Editor's Note: The following post is a part of the 2013 Purple Row Writer Search -- our quest to find some great new contributors to Purple Row.
It's usually around this time of year that I start getting antsy. We haven't seen a baseball thrown in anger since October, and the withdrawal symptoms are starting to manifest themselves. As a more than casual fan, I have read dozens (perhaps hundreds) of articles over the course of the offseason; we've had analysis of trades, free agent signings, PED stories, projections, Minor League farm reports, 2012 retrospectives, front office changes, Hall of Fame debates, fantasy breakdowns...and I'm exhausted. I'm almost starting to wonder if baseball is even real; it feels like some sort of abstract construct, a profusion of numbers and stories inundating my brain, signifying nothing. Basically, this. The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was to convince the world that baseball ever existed.
These feelings eventually pass, usually after my third Ambien. Watching highlights of past seasons also serves as a passable antidote; how about Todd Helton lofting a majestic walk-off homerun through the rain last April? Ahhh, that's the stuff, crappy Youtube video notwithstanding. If you can't get Columbia pure, you have to make do with what you have.
Fortunately, real, actual baseball is closer than you might think. Pitchers and catchers report on February 11th, and while that's not much, at least it's something. It's a reminder that the ponderous gears and levers of the 2013 Major League Baseball season are finally being put in motion. We'll get reports about how Wilin Rosario looks like a new man behind the plate, that every pitcher in the universe has learned a cutter, and that Walt Weiss is in the best shape of his life. We might even get little tidbits of video of players playing catch or stretching! We are a week and a half away from the prelude to the run-up to the beginning of the season! Ugh, pass the Ambien.
So, on this sleepy Saturday before the Super Bowl, I ask you: what are you most looking forward to in 2013? Obviously a 90+ win season and deep drive into the playoffs would be ideal, but that might be straining plausibility given our rotation will probably be as effective as the FBI guys from Die Hard. Here's a short list of things I'm excited for:
The debut of Nolan Arenado. The third base prospect held his own in AA last year (with a 110 wRC+), even if he didn't quite live up to the delirious heights of his Arizona Fall League numbers. He still won't turn 22 until April, but we'll probably be seeing the sweet-swinging Arenado in Denver before too long. Top prospect debuts are like Christmas for me; we can disregard logic or moderation and dream of the Rockies' next cornerstone player.
Healthy seasons from Tulowitzki and Gonzalez. With Tulo hurt for most of last year and Cargo less effective than he had been the previous two seasons, 2012 was rough for the Rockies' franchise players. Troy Renck has been tweeting that Tulo is healthy, and hopefully Cargo's down year is an aberration. With those two at their best, the Rockies may be more competitive than most people expect.
The follow up acts of the phenoms. Watching Mike Trout and Bryce Harper play last year was an absolute joy. Trout put up a vintage Willy Mays season at the age of twenty. Think about that for a moment. Meanwhile, Harper put up over 5 WAR and helped lead a team to the playoffs with one of the best seasons from a 19 year old of all time. They play in different leagues on different coasts, but I still conjoin these two players as rivals (even if it's only in my own mind). I can't wait to see what they cook up in 2013.