Sun Feb 13 09:59am EST
Today's the day that the first wave of nine teams utter those promising three words —I don't need to tell you what they are — that have long been fashioned into a verbal talisman that gets us through this long, cold winter. A total of 21 more teams will welcome their pitchers and catchers into camp over the coming days and it won't be long before we're completely immersed in this 2011 season.
Of course, we all know that "pitchers and catchers" has become more of a romantic ideal than a hard-and-fast deadline. Pitchers, catchers and even the odd position player have already started surfacing at their camps in Florida and Arizona. The shot of Towles above and Boston Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz(notes) below were both snapped on Saturrday. Like kids unrolling their sleeping bags in front of the Christmas tree, they figured they might as well get situated for one of the biggest days of the year.
They're just as excited and antsy as we are. Maybe more so.
At any rate, oil up that mitt, take your scorebook out of mothballs and check out the official reporting dates for the baseball batteries of each team, as listed by Spring Training Online. The reporting dates for position players is Friday, Feb. 18, unless otherwise noted in parentheses.
Wednesday, Feb. 16
Cincinnati Reds (Feb. 19), Cleveland Indians (Feb. 19), Los Angeles Dodgers (Feb. 21), Milwaukee Brewers (Feb. 21), Minnesota Twins (Feb. 22), New York Mets (Feb. 20), Texas Rangers (Feb. 19), Washington Nationals (Feb. 21)
Thursday, Feb. 17
Chicago White Sox (Feb. 21)
Friday, Feb. 18
Florida Marlins (Feb. 21)