Winter Training Has Begun!

Joe NoaCorrespondent IFebruary 26, 2009

It's February 25,2009 and Spring Training games have officially started for the New York Mets. Spring doesn't officially start until March 21 but there are so many days in a year to get the work in for preparation for the 2009 season.

The WBC will be played in the middle of Spring Training and will take away players from their teams to compete for their homeland. It's not a bad idea but it kind of takes something out of building camaraderie with your teammates.

This is the time where rookies with a lot of promise are expected to reach their potential. This is the time to prove to their management that the bonus money they signed was not in vain. The rookies don't want to go to AA or AAA when they can taste the big show.

This is what makes baseball more unique than other professional sports. Football, basketball, and hockey rely heavily on college sports. ESPN holds Draft Day like a national holiday sticking mikes in youngsters faces that have just become instant millionaires before they set foot on the field, court, or ice.

Baseball is a learned profession. Even if you graduate from college you need to spend some time in the minors to mature, condition, and develope your skills.

Let's just try and do it without steroids, please.

Speaking of steroids, I see A-Rod popped one over the fence today in Dunedin. The A-Roid chants have started. Do you think ear plugs with the Yankee insignia on them with be this year's goldmine idea? Let's have "A-Rod- I Can't Hear You Day." If it happens, you heard it from me first.

On the Manny side, there has not been a compromise in site between Manny and the Dodgers. Do you think that if Manny has to sign under the Dodgers terms, he will be a happy puppy and produce? You might as well trade for Shaq and put him in left. Shaq won't have to shoot free throws.

I come across time and time again how cheap Fred Wilpon, owner of the Mets, for not spending more money to get Manny. Met fans, did you noticed today that the Phillies have a record payroll this year? The Phillies still have less payroll than the Mets and their pitching and everyday fielders are not as good.

As for Spring Training being for rookies, did you noticed Luis Castillo and Ryan Church combine for seven R.B.I.s? These two guys have a bone to pick with Jerry Manuel. Perhaps, Jerry is going to the media to use them for his goal to shake his team a little. Castillo lost 17 pounds and is intent on being the lead-off batter.

Church is coming back from concussions and has declared himself totally free from the effects of his past concussions. He is a solid outfielder and he carried the Mets until he got his second concussion of the year. He could see something telling him, "I am koo koo for Cocoa Puffs". Now he just needs to stay away from knees.

It's great to see these guys back on the field. But it is February 25, 2009. Winter Training has begun.