Sunday, February 20, 2011

A Special Season of Baseball Awaits

After a hint of Spring, colder temperatures more synonymous with Winter have returned. In fact, the Accuweather forecast calls for a "wintery mix" today. But in Clearwater, FL, visions of Summer are already dancing in the heads of the Philadelphia faithful.

Not even a full week of Spring Training has gone by and the anticipation for the Phillies' season is already reaching a fever pitch. Individual tickets went on sale just last Thursday, and you'd be hard-pressed to find anything but Standing Room Only available for many games. I should know; I bought a few of those, just get a chance to see the Phils play the Mets and the Cardinals. The Phillies already announced 15 sellouts and more are sure to come.

Last year's sellout games helped pay for Cliff Lee's return to the City of Brotherly Love. Lee, who never should have left in the first place, already received a standing ovation - at the team's first full-squad workout. If I was there, I'd cheer too.

Expectations are high. Jimmy Rollins has already prognosticated a 100-win season. Players like Chase Utley and Placido Polanco have recovered fully from injury and are back at full strength. And if Ryan Howard's ankle holds up - and he stands closer to the plate (C'mon Charlie, keep bugging him) - the heart of the Phillies' offense should return to "downright scary" levels. And the pitching? Well, whatever fond nickname you have for them, Phillies' fans are in for an absolute treat - even if Joe Blanton is pitching.

Dreaming of what could be is heart-warming. But the countdown from dreams to reality has begun. Opening Day can't come soon enough. A very, very special season of Phillies' baseball awaits.

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