If it’s the middle of February, it means two things: one, players are reporting to spring training, and two, seasonal employees are returning to the ballpark. Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is among the latter; here’s his story.
I am a sign of spring.
I work as a seasonal employee for the Lansing Lugnuts. I am away from the office during the Minor League hot-stove days of October through January. In February, I reemerge. Tuesday was my first day back at the ballpark.
The Lugnuts’ field may have been covered with snow – such is the hazard of an outdoor, uncovered stadium in the northern Midwest – but the sun was out. There was an energy about. In front offices, the November/December/January months have been steaming with sales and sponsorships. Now we approach single game ticket releases. With that, and the other preparations needing to be done, seasonal employees are returning to roost.
The Lugnuts held their job fair this past weekend, filling out all of those important seasonal roles: ticket-takers, ushers, on-field entertainment, food service, and more. We can see the coming home schedule on the horizon, peeking more and more through those dismal gray clouds of winter.
The sports landscape is building well, the Super Bowl leading into the Olympics which flows into NCAA March Madness. Before you know it, the National Pastime has arrived for another season.
For those of us who are baseball fans and baseball fans only, we need not wait for April. We know already that the Diamondbacks’ pitchers and catchers reported to camp on February 6th, the Dodgers showed up on February 8th, and everyone else catches up by February 17th. By this Friday and Saturday, all of the position players will have punched in for work. Fly on down and take in the warmer weather: Exhibitions begin February 25th in the Grapefruit League and February 26th in the Cactus League. This is getaway time; heck, Ballpark Digest creator Kevin Reichard has already arrived upon the blessed, sun-kissed terrain.
The regular season itself opens in Australia on March 22nd — imagine that, merely a month away from Saturday — and then re-opens on American soil on March 30th for Opening Night and March 31st for Opening Day. Then Spring will officially have arrived again, no matter what the cold northern temperatures and sporadic rain delays say.
Until that day when the stats count for real once more and each pitch is delivered with verve and urgency, we have Spring Training photos and updates to look forward to.
But the hot stove season, filled with its free agency buzz and Hall of Fame disagreements, is now over. It’s back to work for me.
And I love it.
Jesse Goldberg-Strassler is the voice of the Lansing Lugnuts.
Image of snowy Shaw Park courtesy of Winnipeg Goldeyes. Consider it your daily dose of reality.
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