People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball. I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring.” - Rogers Hornsby
I suppose we can start this post with a bit of an announcement. The Road to 17 cannot end with a rundown of 2008, because the road itself leads through 2009. Accordingly, I've decided to keep what is already the longest running column in WHYGAVS history running on an approximately weekly basis throughout this season. It's easy to get into a slump writing any blog, but it's especially easy to do when writing a blog about a baseball team like the Pirates. Too many times in seasons past, I've fallen into a "Links/Gamethread/Recap" cycle during the dog days of the summer, so keeping the Road to 17 running is my way of trying to make myself write something real about the Pirates at least once a week. Obviously the focus is going to differ from the off-season posts, but I haven't run out of things to write about in nearly four years on this blog so I'm pretty confidant I'll have something to talk about.
So maybe tomorrow will be a nine-pitcher carousel and the score will be so meaningless that they might as well not even keep it. So maybe the biggest reason I'll put the radio broadcast on my computer is to hear Tim Neverett call a game. For about a week now my mind has been churning with ideas for pre-season preview posts, ideas for video previews for FanHouse, and a million other things that go with baseball season starting. Football and the Super Bowl and everything was a blast, but it might as well have been a million years ago because spring training's here.
Every spring at least one person asks me how I can possibly be excited for baseball when I know what's coming with the Pirates. I never know how to answer that question, except to say that I really do love baseball. Every year has its own special moments, whether it's catching the last two innings of the ridiculous comeback against the Cardinals last year, staying up until an ungodly hour to watch the end of the 18 inning marathon against the Astros with my brother, or being at the Mackowiak double header with my dad. If I give up the Pirates, I give up the little things that make baseball awesome. I don't have to tell you that there's no way that's happening.
And so here we are on February 25th, and I'm checking Durham's schedule to see when Indy will be in town, I'm checking Lynchburg's schedule to see when they come to Winston-Salem in hopes that I can catch a glimpse of Pedro Alvarez, I'm upset that the Pirates only trip to DC this year is during the week so that I can't take a weekend to see them. It's baseball season. So maybe the Pirates will set the most ignominious of all sports records this year. That doesn't mean this season won't have its moments. And besides, who's getting off the train after coming this far?