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And It Officially Begins: Pitchers and Catchers Report

The quest for the Phillies' third straight World Series appearance, fourth straight playoff appearance, and second World Series title in three years officially began today, as pitchers and catchers reported.  The first official workout is tomorrow.

Position players get a few more days of rest, as they don't report until Monday, with their first workout Tuesday.

It's probably some form of old age jadedness, but I just don't get as worked up for today as I used to.  Sure, I'm excited about what it means in the long-term, as it's one step closer to the start of meaningful baseball.  But, I'm also not at all excited about what it means in the short-term -- fluff pieces in the paper and on TV about guys who will never see the light of day in Philadelphia; debates about fifth starters who will inevitably change three weeks into the season; hopes being pinned on the fourth bench player or long-reliever who appears to be a diamond in the rough in March but will have a sub-Mendoza batting average or Lidge-2009-esque ERA come May.  And all those defensive-line numbers on the backs of jerseys just make me feel uncomfortable.

And I'll tell you the one thing that really makes me feel sad this February/March.  One of the sure signs that baseball was upon us in years past was the first time I heard Harry Kalas on the radio or TV calling a meaningless game on a beautiful Florida day.  Hearing his "dulcet tones" for the first time always made me happy, even if I knew the baseball being played wouldn't do much for me.

This year, we're not going to hear Harry.  Not this month, not in April, not in October.  It's still hard to believe he's gone.

And on that cheery note, happy pitchers and catchers report day to you!