For literally no reason at all, I always await the day pitchers and catchers report with bated breath. In my head, I know that absolutely nothing important happens on that day. Why on earth do I care that Carl Newhouse is checking into the Embassy Suites in Mesa today? However, deep in the cholesterol-laden valves of my heart, I still long for it. "This is the first day of the next season of baseball." "Everyone is in 1st place today." "This could be the year."
Of course, it isn't the year. It isn't even close to the year. We'd probably be deluding ourselves if we said "this is the decade." Still, this is the day we can be our most optimistic. People are showing up to camp in the best shape of their life! They've been working on a new pitch this offseason, a reverse curveball that bends upwards! Everyone had LASIK! It's an open competition, and your favorite prospect may even break camp with the big club. This is the life.
Here's the spring training schedule for the cactus league. The Cubs still have 2 weeks until they play their first game (and it'll be quite the garbagefest, with plenty of whomever this year's Brent Lillibridge is in it). For all of our readers who just can't wait to see their first glimpse of the Aaron Cunningham/Chris Valaika era, this is your chance.
This is the list of non-roster invitees. A sentence on each of them:
Marcus Hatley strikes a lot of people out, walks a lot of people, and is a dark, dark darkhorse to make the pen out of ST.
Kyle Hendricks had a season worthy of competition for the #5 role, but he's likely the first man up in Iowa.
Tommy Hottovy is maybe 4th on the LOOGY lists this year.
Eric Jokisch is just happy to be here. He'll head to Iowa during the second round of cuts.
Carlos Pimentel laid waste to his winter league. I'd like to see him get a shot because he's earned through upper minors service.
Armando Rivero took a hard left halfway through last season into "not-goodsville." He hasn't returned yet.
Jonathan Sanchez threw a no-hitter once and an 8-hitter 8 times (not that he finished those games).
Brian Schlitter is a decent pen option in a sea of decent pen options.
Tsuyoshi Wada was a guy I had high really high hopes for when he came over from Japan, and I still think he could eat some innings in the back of our rotation as the 2nd man up.
John Baker hasn't been useful in a while, but that's why he's going to be in Iowa.
Rafael Lopez is probably the starter in Iowa next year, and has some talent.
Eli Whiteside is a pure emergency contingency.
Kris Bryant has yet to fail in professional baseball, and won't until he sees the majors May of 2015.
Ryan Roberts has yet to recapture the magic from 2011, but is a serviceable UTIL even excepting that season.
Chris Valaika is the first guy cut.
Albert Almora probably has the most important minor league season this year, and I await his performance with some anxiety.
Chris Coghlan was a Rookie of the Year, now he's just a Guy Who Is Here.
Aaron Cunningham is a 7th outfielder, and we'll carry 5 so you do the math.
Mitch Maier is the other competitor for 7th outfielder.
Darnell McDonald was serviceable last season, and is a 5th OF you can live with.
Casper Wells is stopping here on his 30-team world tour.
Baseball is here at last.
When's the trade deadline?