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Welcome back, baseball (but not really)

Baseball is back! Let's enjoy it while we can.

Steve Mitchell-USA TODAY Sports

Not next month, not next week, not tomorrow, but today. Today the Red Sox will play baseball.

You can have your truck day and your pitchers and catchers. But this? This, at least for me, is the first and last major milestone before Opening Day. Its impact is not diminished by all the early arrivals like pitchers and catchers. There's none of the forced nature of Truck Day--sorry, folks, but it's a truck leaving Fenway with some guest appearances by rich old men and Wally. How do we really know that Red Sox baseball is back? Simple: we know when the Red Sox play baseball.

Unfortunately, those of us who haven't escaped to Fort Meyers still have to take someone else's word for it. Despite having an audience starved by four barren months, NESN still doesn't see these college doubleheaders as being worth the while, and frankly that's a shame. Even going beyond the simple fact that it's baseball, spring training games can have a certain aspect of Harlem Globetrotters hilarity to them, especially these games against college teams. Much of that is lost when we're limited to radio broadcasts, as is the case tomorrow.

But no, we'll have to wait until Saturday, and then the game will only be on the MLB Network on delay. And then within the next couple of days we'll remember how poor a substitute meaningless baseball is for regular season baseball, and March will turn from the month we've been waiting for to the month that will never end.

It's the inevitable course of spring training. It's also a problem for us to worry about next week, and not today. Today, we are just hours away from baseball. And today, that is a good thing.

Welcome back, baseball. We look forward to your more meaningful arrival in April.