It takes skill, this following baseball. I mean following a single game, in progress. It takes practice. It takes training. Especially following a game on the radio, which I do a lot living out here in the Rocky Mountain West, where most of my Red Sox fixes are injected either through MLB.com or via XM Radio.
So while the BoSox are in spring training, so am I. I'm getting this football softened brain back into shape -- working hard on my ability to maintaining a running consciousness of the status of a ball game whilst keeping up the pace of my multitasking of daily work and life. It takes me a few weeks before my mental dexterity returns to its major-league game-ready regular-season agility. So I'm thankful for those few weeks of spring training games to work on my own game.
But the reward of this spring training is more than merely sharpening my mental game-tracking skills, of course -- just the same way that the joy of following those Grapefruit League games is more than just notching the (relatively) meaningless wins and losses. Spring training is about ... spring. (And here in the southern Rocky Mountains, where this ex-pat New Englander now lives, spring is most welcome this year.)
So when I tune my browser to a spring Red Sox game, sure, I'm rooting for each at bat. And, yes, I'm working on my ability to follow the game while I do my work, since games that matter are only a few weeks away (and work never goes away). But, really, what I'm doing is listening to music, like some cool jazz, feeling the groove, tuning in to musical soundtrack of spring itself.
With Joe Castiglione on vocals.
[This blog also appears on FenwayWest, a community blog by a group of ex-pat New Englanders who still bow to the Red Sox. Check it out!]