So today obviously marks the beginning of competitive Spring Training (Fulchino, Daigle, and Berkman got their tails kicked by non-competitive Spring Training), and I am absolutely beside myself. And so are the Astros.
“Clearly the longer camp goes the more reality sets in and you're like, ‘all right, well now I'm back to work,' but there is a different feel and a different atmosphere. I think guys have benefited from that, and we'll see how that plays out as we move forward.”
“Spring training kind of goes in stages; you have to get those first couple of weeks where you're getting through all the drills and then all of a sudden, the games start. I think everyone's eager to get going with the games and turn the page on the first two weeks of spring training.”
“I'm ready for the season to start. If we could avoid spring training altogether, I would, but it's one of those necessary evils.”
Why is everyone so excited? Well, they'll start drawing paychecks, for one. But Mills has had a lot to do with it.
Moehler, on Mills' Spring Training:
“It's been intense; it's been quick. We get our work done, which is good. It's good to get in there and get your work done but still get quality work in in a short amount of time.”
Blum, on Mills:
“Some people call it high intensity; I call it he cares. (Pause for "Awwww...") He wants to be hands-on; he wants to be involved. He wants to see what personnel he's got so I appreciate him getting out there, and he's been the same every day...
...“In business or anything, if you're in an office-type situation, you're still playing a team game. A lot what's predicated on the field has to do with what happens up top. Having good leadership is going to overflow onto the field, so I think we're in a pretty good position right now.”
“They have done a great job through all of our drills, all of our fundamentals that we've gone through. Everything we tried to accomplish we have been able to accomplish. The energy and enthusiasm has been there to want to get it done. You put those things together, and we're right where we want to be.”
I don't know what this year will bring to the Astros. Maybe it's another 85-loss season, and if that's the case, okay. It depends on how they lose 85 games. If they're running out ground balls (eyes up, Carlos) and playing good defense, but just getting beat, I can abide by that. If Mills gets some improvement out of a team and gets a fair chance at managing this team, I'm okay with that. But if it's July and the Astros are ten back and they look like they did at the end of 2009, and the trade deadline comes and goes without any movement, I will not be okay with that. I think, like most fans, I want to see some spark. Having purchased MLB.tv so that La Constabless can watch tv while I scream at the computer, I want to see some swagger.