Spring training has been different this year.
I really hadn't been able to put my finger on it until I watched the 5 p.m. SportsCenter today.
No, it wasn't that ESPN suddenly decided to cover teams that played east of the Hudson. Peter Gammons was schilling for the Red Sox and Yankees as much as ever.
It wasn't that John Kruk had finally challenged Prince Fielder to a pie-eating contest on Baseball Tonight.
It was the abensce of one Pedro Gomez doing incessant Barry Bonds updates every evening.
Over the last five years, I always knew it was baseball season again when Gomez would open SportsCenter by reporting on every little detail of Bonds' life, from how long his morning shower was (long enough to inject himself with steroids?) to how much gas he put in his car (didn't fill up all the way because he spent too much money on steroids).
But now, Bonds is out of a job and Gomez is probably off covering more important things, such as a poodle fashion show in Guadalajara, Mexico.
But where exactly is Bonds? He's been MIA in the bright sun of Arizona or Florida.
Every once in a while, Bonds' name pops up, but it always ends with the Rays, Mets, Cardinals, or Joliet Jackhammers refusing that they're interested in his services.
Maybe he's just trying to lay low until the Feds come knocking at his door.
Maybe he's training himself to be the star of the Pelican Bay State Prison softball team.
Maybe he's working on his moves so he can be on the next Dancing With the Stars. He and Janet Reno would make one hilariously awesome duo.
Whatever he's doing, he isn't making any news. I don't think I've read a report on Bonds in over two weeks.
Hopefully, Bonds will stay in hiding and we all can continue to focus on what's happening on the diamond, not off it. After all, it's more fun to laugh at the misfortunes of Sidney Ponson than those of Barry Bonds.