It’s time to think spring! We are less than a week away from the first signs of the 2017 baseball season as pitchers and catchers begin to make their way to either Florida or Arizona to begin getting in shape for the upcoming campaign.
This is the best time of year for baseball fans and teams alike because every squad is preparing for a fresh start and has a shot at making the 2017 MLB playoffs and a possible run at a World Series title.
While spring training is always a laid-back time of year for players and fans, that most likely won’t be the case for the Chicago Cubs when they head to Arizona for their annual preseason workouts and games.
In case you happen to have been on a different planet for the last six months or so, the Chicago Cubs are coming off their first World Series title in over 100 years. Even the most novice of sports fan knows that the lovable losers for over 10 decades are now the champs of the baseball world. The press coverage for the 2016 World Series was unlike any other in recent history as it seemed the whole nation (outside of Cleveland) was genuinely pulling for the Cubs to get the win and remove that long-time monkey from their back.
The Cubbies may have been the feel-good story of 2016, but you can bet your bottom dollar that the other 29 teams in the league are ready to step up and try to take that trophy away from them in 2017.
While most teams will be reporting to spring training on February 14, a handful of teams will be arriving even earlier, including the Cleveland Indians, New York Mets, Tampa Bay Rays, and Boston Red Sox.
According to a Boston.com report, Red Sox pitchers and catchers will report to their spring home in Fort Myers, Florida, on February 12. There is big expectation this season in Boston as the Red Sox come into the 2017 season as one of the top favorites to win the 2017 World Series.
One thing that will be different in Boston this spring is the absence of David Ortiz. For the first time since 2003, the BoSox lineup will not have Big Papi in the No. 3 or No. 4 hole, and no matter who they fill his spot in the lineup with, Ortiz will be missed.
Las Vegas odds makers have the Red Sox listed at 11/2 to win the 2017 World Series, which is second only to the Cubs who are listed at 11/2. In third are the Cleveland Indians, who fell just short of the 2016 championship in seven games against the Cubs. With studs like Andrew Miller and recently signed Boone Logan, Cleveland will be right in the middle of the race for the American League pennant once again in 2017.
MLB fans all dream of our teams making it to the fall classic, however, that is still eight months away. Right now, it is time to head to either the Cactus or Grapefruit League and see which teams will make a splash with a rookie that is currently unknown or a late February signing that helps a team make the jump from pretender to contender in 2017.
If you aren’t familiar with the Cactus or Grapefruit League terminology, it is pretty simple. Cactus League teams spend spring training in Arizona, while the Grapefruit League play in Florida, and of course, the West Coast teams head to the Cactus League to prepare for the upcoming season, while the East Coast teams mainly play down south in Florida.
Be sure to click here to see each teams’ starting date and where they make their preseason home before the regular season officially begins on April 2.
[Featured Image by Leon Halip/Getty Images]