Down in Port Charlotte, Florida, the sun is shining bright. The band is playing, children shouting, and everyone's heart are light. Because down in Port Charlotte, the Tampa Bay Rays have officially kicked off the 2012 baseball season and begun Spring Training today.
Now that pitchers and catchers have reported -- we'll have pictures soon! -- the next most important question on everyone's mind is: Okay, when do games actually start? As exciting as it is to be able to look at actual baseballs being thrown around the field, spring training can quickly become boring without games to keep our attention.
The Rays' full spring training schedule is below, and they kick off their Grapefruit League season on March 3rd against the Twins. Their first home game will also be against the Twins, and will happen on March 4th:
If you're interested in coming to the games early, the Rays take batting practice 2 hours and 45 minutes before game time, and they take fielding practice 45 minutes before the game. The batting practice lasts an entire hour, while the fielding practice is around 10 minutes long.
Oh, baseball. It's good to have you back again.
For more on the Tampa Bay Rays, drop by SB Nation's blog on the Rays, DRaysBay.