This time of the year, fans of the Tampa Bay Rays and every other major league team will have a reason to look ahead to the beauty of spring, and the hope that a World Series championship is in their club’s future. By February 16th, pitchers will have reported to all MLB teams’ spring training sites. By the twenty-first, all position players will be in camp. By the twenty-second, each team will have begun full workouts. No matter where the Polar Vortex is sitting, in Arizona and Florida, major league teams will be in full swing.
Kids are already on the field in Florida, and the Rays are making sure they’re outfitted and ready to go. While everyone else is looking for the big leaguers to get started, the Rays are looking to the future by serving the community in the present. They’re launching an initiative to provide jerseys and caps for 5,500 Tampa Bay area T-ballers.
Chris Archer has seemed to me to be an old soul. By that, I mean that it seems he has a depth of thought and awareness that generally comes with someone a bit older. Although he plays the game with the joy of youth, he views life with a value for history, and the understanding that what we do today has an effect on tomorrow. And now, he has an up-close-and-personal appreciation for our military.
Now, it’s time to begin the calculus of putting together a big league lineup for the Rays. I’ll be looking forward to seeing how the puzzle is put together, no matter who is supposedly going to be traded, who will be sent down, or who will move into a slot by a strong spring training showing. And no matter what that lineup looks like on opening day, I am sure that Joe Maddon will mix it and match it to put players in their optimum spots to help themselves, and ultimately the team. But first, it’s time to simply enjoy pace of the spring, with the belief in a wonderful future.