1. SPRING TRAINING!!!!!!!!!! I'm so excited. Seriously. Words cannot describe how great a day it is, even though it was so windy that I thought I might blow away walking to class. But, to be honest, I'm just happy that there will now be actual baseball-related material to talk about. I'm already sick of talking smack about A-Rod [who knew that could happen?].
2. Josh Beckett is reportedly in great shape [not that they would say anything if he wasn't]. Apparently he scored better on a shoulder-strength test than he did even back in 2007. You know, that year when he won 20 games... and I think there might have been some Postseason dominance, maybe a ring...? Beckett is currently playing for a 2010 option that will automatically vest if/when he makes twenty-eight starts. The option is for $12 million, and here's what Josh had to say back in 2003 when he signed the deal: "I didn't go for top dollar. I wanted to play here. I've already made quite a bit of money in this game." Wow. I don't think I can adequately express how much I love that the Sox have so many players who just love to play - oh, and to win.
3. Jon Lester was one of the first players to get to camp, and weei.com is reporting that he's put on a few pounds of muscle since the end of the 2008 campaign. Hopefully it will be enough for him to hold up for the whole season like he did last year. On another note, here's hoping that the Sox FO do the right thing with this guy and lock him up long term. I for one don't really think that they'll extend Beckett past 2010 [although it's possible, as he'll only be 30 years old], and Jon Lester definitely has the makings of an ace. Obviously something about Portland, Maine is a good influence on young players.
4. Justin Masterson might be as whipped as Mark Teixeira. Again according to weei.com, he bought a Mini Cooper becasue his wife wanted one. I'll just tell myself that's as far as it goes... hopefully Mrs. Masterson doesn't suddenly decide she doesn't like the stores on Newbury Street. But seriously. Watch the video. Masterson is quite the character. In pitching related news, Justin will be going through Spring Training as a starter, and likely make the switch to the 'pen closer to Opening Day.
5. Hideki Okajima threw 78 pitches in his bullpen session today, more than any other Sox player. John Farrell quipped that he looked ready to start the season. Brad Penny also looks to be ready for some serious baseball, throwing off a mound for the first time since he was shut down in September. He credits the Sox doctors with helping him get over his injury, and was seen joking around with fellow recovering-ex-Dodger Takashi Saito. The last of the rehabbing new-additions, John Smoltz, will be taking it slow, as the Sox don't have any pressing need for his arm right away.
So, there you have it: spring is here... or tantalizingly close, at the very least.
Seriously. Watch it.