As we are now into the second month of the year, the NFL season has a mere four days left of its season (excluding the Pro Bowl). The NBA and NHL playoff races begin heating up and NCAA basketball teams jockey for Conference position and better RPI ratings ahead of March's selection sunday. The PGA Tour continues its West Coast swing stopping at famous links such as Pebble and Riviera as Tiger continues his sickness. Fans of NASCAR will be happy to know that the Daytona 500 kicks off another season of 30+ races of only left turns, crashes, and crazy pit crews screwing on tires with air hoses. In Europe, the premier soccer competition resumes its winter break as the Champions League commences its round of 16 matches when 2006 winners Barcelona take on 2005 winners Liverpool. Four time winner Bayern Munich takes on a Beckham on the bench Real Madrid a time who has lifted the trophy 9 times since its inception in 1955.
Despite all these exciting sports and the compelling story lines they all bring, in 19 days players will begin to report to Florida and Arizona for Spring Training. We will read that Aubrey Huff began a new training regimen to avoid his notorious slow starts and that Bartolo Colon's and CC Sabathia's weight is not an issue. Other's will have shed 15 pounds at the same time their team mates bulked up by adding 20 pounds. I was building my arm strength and not throwing breaking balls is all too familiar for the fantasy junkie whose pitcher has a 5.24 ERA come late May.
One would be naive to believe that all these claims will transform a mediocre player into a real gem, but we all wish it could happen. As for me, I can't wait for February 20th to roll around so that I can hear the names of places like Kissimmee, Vero Beach, Jupiter, Ft Myers, and Port St Lucie, names that baseball fans know and love. Until then, I wonder which of my future fantasy baseball players will break their bones or get Tommy John surgery like last year (Derrek Lee, Hideki, and Rich Harden).