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Pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training today

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Nothing can make this a bad day

I work in downtown Columbus. Parking around here is brutal, which I guess is shamefully common among American cities of a requisite size. Just across the river from my office is the lower-class industrial neighborhood of Franklinton. Despite its prime location adjacent to the hubs of commerce and state government (and COSI!), the neighborhood has steadily declined for decades. It has become a locus of gentrification over the past few years, but there is still free street parking. It’s just a mile+ away from work, but that is less than ideal when it is 20 degrees and I’ve been sitting in traffic for the last hour. So I put my bike on the back of my car and ride in and out every day. I have resorted to the unconscionable extreme of subjecting myself to physical exercise because I will be goddamned if I’m gonna pay $200 a month to park in the garage.

It wasn’t too cold for my ride yesterday morning. It was a brisk 28 degrees when I checked it, but the sun was shining. And I swear to god, I caught the faintest hint of a familiar scent in the air. It was gone the second I noticed it, and it is possible that it wasn’t there at all, but nevertheless it led my mind to the unmistakable memory of a fresh spring breeze. It is mid-February, after all. Whether it was real or not isn’t really all that important. In my mind, I was already there. Calgon, take me away.

In just a few hours, we will get the first photos and short videos of Spring Training from the beat writers and other folks in Goodyear, Arizona. There will be a clip of two lines of players long-tossing with only the a-rhythmic THOKS of balls popping in gloves for a soundtrack. There will be a pic of Joey Votto walking with Billy Hamilton carrying bags of baseball gear. There will be a shot of a cross-armed Bryan Price surveying some players taking grounders like he is Douglas Fucking MacArthur in the Philippines or something. I haven’t seen them yet, but nevertheless I can see them in my mind from unmistakable memories.

Today, pitchers and catchers officially report to Spring Training and we will have our baseball back. I love that smell.