Friday, February 20, 2009

Spring training brings out the best in the Star

I particularly enjoyed Part 2 of Lofflin’s treatise on the state of journalism and journalist training these days, and I‘m hopeful it will become a long-running series on this blog.

Having worked at newspapers of all sizes (from a 250,000-circulation daily to a 750-circulation weekly), I’ve seen firsthand what’s broken about the newspaper industry. But I’ve also seen what’s still good about journalism.

Today, I’d like to talk about something positive concerning our local daily newspaper, The Kansas City Star.

Spring training started this week (Thank God - I needed something to look forward to), and for a Royals fan, this is when the Star is at its best. Every day for the next six weeks, the Star’s sports section is going to have a front-page story about the Royals, as well as almost a full page of Royals news inside each issue. I’ll read every word of it.

A former colleague of mine wrote on his blog recently that he thought spring training was “awful.” Call me old-fashioned, but I LOVE spring training. For a true fan of a bad team, it’s often the only good time of the year. I can be hopeful that Zack Greinke and Gil Meche will lead the Royals’ rotation, and that Kyle Davies, Brian Bannister and Horacio Ramirez can be serviceable back-of-the-rotation guys. I can be hopeful that new acquisitions like Coco Crisp and Mike Jacobs will be worth it and can help return this franchise to glory. I can be hopeful that the young guys like Gordon and Butler will bounce back, and last season’s standouts, Mike Aviles and Joakim Soria, will continue to kick butt.

Ask me how I’m feeling about the Royals in May, and there’s a good chance I’ll have a different level of optimism.

But now, I can hope. Even if those hopes are quickly dashed once the season starts, that good feeling is mine right now. How can you not love spring training?

The Star’s coverage helps me enjoy it even more.

--Matt Kelsey


  1. Now that I live in AZ I spend the month of March perched on a grassy bank at several local ball parks taking in EVERYTHING! I love being close to the field, involved in the game, encouraged to participate in the "between-the-inning" games and hear the sound of the ball hitting the catchers mit. I wear my Royals gear (and SPF 45) and all of my furlough worries are gone. :) I love spring training...and can't wait until next Sunday when I watch the Royals take on the Angels. To me, spring training is more important that the regular is what baseball was meant to be.

  2. Thanks for the post, Iz. It must be great to be there at spring training when hopes are so high. I hear you can have some pretty close contact with the players during spring training, too - surely it's a dream come true for autograph hounds.
    --Matt Kelsey

  3. What I have always loved about both newspapers and spring training are the photographs. Here we are, the grass is dead, a warm afternoon means you don't need a stocking cap, the sky is milky blue on the best mornings and there they are, blazing sun, bright colors, stretching in the impossibly green grass. And the Star photographers have outdone themselves this spring bringing those images to us. One really good thing about the Star on the Web -- the sheer volume of great images they can post. My favorite is the one of George Brett hitting ground balls. Even there you can see his eyes glued to the ball. Reminds you of that famous story about Sandy Koufax throwing BP before a World Series game long after he retired, firing strikes and wicked curves past the hitters, utterly destroying their confidence. Somebody had to walk out to the mound, put their arm around him and gently lead him off the field.