Judging by the amount of sneezing I’m doing and the amount of “best shape of his life” tweets I’m reading, I think it’s safe to say that Spring is finally here. The coldest winter in baseball’s recent memory is over and now it’s time to sit back and watch the boys play (in meaningless but still totally awesome games).
I don’t know about you, but this is how that makes me feel:
No Sunday scaries here pic.twitter.com/rICtbmED6M
— Tampa Bay Rays (@RaysBaseball) March 13, 2022
The return of Spring Training doesn’t just bring us in-game action. It brings us plenty to love off the field, as well. Here are some of my favorite moments from the week.
MLB Players Are Just Like Us
Really. They are. Sure, you have to ignore their freakish talents and physicalities. And their salaries. And their levels of fame. But if you can do all that, they really are just like us. Need some proof?
Just like us, they love Mike Trout and they aren’t afraid of letting the world know it…
“Is there any meaning behind choosing #27?”
“Mike Trout… I love you.”
(📸: @WatchMarquee) pic.twitter.com/0n4r1HegoK
— Cubs Zone ™️ (@CubsZone) March 18, 2022
Just like us, they sometimes forget to properly apply sunscreen and have to pay a pretty painful price…
I’ve got a bone to pick with whoever designed these Spring Training hats… @MLB @MLBNetwork pic.twitter.com/hOyDe8poZg
— Jake Burger (@Burgatron13) March 20, 2022
Just like us, they have side hustles, turning their passions for, uh, ice cream glove design into marketable schemes…
Jazz Chisholm Jr. has an ice cream glove
(via @AriaGloves) pic.twitter.com/EQWUPquQP8
— Jomboy Media (@JomboyMedia) March 22, 2022
Just like us, they struggle to find the right balance between work and family life…
Nelson Cruz’s toddler keeps crying whenever his dad goes in the cage for his turn to take BP and stopping immediately when his dad comes back to pick him up. They are now trying to appease him with a bat. It’s not working. But it is adorable. pic.twitter.com/Pn2Jh0rUZH
— Chelsea Janes (@chelsea_janes) March 21, 2022
And speaking of kids…
I don’t know if it’s like this every Spring, but a lot of MLB players are having kids right now. In twenty years I’m sure all of these Juniors will be playing for the Blue Jays, but for now, I hope they’re just sleeping, eating, and formulating nuanced opinions on MLB’s extra-inning ghost runner rule.
Congratulations to Kyle Schwarber, who gained a new kid and a new team in the same week…
Schwarber agreed to his Phillies deal last week, then his wife went into labor within hours. He said it was the best day of his life. pic.twitter.com/sSdAlfixSi
— Mark Feinsand (@Feinsand) March 21, 2022
… and to Gleyber Torres, flexing major Dad-Power…
Gleyber Torres' first home run as a dad! pic.twitter.com/AlpwpUf1U9
— Talkin' Yanks (@TalkinYanks) March 23, 2022
.. and to Ben Gamel, who hit a homerun RIGHT BEFORE heading to the hospital!
DK: “Ben wanted me to give his wife Lauren a shoutout. He’s going to be leaving after this at-bat. They’re going to have their first child.”
*two seconds later*
Gamel hits a home run 🥺 pic.twitter.com/OkNTnCmSu1
— Pittsburgh Pirates (@Pirates) March 22, 2022
… and to any others that I may have missed. Maybe these kids will grow up to be lawyers. Maybe they’ll grow up to be environmental activists. Or maybe they’ll grow up to be baseball players who can deliver line-up cards to their opposing managers/dads like this…
Our own Darren Baker presented today’s lineup with the opposing manager, his father Dusty Baker.
Baseball is beautiful.@DarrenBaker_2 pic.twitter.com/IvT6BJ5Thn
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 20, 2022
Odds and Ends
There were so many great moments that I couldn’t begin to fit them all. But here are just a few more to carry us into the weekend.
For the students of the game, here’s Juan Soto breaking down hitting, and demonstrating the off-the-walls baseball IQ that makes him so much fun to watch…
Juan Soto talking about his mindset while hitting
— Kev (@OnePursuitTakes) March 23, 2022
For those of us who are always hungry, here’s Jacob deGrom just trying to get fed. I wonder how the DeGrominator feels about pineapple as a topping…
This guy picking up his pizzas – he had sheepishly left earlier because there was no order for “deGrom” and he thought he was in the wrong place. Turns out the order was under “Jacob.” He wasn’t as pissed – at me or about the order snafu – as he looks in this picture. pic.twitter.com/WBRxBRzDJB
— Mike Puma (@NYPost_Mets) March 20, 2022
For anyone who loves a reunion, here’s one for the ages. Congratulations to Zack and the Royals for a signing all baseball fans can root for…
Zack in blue.#RoyalsST pic.twitter.com/gGcdDYhK2W
— Kansas City Royals (@Royals) March 23, 2022
For anyone who likes a side of weird and creepy with their baseball, here’s a bit on mascot history. Do not look into Chauncey the Rat’s eyes.
Look at this stuff that nightmares are made of.
The #Phillies are the oldest, continuous, one-name, one-city franchise in American professional sports.
On This date in Phillies history 1883 the first mascot is introduced “The Dancing Dutchman and his rat Chauncey ” pic.twitter.com/VnJYNkJpTt
— The 2nd Frank (@FMGii) March 22, 2022
You looked into his eyes, didn’t you? I told you not to, but you did it anyway. Well, rest easy– though that terrifying duo made the baseball Twitter rounds this week, the truth of their existence has been called into question. Regardless, I think the Phils should run a one-night-only Phanatic and Chauncey double-billing this season.
Anyway, to make you forget you ever saw Chauncey, let’s wrap up this week’s Best MLB Moments with 35 seconds of the sweet, sweet sounds of Shohei Ohtani giggling…
joe maddon: “when you hear his high-pitched giggle in the dugout, everything is right in the world.”
a shohei ohtani laughing complication inspired by @rerebibiebi for ohtani day today ✌🏼 pic.twitter.com/xZQF67cf4T
— 🌸 VforVera (@VforVintageVera) March 21, 2022
Happy Spring Training, everyone. Let’s remember to take our allergy meds, apply the correct SPF, and tune in for every Spring Dinger available to us.
Baseball is back.
Photo by Winston Chen/Unsplash | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter and @EthanMKaplanImages on Instagram)