With respect to weather in Boston, this has been the winter that never was. Maybe you love that! After all, shoveling gets annoying, cleaning salt stains off your shoes and pants gets annoying, and reading the same story over and over again about how people in Southie save the parking spaces they’ve shoveled out — as if Southie is some magically unique realm and the exact same thing doesn’t happen in cities all over the world — gets really annoying.
But bleak, blustery winter days that are so cold that you strain your back doing that weird back-tensing thing we all do to keep warm while walking down the block serve a vital purpose: they make us realize just how freaking wonderful the world is when they slip away. It’s the darkness of winter that makes the light of spring so majestic.
The light of Spring hasn’t quite returned to New England yet, but it’s coming. I know this because my Twitter feed is suddenly filled with pictures and videos of baseball players — and not baseball players holding up jerseys in front of sponsored step-and-repeat backdrops, but doing actual baseball things.
I would argue that the next two weeks, when the trickle of pictures from Fort Myers slowly builds into a flood, make up the best part of Spring Training — better even than the games themselves, which become unbearable slogs just a few innings in.
So, to get you excited for baseball and the Spring to come, we’ll try to collect as many of these images here, updating this post regularly as Jet Blue Park comes back to life. Happy Spring; go Sox.
Pedroia! Damn, I don’t think I realized how much I missed him until seeing him back with the boys:
Gotta love having Pedey in camp. pic.twitter.com/WnIjlwTqX2— Red Sox (@RedSox) February 20, 2023
Kenley Jansen’s new pitch clock-compliant motion:
Video 2: Jansen picking up the pace to adhere to the new pitch timer rules. pic.twitter.com/bHREZSZ0cX— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 19, 2023
Bobby Bombs with some batting practice swagger:
Moonshot for Bobby Dalbec. pic.twitter.com/Gyb6fdU0PU— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 19, 2023
Visual evidence that Brayan Bello’s arm has not exploded after all (phew!):
Bello is throwing at a bit of a shorter distance than the others as he builds up. First time he’s thrown since the forearm tightness following his bullpen last Monday pic.twitter.com/UrSFd9SqAp— Jen McCaffrey (@jcmccaffrey) February 20, 2023
And finally: Pedro, just standing there, looking all Pedro-ey:
The great Pedro Martinez watching Corey Kluber warm up for his live BP session. pic.twitter.com/xMSS31BsmT— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) February 20, 2023
James Paxton throwing on a mound. This sight is so rare they could sell this Tweet on Antiques Roadshow:
The Big Maple, James Paxton, throwing a bullpen on Day 2 of camp. Healthy again, he is in a battle to win a rotation spot. pic.twitter.com/J59Cp8B7no— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) February 16, 2023
Who says Yoshida is a defensive liability?!?!?
Masataka Yoshida out in left field chasing down a Triston Casas fly ball. pic.twitter.com/o4cF46CRJv— Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique) February 16, 2023
More Yoshida, this time taking things the other way:
Yoshida has easy oppo power. This bodes well for Fenway. pic.twitter.com/YkHI4zIjOc— Ian Browne (@IanMBrowne) February 16, 2023
And would you look at that, he’s not too big to help clean up after a workout:
Masataka Yoshida (left) hauling the batting practice balls off the field. That’s hitting coach Pete Fatse on the right. pic.twitter.com/SIUYTbVoLY— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 15, 2023
Ryan Brasier, a nation’s punching bag:
In case you needed your Ryan Brasier content, I got you. pic.twitter.com/viWFJxJooY— Chris Henrique (@ChrisHenrique) February 16, 2023
Chris Sale has progressed from flat ground to the mound:
Chris Sale on the mound. pic.twitter.com/8avwJ7xD1O— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 15, 2023
And here he is getting real about the direction his career has taken:
Always appreciate how open Sale is about feeling vulnerable. pic.twitter.com/UkxN3K2cXE— Gabrielle Starr (@gfstarr1) February 15, 2023
We have our first Rafael Devers sighting. Here he is making sure his hands stay as soft as his cheeks:
Rafael Devers getting some drill work in. pic.twitter.com/2NVpzQI0Dd— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 15, 2023
And yet another Yoshida sighting. All hail our short king:
Masataka Yoshida pic.twitter.com/3j66yMVD5L— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) February 15, 2023
Jarren Duran has made some offseason swing adjustments, which, needless to say, was probably a good idea:
First look at Jarren Duran swinging this spring. Hands are higher and leg lift is basically eliminated in what appears to be an effort to have a simpler, more direct swing. pic.twitter.com/QxLSMF3XeT— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 14, 2023
God, I hope Kiké wears these glasses during the season:
Putting in work. pic.twitter.com/XW8gfOoHyC— Red Sox (@RedSox) February 14, 2023
It doesn’t get any more exciting than players casually walking into a building, which must be why this video is paired with a Dropkicks score:
Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you proof that James Paxton can throw a baseball without his arm disintegrating into sawdust:
James Paxton, in contrast to last year, is a healthy participant in this year’s spring training. pic.twitter.com/8EXsYRt0OI— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 14, 2023
Ryan Brasier throwing batting practice, but this time, during actual batting practice:
Your first behind-the-chain-link-fence look at live batting practice comes from Ryan Brasier. pic.twitter.com/mlWYc6xbfp— Alex Speier (@alexspeier) February 13, 2023
John Schreiber popping the mitt:
Red Sox’s John Schreiber pic.twitter.com/sUqcM0qIkG— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) February 14, 2023
Alex Verdugo shuffling between some cones, while onlookers cheer him on like he’s Secretariat:
Red Sox’ Alex Verdugo pic.twitter.com/WBKZpI8mYC— Christopher Smith (@SmittyOnMLB) February 13, 2023
Chris Sale getting that side-winding crow-hop on.
Chris Sale letting it fly. Yes, I know, you all have bicycle jokes. pic.twitter.com/DeHLTLJ0G3— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 10, 2023
Well, if any opposing pitcher attempts to try something radical by attacking the Red Sox lineup with, uh, soft toss, Masataka Yoshida will be ready.
He hit this ball well over the fence in RF. Power is certainly not a question. The ball flies. pic.twitter.com/IrdkB7x5sE— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 9, 2023
54 seconds of Marcelo Mayer taking cuts at what I assume is his old high school field back in San Diego. He will not be the best Red Sox player ever from San Diego. . . but, theoretically, he could end up being the second-best, while simultaneously being one of the top 10 players of all time, so that’s pretty cool.
Right around the corner. LFG! pic.twitter.com/aCs7bpX91W— Marcelo Mayer (@Marcelo_Mayer10) February 9, 2023
Tanner Houck throwing off of flat ground, the second-best type of ground to throw off of.
Tanner Houck, who is coming off back surgery, looks to be his old self. pic.twitter.com/zV2YUCERYH— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 9, 2023
Chris Sale lightly jogging, touching the ground, and turning, all without fracturing three different bones in his lower extremities. Cy Young watch is back on!
Chris Sale on the run. pic.twitter.com/RLvqZhBa0c— Pete Abraham (@PeteAbe) February 7, 2023
WooSox ifielder/outfielder Enmanual Valdez hitting, presumably in the Dominican.
Just keep working pic.twitter.com/WEK5UwTi7S— Enmanuel Valdez (@Enmanuel_valde) February 8, 2023
Here’s the guy who will unquestionably the most interesting player in Spring Training, Masataka Yoshida, blasting some majestic shots into right-center. Sure, every Major League Baseball player is capable of hitting a ball like that . . . but can they do so while standing on top of the two redwoods Yoshi apparently has for legs??
Enjoy some swings from Masataka Yoshida on this fine afternoon.— Tyler Milliken ⚾️ (@tylermilliken_) February 1, 2023