The Red Sox granted slugger Manny Ramirez permission to report late to camp, on March 1st. So, he's working out feverishly and doesn't want to break the mood, or maybe he's just getting his hair done. Whatever.
Historically, Spring Training has been about 1) getting in some golf, 2) getting a tan, and 3) family time (right). Most of the guys who need to get in shape, e.g. rehab projects, young guns, fringe guys, contract year guys are already in great shape. That would include everyone from Schilling and Foulke, to Youk and Pedroia, and of course, Nixon.
Does anybody think that Manny forgot how to hit over the winter? I didn't think so. Does anyone think that team chemistry is that important? The Sox don't need twenty-five choirboys, they need guys who are performing for pride, dollars, or spite, beating out other teams' guys trying to do the same thing.
Chemistry IS important. Try living a single day without chemistry. It wouldn't be easy. You'd have to be on Survivor. How'd you like the chemistry between Pedro Martinez and Curt Schilling? How'd you like the chemistry between Derek 'the Derrick' Lowe and the front office? How was the feeling between Nomar and the rest of the team? Playing good ball wins games, not getting 25 good guys.
Spring training fills in some time until March Madness, and allows the snow to melt and the weather to warm up to merely frigid in points north.
Speaking of that, why aren't the first few weeks of the season played in the warmer weather (or indoor) venues? For example, the home teams in early April would be Tampa Bay, Toronto (Rogers Centre), California, Texas, Seattle (Safeco), Minnesota (Metrodome), Kansas City, and Texas. So fans in Boston, New York, Cleveland and so on would miss the joy of a near death experience watching baseball in mid-thirty degree temperatures with a dusting of snow. I have an ironclad rule about not going to baseball games in April. No exceptions. Not if Willie Mays plays. Well, maybe for Mays.
Well, Manny's going to play for the D.R. in the World Baseball Classic. Great. The less time he has to spend not talking to Bosox scribes, the better off that we'll all be. Word.