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Spring Hopes Eternal

This is such a magical time of year. And by "magical" I mean illusory, because no team can be as awesome as "your team" always presents at the beginning of Spring Training. In the early days of Spring Training, the heartwarming stories come faster than Esteban Loaiza on Highway 238. Let's see, what have I read, just in the Chronicle, just in the past week? Call Frosted Flakes, because Rich Harden feels just grrrrrrreat! And alakazam: All of Chavy's physical problems suddenly disappeared 3 weeks ago and now he feels just super peachy all over! Shannon Stewart is running at 100% and the training staff says you would never know he ever had plantar fascism (sorry, I might have spelled that wrong). Milton Bradley, healthy and happy, is whacking every other pitch off the center-field hitting background. Alan Embree has wowed everybody with his fastball--and Brandon Buckley doesn't impress easily! Meanwhile, Haren's new cutter is breaking everyone's bat (whereas my cutter only breaks Milton Bradley's bat)--should we just do the Cy Young award voting now? Travis Buck and Daric Barton are the new "Killer B's" and they look like they're ready to mash major league pitching yesterday! I will seriously be surprised if this A's team wins fewer than 146 games.

Butt weight! Didn't Randy Elliott hit .611 one Spring? So then I wonder, hmmm...What's up with the players about whom we haven't heard glowing effusive reports of incredible and unprecedented wonderfulness? Shall we assume that Mark Ellis has forgotten how to hit right-handed and is at the batting cages each day frantically trying to learn how to hit lefty? Has Joe Blanton ballooned to an even 300 pounds, while his fastball is now best timed with a calendar? I haven't heard much about Kiko Calero; is he now going by Santiago Casilla and presenting his senior discount card at restaurants?

I want to believe, but I also don't want to get burned. Yet...Couldn't it be that by dumb luck, all the players on my favorite team happened to pick this year to all come out feeling, looking, running, and throwing better than expected? Or is it all just a desert mirage? Or if it's a mixture of both, which of the "happy stories" do you choose to believe?

Tomorrow: Outfielders whose names begin with "K"--who is sticking pins in their bobblehead dolls, and why?