Today's the day. It's actually my least favorite part of the baseball year, because nothing really happens for another couple of weeks. Sure, everybody shows up, we get fluff stories about how so-and-so is in the best shape EVER, and the rest of the world starts paying attention to baseball.
Whoopee. I want me some games!
Speaking of bringing the rest of the world back, the J-S has a "five things to watch" for spring training, which is basically all the stuff we've been talking about since October. The Wisconsin Sports Bar adds a take on what must happen this year. Naturally, both articles focus on pitcher health.
While it'd be nice if everybody stayed healthy, we got great production out of third base, J.J. Hardy became a 280/350/440 hitter, and Derrick Turnbow remembered how to pitch, we don't need all of those things to happen. We need most guys (including Ben Sheets) to stay healthy, nobody to take a giant step back, and Yost to make smart decisions with the bench and platoons. It's that simple.
If everything goes right, we have ourselves a 90-win team. I can promise you right now, everything won't go right. But this team is built well, except for the gap at third base. Particularly in that the starting rotation doesn't fall off until after the #6 guy. We said that last year, but it didn't turn out to be true. This year, it's a much safer bet. (Or so I'd like to think.)
The Brewers have grown up to the point that, while we can't promise anybody a trip to the postseason, it's just a matter of steering clear of horrible luck and not screwing up what we've got. (Ned: I'm looking at you. You said platoon, and I expect you'll platoon.)
So, that's my not-so-exciting pre-season pep talk. Now, can we play some baseball?