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Five Burning Questions for (team): A Create-Your-Own Spring Training Story

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Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to baseball season. The first pitchers and catchers report to spring training in Florida today, with others reporting through the weekend at camps across Florida and Arizona.

Spring training is a time for hope and celebration. It's the return of the sport we love after a too-long offseason of short days, cold and despair. But let's be honest: It's also a time for cliches, hype and spring training "previews" that seem to be copied and pasted from the same template year after year.

This year, though, you don't have to sit back and wait for a bland, uninspired spring training preview for your favorite team. With an assist from Mad Libs, you can create your own.

Simply fill in the blanks on the list below, then follow the jump and plug them in to see your very own spring training preview!

  1. Favorite team
  2. Your name
  3. Oft-injured player
  4. Noun
  5. Verb (present tense)
  6. Noun
  7. Really long movie
  8. Occupation
  9. Body part
  10. Different body part
  11. Aging player
  12. Body part
  13. Number
  14. Animal
  15. Place
  16. Something old people do
  17. Old person
  18. Noun
  19. Inconsistent player
  20. Year between 2005-2008
  21. Coach
  22. Part of a player's game
  23. Occupation
  24. Place that occupation works
  25. New acquisition
  26. Place
  27. Platitude
  28. Verb (present tense)
  29. Noun
  30. Player approaching end of contract
  31. Synonym for money
  32. Expensive thing

Five Burning Questions facing the (1)
by (2)

1. Can (3) stay healthy?

Whether they'll admit it or not, the (1) clearly missed (3) last season. When healthy, he's the (4) that (5) the (6). Unfortunately, he's not healthy often, and his prolonged absences make (7) seem short by comparison. Fortunately, he's making an effort to correct the problem.

"I spent the offseason working with a/an (8) to strengthen my (9)," he said. "But after a few days of that, my (10) started to bother me, so now I'm just taking it easy and seeing what happens."

2. Can (11) remain productive?

Unfortunately for the (1), (11) isn't getting any younger, and is hoping to squeeze one more productive season out of his (12) before calling it a career. At (13) years old, he knows his inevitable eventual decline is the (14) in the (15), but he cautions doubters who think he's too old to contribute:

"After spending the offseason (16) with (17), I'm in the best shape of my life," he said. "Now, where'd I leave my (18)?"

3. Can (19) rebound from a tough 2009?

When (19) is on, he shows flashes of brilliance the team has been hoping for since he burst onto the scene in (20). Unfortunately, he's never been able to put it all together, and (21) will spend the spring working with him to improve his (22).

"I think this could be the year he really comes together as a player," coach said. "But then again, I also thought I had a shot with that (23) from (24)."

4) Is (25) the answer?

Last season's events and the offseason that followed left the team with an empty spot in (26), and they filled it by acquiring (25). Team officials are excited about the (27) he'll bring to the team.

"We were really hoping to find a player who (28) as well as he does," the team official said. "We think he can be the (29) that pushes us over the top."

5. Will the team be forced to deal (30)?

The team remains hopeful in their negotiations with (30), but no deal is in place, creating uncertainty about the future of one of the team's brightest stars. He said he's not going to allow his situation to distract him from the task at hand.

"I'm just trying to play my game and let the (31) resolve itself," he said. "But I hope it happens soon, because I've got my eye on a nice (32)."