We all got a good chuckle out of yesterday's lovely complaint by the Marlins, who are totally a major-league franchise and shut up guys, why are you laughing? In honor of that, we here preview the next several weeks of stories that will fill up pages and gain clicks while we wait for the real season to begin.
March 7th: The Red Sox host the Braves at JetBlue Park. Xander Bogaerts rifles a throw across the diamond to put out Freddie Freeman in the second inning following an impressive diving stop. However, Andrelton Simmons accounts for every defensive out by the Braves, including a number of plays in which he ranged into deep right field. As he can't match up defensively with the best glove in the business, Bogaerts clearly can not stick at short, decides every Boston writer. The drumbeat for a Stephen Drew re-acquisition increases.
March 10th: In a preview of the likely AL East pennant race, the Red Sox and Rays engage in a battle of the bullpens. Wil Myers wins the game with a solo home run. By the transitive property of Tampa Bay trades, James Shields is placed on the 60-day DL and Kansas City is preemptively eliminated from the AL Central race.
March 11th: The Marlins file an official complaint with the league office, after the Red Sox field a team consisting only of Brock Holt, Burke Badenhop, and DH Don Orsillo for their split-squad game. The league, under little known Rule 9.05(d): Ironic Comeuppance, awards Boston Giancarlo Stanton and tells the Marlins to sit in a corner and think about what they've done.
March 15th: The Phillies arrive at JetBlue Park, and upon seeing Boston's lineup card, call for a consultation with the umpire. Upon further review, it is confirmed that baseball teams are, in fact, allowed to field players under the age of 32. The game proceeds as normal.
March 20th: The new-look Yankees make their first trip to Fort Myers. By sheer coincidence, this is also the Vernal Equinox. This confluence of Earth's axial tilt and baseball rivalry causes a narrative vortex. Jacoby Ellsbury hits two home runs over the head of Jackie Bradley Jr., Chris Capuano strikes out Carlos Beltran, Masahiro Tanaka walks five, and A.J. Pierzynski and Brian McCann get into a literal pissing match. Every writer in Boston and New York spends the next seven hours typing furiously, then takes the week off.
March 22nd: The first official game of the 2014 season is played between the Los Angeles Dodgers and Arizona Diamondbacks in Sydney, Australia. Nobody watches it, because for crying out loud, MLB, it's an NL West game at 4:00 am on Saturday morning, what the hell are you thinking? Sure, it's Clayton Kershaw, and sure, it's actual baseball that counts, but dammit, guys. 4 am is a terrible, terrible thing to do to your fans.
March 29th: The final game of the spring is played between Boston and Minnesota. After a 5-3 victory over the Twins, the Sox head north to begin the season in Baltimore. We all release a hearty sigh of relief, not for the death of dumb stories, because come on. But for the return of real baseball that we can actually get happy, sad, and angry over.