Peter Gammons: Why I Love Spring Training
Not every baseball man has time for a full-length interview with Landon Evanson, but most do find time to send a thoughtful written response to a single question – for example, what’s your favorite thing about spring training? That’s what we asked iconic baseball reporter Peter Gammons, and here’s his unedited response…
Dear The Spitter,
What I love most about spring training is freedom, man! Spring training is an oasis of experimentation and free expression that is so refreshing and soul-quenching compared to the suffocating repressive monotony that descends like a drab dark cloud when Opening Day comes and the games actual count.
Florida in early March gives me a few precious weeks of being the real Peter Gammons and wearing what the real Peter Gammons wants to wear. The ESPN suits in Bristol would never let me on air in a pastel striped polo because they don’t think America is ready for the type of raw sensual charisma that represents.
In the open-minded paradise that is Jupiter, Florida, Peter Gammons can be the real Peter Gammons and make real Peter Gammons wardrobe choices. And the ballplayers respect the hell out of that, let me tell you. I’ve won plenty of awards, Sportswriter of the Year, been recognized by Yale University and the city of Boston, none of that made the real Peter Gammons emotional. But I honestly teared up the other day when Willy Mo Pena asked me where I got my fly polo.
That’s why I love spring training, and why I’ll be squeezing every last drop of freedom out of these last four sweet, ruby red weeks of Grapefruit League nirvana.