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Spring is so close, I can taste it

March 2, 2009

by Aaron Schultz

As we enter March, coming off something of a snow storm last week, I can’t help but start to get excited for spring – baseball in particular.

College baseball has started, the pros are at spring training, and high school practice is just two short weeks away.

While we are, by no means, done with the snow and cold weather yet, the warmer weather is fast approaching. I just know it.

Last year was just one of those years. The kind of year that makes you think all these people that talk about global warming are off their screws.

How could we be going through global warming when it was as cold as it was last spring?

Exactly, I’m not buying it.

Anyways, I want to stay as positive as possible in this column, and the easiest way for me to do that is to talk about baseball.

No matter what is getting me down; no matter what problems there are in the world; no matter what anything else is going on, baseball talk will bring a smile to my face 99 percent of the time.

Take last week for example. I have caught a pretty bad cold, and everything I do makes me feel worse.

Still, a couple of baseball meetings, and additional planning for the upcoming high school season made me smile.

Here are a few dates that I know will help everyone believe just how close we are to spring.

The Minnesota Twins open the 2009 season Monday, April 6 against Seattle.

What makes this opening day even more special than most is that it will be the last time the Twins will have an opening day at the horrible stadium that is the Metrodome.

I am so excited for Target Field to open in 2010 that I can barely contain myself.

Now let’s look at Monday, March 16, which is the first day that high school baseball practice can take place here in Minnesota.

That is only two weeks away. Can you believe it?

In fact, the rest of the spring sports season starts even quicker – Monday, March 9 for softball, track and field, and the like.

Wow, it is getting close.

As for the first high school baseball games, Lester Prairie/Holy Trinity is scheduled to open the season Thursday, April 2 at Dassel-Cokato.

Meanwhile, the Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted Lakers also open their season Thursday, April 2 against Watertown-Mayer.

While LP/HT’s opening game will depend on weather, we know that the Lakers and Royals will both be in action rain or shine as they will play at the Metrodome at 8 p.m.

I guess the Dome still does have its advantages.

Of course, those games will be dependant on the basketball teams still no playing.

Oh shoot, that is what I have forgotten about – basketball.

Both boys’ basketball teams are having outstanding seasons, and could make runs into the section, and maybe even state, tournaments.

If that should happen, it would no doubt push back the respective baseball team’s season.

That I can definitely handle. In fact, that is pretty much the only excuse that I’ll take this year if the high school baseball season needs to be pushed back a little.

Again, not something I am going to worry about because Mother Nature is due to do us a favor this year and grant us a great spring for baseball.

Moving away from high school, let’s take a look at the amateur baseball season.

The Crow River Valley League has its first round of league games scheduled for Sunday, April 26. Oh yeah!

As for the Winsted Wildcats, they will open the season a week earlier when they travel to Stark Saturday, April 18.

Now, I don’t have any clue when the Howard Lake Orphans will open up play as I have not seen any type of schedule for them.

With that said, they typically open their season the first Sunday of May, which would be May 3 this year.

Don’t worry, when I find out when the Orphans will open the season, I’ll get that in the paper ASAP.

As I sit here staring at the screen of my computer, I am smiling from ear-to-ear.

Yep, February is over, bring on baseball season.

I would like to wrap up my column this week with a joke – an old one, but a classic.

One day, the devil challenged the Lord to a baseball game.
Smiling, the Lord proclaimed, “You don’t have a chance, I’ve got Babe Ruth, Mickey Mantle, and all the greatest players up here.”
“Yes,” laughed the devil, “but I have all the umpires!”

Sorry to all the umpires out there. I promise this year I’ll be kinder to all of you. I really mean it.