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Alright, Enough of This Spring Training Malarkey

You take it on faith, you take it to the heart, the waiting is the hardest part.

Fenway Park Prepares for 2023 Opening Day Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

Have you ever seen Uncut Gems?

Kevin Garnett’s performance in the 2019 thriller is one of the best acting performances from an athlete that Hollywood has ever seen. The Boston Celtics legend and Hall of Fame power forward brought an intensity to the silver screen that mirrors the attitude he provided on the hardwood. He played a key role in raising the anxiety and stress-inducing suspense of the film, and he did so convincingly.

One scene of his has been sticking out in my mind since the end of the World Baseball Classic.

In the scene, he’s trying to acquire a rare opal from the main character, a jeweler portrayed by Adam Sandler—who gave a dynamite performance himself. KG becomes entranced by the opal, so addicted to it that he believes he needs to buy it—or at least hold onto it—for good luck prior to their upcoming playoff matchup against the Philadelphia 76ers. Sandler is initially cool to the idea, as he tries to put the opal away after showing it to The Big Ticket.

This prompts one of the single best lines of the film from Garnett:

Why the fuck would you show me something if I couldn’t have it, then?!

Yeah, that’s basically how I feel about Red Sox Spring Training games right now in the wake of the World Baseball Classic final.

New York Yankees v Boston Red Sox Photo by Maddie Malhotra/Boston Red Sox/Getty Images

I’ve gotta keep it real with you fine folks: I cannot bring myself to care too much about Spring Training for these next few days. I’m over it. I lived a little bit of the good life over the past few weeks—the thrills of exciting baseball that felt meaningful. How am I expected to lock in for a bunch of AA hitters getting mowed down by staff aces looking to get a few innings of tune-up work in?

I got the taste of fine wine, and now I’m not going back to that bottom shelf stuff.

These last days are obviously important to the players and coaching staff, I get that. They’re the final dress rehearsals players get to make their case to be included as high up on the organizational ladder as possible. I hope the Red Sox take advantage of the little time they have left down in Florida.

I’m just not going to be there to see those strides being made in real time. I’ll follow along, of course. I’ll keep up with the news and take a peek at the final score lines. But I can’t convince my brain to get invested into these last few practice go-arounds. Don’t feel bad if you feel the same way as well.

This is usually the time of the offseason where I get the fussiest: when the good stuff is so close that I can almost taste it. It’s like how the clock seems to go slower and slower the more you check it. I’m a little kid waiting for Santa to come on Christmas Eve; it feels like I’ve been trying to sleep for decades but it’s still only 10:30. These last few days prior to Opening Day are going to feel as long as the entire month of February in my head.

And hey, maybe this is what we needed after such a thrilling WBC. After all: what are the euphoric peaks without the monotonous valleys? If every month of baseball felt like October, October wouldn’t feel like......well, October! We’ve got a whole-ass season ahead of us, so perhaps it’s fine to take a few days to get ourselves even more excited.

That might be the case...but it’s also not gonna stop me from complaining. Damn right I’m gonna have my cake and eat it, too. The waiting will all be worth it in the end, but it doesn’t make it any less stinky in this moment.

We’re almost there, friends. We just need to put our heads down, our nose to the grindstone, and make that last push to March 30. We’ve come so far. I know we can do it, even if we’re doing it with an annoyed and impatient look on our faces.