the Rays started shipping their uniforms, bats, balls and everything else you need to play good ol' game of baseball down to their minor league facility in Port Charlotte, Florida.
But the most important thing about Truck Day is that it means — drum roll, please — baseball season is almost here! That's right. You can finally stop pretending to like soccer (sorry Danny and Ian), stop waiting desperately for March Madness to start, or at least stop waking up in a cold sweat in the middle of the night, yelling, "RUN THE DAMN BALL, CARROLL!"
Is that last one just me? OK, moving on then.
The Rays don't have quite the trip some other teams do. Port Charlotte is only about an hour down I-75 from Tropicana Field. But still, it means something.
"[It] means we're close to getting started," Chris Archer told MLB.com's Bill Chastain.
I could wax poetic on what the start of baseball season means. It means spring, the season of life and eternal growth, is around the corner. The sun will shine, Florida will begin its usual daily late-afternoon thunderstorms, and maybe Boston residents will be able to see their sidewalks and streets again (sorry DRaysBay writing staff).
But whether the summer of 2015 will be stormy or sunny for Rays fans really depends on a whole bunch of different variables. There are more question marks than exclamation points. Will Kevin Cash be a better manager than he was a player? Can Chris Archer and Jake Odorizzi complete their development and anchor the rotation? Will Joe Maddon break the Cubs' curse? Well, let's not get crazy now.
The point is that everything is a possibility, and for a couple more months, that type of excitement and optimism can exist for every team's fans until it's later dashed by injuries, poor performance and who-knows-what.
But for now, don't think about that. Just take solace that our long, national, off-season nightmare is almost over.
- Valentine's Day is tomorrow (did you forget?) and that means mlb.com is covering past player proposals. They didn't mention Alex Cobb's adorable dolphin tale from last off-season, but there is a video of Jaso talking about his terrified bride to be after a six mile hike.
- Ian Frazer ponders the Immaculate Inning for Baseball Prospectus, including an appearance by the Rays on either side of such an event: Brandon McCarthy's consecutive three-pitch K's of three Rays last season (Myers-Franklin-Joyce) on Sept. 17, and Brad Boxberger's May 8 gem of an inning against the Orioles:
Just as a reminder, Boxy did that with no outs and the bases loaded.
- The Dodgers swiping Andrew Friedman from the Rays was the best move of the off-season, or so says Dave Cameron. And after watching Friedman turn the Rays from cellar-dweller to consistent playoff contenders, can you really argue with him?
- Do you dig the longball? Well you're not alone. MLB is worried about low strikes reducing teams' offensive potential, so they are considering changing the strike zone, as Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports. No word yet on whether the curveball will also be outlawed and batters will be able to request the pitches' location, as they were in the 1800s.
- Additionally, Jon Morosi has the latest on pace of play rules being considered, including batters needing to keep one foot in the box, play beginning immediately after commercial breaks, and a 12-second countdown for pitchers to throw from when they've received the ball when the bases are empty.
- The Yoan Moncada sweepstakes continues, and the Cuban free agent is still working out for MLB teams. This ESPN article says Moncada wants to sign before the end of the month, with the Yankees, Dodgers and Red Sox are among Moncada's courters, and he is expected to cost whichever team signs him upwards of $30 million.
- Alison Gordon, baseball's first female beat writer, passed away at the age of 72.
- By now, you've probably heard the disappointing story of Jackie Robinson West Little League and how they were stripped of their title. SB Nation's own Ricky O'Donnell wrote his own take on the situation and what he thinks it means for the city and youth sports as a whole. Go check it out.
Almost there... pic.twitter.com/eAfdFE9DyF— DRaysBay (@draysbay) February 13, 2015