I’ll say it again: Pitchers and catchers.

For baseball fans, those are three of the sweetest words in the English language.

Gaylord Perry once said “The trouble with baseball is that it’s not played the year round.”

Rogers Hornsby once said “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.”

Neither is completely true anymore, because there is baseball played in the Caribbean during the North American winter, but what Perry and Hornsby said still work for me.  Yes, I love football, and yes, I love hockey but, in the final analysis, both are merely placeholders until baseball starts again.

And today is the day.  I live pretty much halfway between where the Orioles train (Sarasota) and where the Pirates train (Bradenton), but my heart is in Port St. Lucie, where the Mets train.  Unfortunately, that’s a good 150 miles from my home, and I won’t be able to get out there this year.   The good news is that I already have tickets to see the Orioles and the Pirates, and one of those games will be the Orioles and the Mets on April 3.  That’s the closest I’ll get to seeing them this year, but at least we have a Single-A team in Bradenton (a farm club of the Pirates called the Marauders) that plays the Single-A St. Lucie Mets, so I’ll get my fix that way.

Yes, the Mets were bad last year, but I have loved them since the mid 1960s and have no plans to stop.  Roger Angell, one of the best baseball writers in the country, once wrote “There is more Met than Yankee in all of us.  What we experience day to day in our lives is much more losing than winning.  That is why we love the Mets.”  So true.  Check out Angell’s “Season Ticket” or  “The Summer Game.”  Both are outstanding but, to be honest, you really can’t go wrong with any of his books.