By: Eric SanInocencio
SEC Digital Network
Birmingham, Ala. -- To me, Rogers Hornsby said it best.
The Hall of Fame infielder, who carried a career .358 average into Cooperstown, was asked once what he does when baseball season ends. Hornsby's answer became a memorable quote, something every true baseball fan latches on to when the winter months wave goodbye to the National Pastime.
"People ask me what I do in winter when there's no baseball," Hornsby said. "I'll tell you what I do. I stare out the window and wait for spring."
Well for the legions of SEC baseball fans, that "spring" has finally arrived. Although the temperature readings are much lower than one would associate with a season's first pitch, the start of the 2012 year is just five days away.
Baseball is back.
To celebrate the return of one of the league's most popular games, we at the SEC Digital Network have made an event of the process. SEC Baseball "Opening Week" is now born, a week-long tribute planned to officially start a new year on the diamond.
It started today with the release of the 2012 SEC Coaches Poll
, which saw the league's skippers pick Florida to win the conference's championship. It will officially "end" so to speak on Friday night, as each school toes the rubber for the first games of what it sure to be another memorable SEC season. In between we will have interviews, historical pieces and a look at some of the new features coming into the 2012 year.
Baseball in the Southeastern Conference has become a preview for national prominence, with the league having won the last three College World Series titles. In a feat rarely seen last year, two SEC teams (Florida and South Carolina) played against each other for the crown, with the Gamecocks capturing their second straight championship. From the looks of preseason rankings, the SEC will again factor in the national scope, with several league teams mentioned among the nation's best headed into 2012.
Being a baseball fan, there is no better time of the year. Optimism reigns, with the hopes and potential for every team starting fresh as the calendar turns to mid-February. There is always a curiousness about this time of year, as we wonder when the next Mike Zunino (Florida) or Drew Pomeranz (Ole Miss) will emerge from a roster full of new talent. Remember, at this point in the year, everyone is in first place.
Just to give a sneak peek of what lies ahead, we compiled a list of key points we plan to touch on during the week's activities.
We will update you on television times, talk about a new feature that will remember the "legends" of the past, and also give you insight on a brand new format for the end of the season in Hoover. All that and more is coming your way over the next five days, as we tip our caps to baseball programs all across the conference.
The "crack" of the bat is one week away. Put away your winter clothes, the sound of Spring is back.