BY BEN INGRAM
ATLANTA BRAVES RADIO NETWORK, NORTH PORT, FL – Each spring we begin anew. Another season is here. Right now, in North Port, all things are new. After 23 years in Lake Buena Vista, North Port is the team’s grand, new spring training home.
I won’t go on and on about this new facility, even though I could. I’ll save that for another time.
The Braves will play their first Grapefruit League game this Saturday. All of us here are looking forward to that because it’s impossible to know what the competition for third base, or the last two slots in the rotation look like without seeing these guys in game action. We don’t know any more about that right now than we did three weeks ago.
As for week one, pfps (pitcher fielding practice), live bp, bullpens, agility drills and things like that have taken place. Certain guys you want to lay eyes on just to see what kind of physical shape they’re in. Most notably, Johan Camargo looks a lot leaner. He seems poised to take the bull by the horns and be the starting third baseman. Along those same lines, Felix Hernandez looks to be in good shape as well. All I heard since the Braves signed him is he’s notorious for coming to spring training out of shape. I haven’t seen that this season. Ender Inciarte buzzed his hair, and Nick Markakis shaved his head and beard. Give him about 3 days…..I’m sure it’ll be grown out again. The guy can grow a beard quicker than the mountain man Jim Bridger.
That’s pretty much it from week one in North Port. The team is slowly gearing up and getting ready for the rigors of a 162 game schedule. I, for one, am glad baseball is back. It’s a great time of year, and the team looks like a strong contender again in the National League.
Talk to you this weekend as Jim Powell and I have the call Saturday and Sunday for the Braves first two Grapefruit League games of the season.