Watching the Cubs and Angels on Fox Sports West today. I guess the blackout doesn’t apply to spring training. First thing I noticed is that their #27 (Mike Trout) looks a little different than the Cubs’ (Josh Vitters). Then again, everyone’s #27 looks a little different than the Angels’. Also, Raul Ibanez is still playing baseball?
Anyway, that’s not the point. The point is the experience of watching spring training on TV. I’m pretty sure the main appeal of preseason baseball on TV is to tune and in and just watch the warmth. Especially this winter. We kind of just want to watch the sunshine for an hour or two. And to maybe hope that one day it’ll make its way our way. These days, it feels like it never will.
But spring training games on TV are like the friend in another city. The view is the conversation on the phone you have with them. It’s not the same as being there or having them with you whenever you two want. But you get to hear the jokes or the affection you have each other and remind each other why you love each other in the first place. It’s a small reminder why you bother staying in each other’s life even though you don’t see each other most of the year. And you can’t wait for them to come back home and be part of your life every day again.
Or maybe it’s just the sun.
You get to see Dallas Beeler’s Roy Halladay’s impression, at least in delivery. You get your first look at Mike Olt’s swing (looks a little long). You catalog the first time you see Javy Baez’s swing, because you know one day it’s going to be a major tenet of your existence. There’s tons of those little flashes in a spring training game, and most of them are meaningless.
You know you won’t learn much from one at-bat or one or two innings on the mound. You’d like to think you’re that good of a scout, but you’re not. No one is. It’s just a snapshot. It’s barely one stroke on the whole painting.
But as you look out your window and only see snow and slush and ice, you can turn to your TV and know that before too long, if you can hold out just a little longer, it will be better. Sure, the Cubs won’t be any good. But it’s better when they’re around than when they’re not. Spring training on TV reminds us of this. It can’t be cold forever.
And I guess that’s the Cub fan existence right now. Staring out the window and seeing the harsh present, but looking into a portal and seeing that it can’t be cold forever. You only get snippets now. But they’re there. One day.
It can’t be cold forever.