Friday, February 15, 2008

Reporting (not) from Surprise, Arizona

Oh to be here:

There's something unbelievably appealing about pictures of manicured ballfields that are open to the public. Perhaps it connects us with our childhood dreams of one day playing on such surfaces writ large (or, even better, puts us back in that time and place where we'd have such dreams). Perhaps because of its suggestion of calm and a lack of worry. Perhaps because they are imperfect -- splotchy, with visible lawnmower tread marks -- and therefore more real, less Thomas Cole and the depiction of perfection than Homer Winslow and the pursuit of it. We're not sure exactly, but it takes us to a fine place.

Pitchers and catchers reported yesterday to Surprise, Ariz., a city you can learn all about here. (999% growth in the last 15 years: who knew? Well, it's not really a surprise, considering the boomtown success of Phoenix.) Not much news coming out of Arizona -- there usually isn't -- but at least we can begin our official countdown to Opening Day, as we've confirmation that the gears of baseball are warming up.

The Royals' website is churning out stories and reports at breakneck pace, so swing by if you want to read about Neal Musser's two-week-old kid and the players' reaction to the Congressional Mitchell Report hearing.

POSTSCRIPT: One of the more interesting plots of this spring concerns the fate of Hideo Nomo, once such a sensation that even today, at 39 and considered a long shot to make the Royals, he's followed by a small battalion of Japanese media (35 Japanese photographers, according to Dick Kaegel of

The more interesting aspect of this story: it's sparked an intriguing little back-and-forth between this site and Nomo Seesa, which I can only describe as a mini arms race to see who can decipher the other's website first. I'm winning so far, I believe, thanks to Courtney R (pictured in this post), who wrote from Japan:

They don't really understand your article but they wish they could. Don't be too worried about "merciful," [Free Translation spit out that word] Japanese is a really dramatic language compared to English. I think, THINK, that the author of this is apologizing to his readers because he is quoting your blog but doesn't fully understand it and can't finish it.

Ha ha! Victory!

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