Opening Day the light at the end of spring
Indians' veterans still get excited for start of season
GOODYEAR, Ariz. -- It's halfway through the last week of Spring Training and the Indians are packing up the clubhouse. They're preparing to leave the place they've called home for the past seven weeks, but there aren't many who are feeling nostalgic.
"I hate Spring Training. Hate it. From start to finish. Everything about it," reliever Rich Hill said with a laugh.
For Hill, the biggest rub is the amount of down time players have after they're done in the mornings.
"I just enjoy the work part of it. Come in, get your stuff done. There's just so much of the day that's left where if you're not playing in one of the games, there's a lot of time, sitting around and things like that, and I like to keep myself busy."
That Opening Day is achingly close only makes things worse.
"It's that anticipation for the season, where you want the season to come around and start playing instead of going through Spring training games," Hill said. "There comes a point when you're ready and it's time to go."
Manager Terry Francona understands his players' eagerness to start the regular season, but he doesn't want them going through the motions for the last few days of camp.
"We still have some work to do here," he said. "It's a time where guys are itchy to get going and they're trying to pack and get their family in order and everything, get their families moved, but the one thing we try and remind them of is, 'Make sure you do that, and leave time to do what you need to do on the field,' because you don't ever want that to get forgotten."
Outfielder Michael Bourn, who signed with the team as a free agent in February, is still focused on making the most of those final spring outings.
"We've still got four or five games still down here left, so we'll use these four or five to get ready," Bourn said.
However, Bourn can't help being enthusiastic about the first game of the season.
"I don't care how many Opening Days you have or whatever. At least me, I always get excited on Opening Day because it's the start of a new season and the start of a new year you get to play."
So the magic hasn't worn off for Bourn after six years in the Majors, but is Opening Day still exciting for Jason Giambi as he enters his 19th year?
"I wouldn't be playing it if it wasn't," the veteran said as he nears the end of his first spring with the Indians. "I mean that's the dream of all dreams, to be out there Opening Day at the start of baseball season. There's nothing better."
Nathan Humpherys is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.