This is the time of year when baseball fever can hit hard. The news that pitchers and catchers have reported, followed by the regulars, is enough to get your spring mindset in place. You and find yourself soaking in every bit of news from Florida and Arizona you can get.
For a baseball broadcaster, it's a time of transition from offseason work to that thing you really look forward to: spring training telecasts. I have one more basketball game before I turn my mind to the diamond and it's about time! F.P. Santangelo and I will be in the booth when the Nationals host the Mets on Thursday, Feb. 28 and that'll be interesting as I've never done a pro baseball game in this month before. The World Baseball Classic has everything pushed up a week earlier than usual, and that's OK with me.
Spring training TV games are hard to prepare for. It's business as usual for the first three innings or so, then once the regulars have two at-bats and starters get their two innings, things get crazy. I love the access the Nationals give us during these games, as we may have the chance to do live interviews with Stephen Strasburg after he comes off the mound, or any position player after they've been pinch-hit for. The telecasts are a great way for us to get back into our baseball rhythm, and to chat about the upcoming season.
I have to be honest with you: During some spring games years ago, we were optimistic about the season, but probably weren't convinced things would turn out well - and we were right. But I really noticed a difference in the Viera clubhouse last year; you could just feel this team was good, and ready for a special season. It sure turned out that way, didn't it?
So it's with renewed optimism that we open up our spring training 2013 broadcasts on MASN next Thursday. I'm getting a little nervous at all this World Series talk, though. Let's remember that we all have hopes this time of year, but need to be careful about those becoming expectations. This game will exhilarate you and it can break your heart, so it's on to 2013 with that feeling that this year can be special, very special.
But let's play 'em one at a time, starting this week.