There's always next year... That's what you have to tell yourself after a year like 2007.
We haven't even had our first real snowfall here in Exile (Potomac, Maryland) and I'm already fantasizing about Spring Training. I check Astros.com every day to see if they've announced when tickets will go on sale, and I've scrutinized the March schedule to find a week with contiguous home games. I think this year, I'll probably go the very first full week. Lots of minor leaguers, with Spring Training fantasies of their own - will I be the Luke Scott or Hunter Pence of 2008?
Being a Fan in Exile, Spring Training is my big chance to see the Astros live and up close. Now that the Nationals are in DC, the Astros come here for one series a year, and I go to all the games I can. Every few years, the Astros play a series in Baltimore, and once I even drove to Philly to see them. But I never get back to Houston. I watch virtually every game of the season on MLB.TV. And I go to Spring Training.
Craig Biggio was asked, around the time of his retirement, if he'd miss being an Astro. (Duh.) He answered, "Well, I won't miss Spring Training..." I guess it's different for the players; they're anxious for the season to start, for the games to be real. For me, Spring Training is the best: Live games, old favorites, new faces, babies up from the farm, nice weather, great seats, cheap tickets, small crowds, nice fans (except when they play the Yankees), new start, anything could happen.
I don't have my tickets yet, but I've already got Spring Training fever. It's going to be a whole new team this year, and after 2007, that will be a good thing.
But, man, I'm sure going to miss Biggio and Bagwell.
53 days and counting...