As we have every season since our debut, Big League Stew is hitting the road to cover spring training in Arizona and Florida. Next up, another double shot of baseball love — this time with the up-and-coming (?) Royals and reigning Will Harridge Trophy owners, the Rangers.
SURPRISE! Ariz. — This was the first really nice day, for weather, since Big League Stew's mobile unit arrived in the desert. It was bright and sunny, but with absolutely no threat of rain, and crisp temperatures, but without the wind blowing tumbleweeds everywhere.
You know what else makes you feel better? Having Hall of Famer George Brett around. Talk about an icon. If you put together a team of nine with the best players ever, he'd have to be in the conversation for third base. That's how good he was.
That's Brett, if you didn't recognize him, giving tips near the batting cages in the above photo. I talked to rookie Mike Moustakas(notes) about what it's like to have Brett's ear. Here's a taste of what Moustakas said:
"It's unbelievable," he said. "Any time, as a baseball player, you get to talk to a Hall of Famer, it's amazing. But when you have one at your disposal every day, working with you — and he's sitting behind the cage or by you at third base — it's incredible to turn around and go, 'Oh, man, that's George Brett back there.'"
Also from the Royals, I watched rookie Eric Hosmer(notes) take batting practice, and I talked to center fielder Lorenzo Cain(notes) (who came over in the Zack Greinke(notes) deal) about what it's like to be traded at a tender point in his young career. That's coming later, plus an overall look at how close the Royals are to actually winning something.
The Texas Rangers went to the World Series in 2010, so they're working on going back. I looked to get the answer to some questions: How are big sluggers Josh Hamilton(notes) and Nelson Cruz(notes) doing? How is Adrian Beltre(notes) fitting into third base? Is everything back to normal with Michael Young(notes)? What's the injury rehab situation with right-hander Brandon Webb(notes)?
Not all of the questions are too serious, though. How does pitcher C.J. Wilson(notes) react to a swarm of autograph hounds? What's up with Derek Holland's(notes) T-shirt collection? What did the Rangers learn during a team meeting about the world of social media?
It was a busy day, and hopefully you'll get a good feel for both teams after it's all said and done. Stay tuned for more.
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