It's been three months since Koji Uehara threw that final pitch to Matt Carpenter. Baseball hasn't let those three months go by quietly--the hot stove always provides some serious shake-ups, and this year was no different. But no trade or free agent signing holds attention forever, and with most of baseball's dealings having been done early this year, it's been a while since baseball has enjoyed much time in the spotlight.
That's not going to change overnight, but with the coming and going of the Super Bowl last night (in a fairly cathartic fashion for many in this fanbase, I suspect), we've arrived at the first traditional milestone. Football season is over, which means baseball season has, in some sense, begun.
It's still 12 days before pitchers and catchers report, but that's long been a hollow date. Chances are there are already handfuls of players working out at their respective teams' facilities. By the time the mandatory reporting date is within reach, that number will have swelled dramatically. That it's already happened and we've paid so little attention goes to show just how much the players' presence in Florida (or Arizona) matters.
More important is someone bothering to mention it. Reporters seeing it as a reason to join them down south. And yes, fans bothering to care about it. And that's what the end of football season brings to us. Hockey and Basketball will keep on keeping on, sure, but it's the end of football that frees up enough space in the world of sports for baseball to really find a home.
Three weeks from Thursday, the defending World Series champions will play Northeastern and Boston College. It's a date that's been set in stone for a while now. But today? Today it feels close enough to be worth mentioning. Baseball season is in the air, even if the first real games are still two months away. It's time to get back to work.