Originally posted on The Sports Rocker  |  Last updated 2/12/12
Yesterday, pitchers and catchers for the Mariners reported for spring training. Today, they worked out for the first time. Finally. For me, this is the start of spring and the end of the darkest month-long period in the sports year. The boredom is over; it's safe to be a fan (and a blogger) again.

With the exception of the Super Bowl, the weeks between the end of college football bowl season and the start of baseball spring training are mediocre. NBA is in full swing but as I've said before, we all watch two times a year: Christmas and the playoffs (late spring). The same goes for the NHL; we watch the outdoor classic, sometimes the All-Star game but we're really just interested in the playoffs.

In late January and early February, the college football world is largely a void except signing day. College basketball is in the heart of the conference schedules, still weeks away from March Madness. College baseball has barely started scrimmaging. There is some soccer but let's be honest, if it's not World Cup or Euro, I'm not interested. And NASCAR won't begin until around Valentine's (this year, the 18th).

So there becomes a void for about six weeks where either the sport you love isn't on or the sport that is on is in a section of its calendar that is largely irrelevant or unexciting. That all changes this week. There are few phrases I like hearing better than "Pitchers and catchers report..." It means winter is almost done. (If you're an Orioles or Mets fan, it means there's still a chance. Unfortunately, winter will again set in soon enough for you two fan bases, say, around April 10th.)

The Mariners are the exception, however. Pitchers and catchers for the rest of baseball don't report until next weekend, with position players to follow mid-week. (A full schedule can be found here.) After that, clubs will whittle down the rosters and begin sending players to the minors in early March. Practice and scrimmages will ensue (the Mariners and A's start us off) and we'll have to do that for a month before the season final starts in April.

But that will be okay, March has plenty of other sports to fill in the gaps of baseball news. It's the getting from January to March that is tough. And today, with the line "pitchers and catchers reported...", it got just a little bit easier.

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