Sports are in the air

As we continue to deal with this cold weather here in South Dakota, signs of spring are starting to show up around the United States. These signs include the beginning of Major League Baseball’s Spring Training and the return of NASCAR with the Super Bowl of racing being held this past weekend in Daytona, Fla.

The first sign of spring that I like to look for, as a baseball fan, is the beginning of Spring Training and the date that pitchers and catchers report to their respective Spring Training homes. That date happened to fall over this past weekend.

The Minnesota Twins pitchers and catchers reported to Fort Meyers on Sunday, Feb. 22 and began their workouts on Monday. Other teams’ pitchers and catchers reported earlier in the weekend with some teams asking these players to report on Friday, and other teams asking them to report on Saturday.

The next big step, as the MLB season gets rolling, is for the full squads to report. This will happen this coming week with teams having their full squads report starting today, other teams tomorrow and some teams, including the Twins, having their squads report on Friday.

Full squad workouts are set to beginning the day after teams are scheduled to report.

 Although it’s only the beginning of Spring Training, there is only about one month until the regular MLB season starts with Opening Day scheduled for April 6. 

The Twins are set to begin their Spring Training game schedule against the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers on March 4 in Fort Meyers and will face the Detroit Tigers on Opening Day in Detroit.

Minnesota will open its home regular season schedule at Target Field on April 13 against the Kansas City Royals.

I know it is usually still kind of chilly in the northern parts of the country like Detroit and Minneapolis in April, but I’m pretty sure it will be much warmer than the single digit temperatures we are dealing with now. 

The other sign of spring that I look forward to as a stock car racing fan is the beginning of a new NASCAR season, which kicks of with the festivities surrounding the Daytona 500.

The NASCAR season starting makes me get really excited for dirt track racing to start a little closer to home. Local dirt tracks, like Dakota State Fair Speedway in Huron, S.D., Brown County Speedway in Aberdeen, S.D., Casino Speedway in Watertown, S.D. and Madison Speedway in Madison, Minn. will kick off their seasons with car show and race nights starting in mid-April to early May.   

   With the start of the MLB regular season and the start of both NASCAR racing and dirt track racing both just a little over a month away, I’m starting to get really excited for some warmer weather.