The Countdown Begins

Jeff SummersCorrespondent IJanuary 6, 2012

Today the Arizona Diamondbacks announced that Spring Training would officially begin in 44 days 19 hours 31 minutes and 22 seconds. Well technically they announced that pitchers and catchers would report to Salt River Fields at Talking Stick on February 20th but I am sure that was just a rounding error and they really meant to say 44 days 19 hours 30 minutes and 16 seconds (time never stands still so you have to take into consideration that it took me 1 minute and 6 seconds to type this paragraph).

It feels like a decade ago instead of 90 days 21 hours 45 minutes and 37 seconds that the final out was recorded in Miller Park in Milwaukee ending the Arizona Diamondbacks 2011 season. But finally there is an end to the long, dark tunnel that is the off-season.

When the Diamondbacks report in 44 days 19 hours 24 minutes and 32 seconds they will be doing so as the defending National League Western Division Champions. That first day the players and coaches will greet each other at the door and proceed to go through physicals and orientations. The real work begins in 45 days 19 hours 23 minutes and 17 seconds when the first workouts begin.

Most of the team will come back intact so it won’t be quite as bad as last year when you about had to wear a name tag to introduce yourself to your teammates. Still there will be some new faces as Trevor Cahill and Craig Breslow walk into the Diamondbacks home clubhouse after spending last season with the Oakland Athletics. They will of course know Brad Ziegler who was likewise with Oakland last year.

The first few days will be one of drills and throwing mound sessions working with the catchers and stretching their arms. There will also be the ever-popular pitcher’s fielding drills and of course bunting practice. Look for manager Kirk Gibson to again stress fundamentals and holding runners close.

Position players will report to Salt River Fields in 49 days 19 hours 18 minutes and 54 seconds (February 25th for those of you who may not be following along) with the first full team workouts scheduled for February 26th (50 days 19 hours 17 minutes and 4 seconds). It is then that you’ll get your first look at Jason Kubel in a Diamondbacks uniform and see for yourself if Stephen Drew has recovered from the wicked collision at the plate and the (cringe) hernia surgery he underwent after they fixed his ankle (I don’t think the two are related but you can make your own judgment there).

As was the case last year when the Diamondbacks moved into Salt River Fields in Scottsdale; all workouts and practices are open to the public. Parking around the complex is abundant but your best bet and least amount of walking will be if you park on the north end of the stadium in the Desert lot. Don’t park too close to the practice fields though, last year more than a few cars were hit when Willie Mo Pena began hitting.

So start planning now for a case of Spring Training Fever to hit. I am anticipating a full on epidemic will spread across the Valley of the Sun in about 44 days 19 hours 3 minutes and 10 seconds (give or take a few seconds).