Chances are, much like I am, you are tired of winter. Tired of the snow, the brutal cold and the miserable conditions. I know that I am looking forward to warm summer days, relaxing with a Royals game on the television and enjoying a refreshing breeze. Yet, as I look out the window and see the grey skies and the ground covered in snow, those days seem far away.
And yet, they may not be. While today is Valentine’s Day (quick reminder if anyone needs to get a last minute gift) it is also another important day. Today is the day that pitchers and catchers are officially due to report for the Royals. Today, the promise of warm weather and not having to wear three or four layers just to leave the house seems that much closer.
This year, the Royals head into Spring Training with optimism. For the first time in a decade, they were a legitimate contender for the playoffs, and posted their best record since 1989. The Royals had the best record in the American League after the All-Star Break last season, going 43-27 during that span. Kansas City is riding a wave of momentum heading into a season for the first time in a long time.
It also helps that the Royals young lineup may be coming into it’s own as well. Eric Hosmer appeared to turn the corner last season, producing a .318/.367/.494 batting line to go along with 16 home runs from June 1st on. Salvador Perez made an All-Star team and appears as though he is poised to be the best catcher in the American League. There may even be hope for Mike Moustakas, who spent part of the offseason in the Venezuelan Winter League working with Pedro Grifol to get his swing back together.
Every team, and their fans, go into Spring Training with hope. Hope that this is the year that their team finally puts it all together. Hope that a playoff berth is forthcoming, and maybe even a World Series title. While some teams have more of a reason for hope than others, there is at least that glimmer of hope that this can be the year. For the Royals, that hope may be the strongest it has been in some time.
Even though it may be cold outside, and there may still be snow on the ground, baseball is about to start. The summer will be here soon, and with it will be Royals baseball.