I have a Christmas cactus that is just now breaking out in blooms. It’s the middle of February. Two months off. I might have liked it to be in bloom as part of our seasonal celebration, adding to our decorations. But then I thought about the blooming now, as pitchers and catchers report to Spring Training camps. “Hey, that’s kinda cool,” I thought as I reflected on the excitement I always feel when we get to this part in the calendar. The rest of the guys won’t show up for a couple of weeks. Then things get rolling full steam ahead. I’ve written before about Spring Training, here as well as in my book, so I’ll let that topic go for now…except to say that recognizing the nascent blooms on my plant are not unlike seeing the stirrings of some pitchers and catchers around the Spring Training facilities. Something is happening. Something is “up.”
A friend of mine is an agent. Throughout the long dormant season (i.e. winter) I am interested in his travels and his activity. I know better than to grill him on what deals he’s working on – with whom and what team – but I am interested in the general state of the game. I worry about another crippling strike. Owners, players, everyone on the fringes, as well as fans, all have a stake in keeping the game alive. I understand that there are business aspects to the modern game and that there are competing claims, differences to be negotiated to every side’s satisfaction. Working under the radar, out of sight for the most part, my friend and others help ensure that teams will field players and the greatest game ever invented will continue to fill our days and nights with joy (not to mention new records, exciting plays, and dozens of hot dogs). Only now is that work coming into focus, beginning to blossom.