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Pitchers, Catchers Report to Spring Training Today

By Tim Bearden in News on Feb 18, 2012 9:00PM

You can almost smell the freshly cut grass covered in morning dew, hot dogs rotating in the warmers, and stale beer lying on the floor of the stands as pitchers and catchers report to spring training today. Spring training is a time for a fresh start, which both the Cubs and White Sox have been working toward this off season.

The Cubs shook up their front office by firing general manager Jim Hendry following a dismal 2011 season and hiring Theo Epstein as their President of Baseball Operations. They dumped Mike Quade, but picked up yet another base coach-turned-manager, Dale Sveum, who was on Epstein's payroll previously, with the Red Sox. They also shed a few pounds of dead weight by sending Carlos Zambrano to the Marlins with former White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen, to whom I say—good luck. Not many players remain from the 2003 season, which is a nice reboot for the Cubs.

The White Sox had some regime changes of their own following the departure of Guillen. Former Sox third baseman Robin Ventura has returned to Chicago to manage the south siders. They've also had some player shake ups as Mark Buehrle left the bullpen for brighter pastures with Guillen in Miami.

But that's the thing with winter—we take stock of our situation and make adjustments for spring, much like baseball organizations do. Both the Cubs and White Sox realize change is necessary following their 2011 seasons. It's time to forgive the sins of last season and look into a fresh start. It's about time to head to the ballpark with your friends for more than just the game. You're also there for the camaraderie and the energy baseball fans bring to their respective stadiums every year.

Spring training means new faces to welcome and old ones to welcome back. It's a fresh start for both teams this season, so let's kick it off right and welcome back the Cubs and White Sox—here's to hot dogs and new beginnings!