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“…hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.”
-Tim Robbins as Andy Dufrense
in Shawshank Redemption

Spring training is supposed to be the time of year when we get cliché stories about who has lost or gained weight, who is finally healthy, and who started a new workout regimen. Spring training is supposed to be a time to look forward at what is to come. Spring training is supposed to be about hope.

The last week, however, has been all about negativity – stories about the past and stories that are trying to kill the hope and promise of the future. Well it is time to change all that.

It’s spring training time. The players are coming out of their offseason cocoon, and flourishing in the Florida (or Arizona) sun. We can watch them grow and see the promise of the season to come.

This year Francisco Liriano will return to 2006 form. This year Michael Cuddyer will remain healthy. This year Carlos Gomez will harness his talent and live up to his promise. This year Delmon Young will finally shed his bad habits and prove he can be an all star caliber player.

This year someone will step up and take over third base. Maybe it’s Joe Crede walking in to save the day. Or maybe Brendan Harris and Brian Buscher take control and prove they can handle the job in a platoon. Someone will step up.

This year the bullpen will come together. No more blown leads. No more questioning who will get the ball to Joe Nathan. Each pitcher will find his niche and thrive.

This year we can look forward without looking back. Game 163 of 2008 is a distant memory, even if the sting still lingers. No more worrying about last year, because last year no longer matters.

This year we’ll be watching a joyous dog pile of Minnesota Twins closing out the final season in the Metrodome – a joyous celebration before a deafening World Series crowd. One last hurrah before baseball in Minnesota takes its rightful place outdoors.

It’s all possible.

It’s all possible because in spring training anything is possible. We can set aside our concerns and look forward to a season filled with unbelievable plays, unbelievable wins, and everything in between.

This is the hope that spring training brings. Not allegations and denials. Not finger pointing. Not anything but baseball. Baseball in its purest form.

And in that form we look forward. And we realize hope does still exist.

Written By: Eric Johnson
Look for his column, now on Thursdays, and check out his blog at


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