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What makes the start of spring training special to you?

A smart blogger knows when he missed the opportunity to write about a good topic and gets back to it as quickly as possible. Talking with Greg Eno and Big Al Beaton Monday night for their podcast, The Knee Jerks, I realized I missed the opportunity to ask a great question. Let's take care of it right now. What makes the start of spring training so special to you?

I think Detroit, at its heart, is a really good baseball town. Which isn't to say baseball is the state's only sports concern. It's just that baseball is a pretty special thing to us, and the start of baseball season is definitely a holiday. So I will say the start of spring training is like having an advent calendar as a kid.

Dreaming of green grass and warm summer days spent in shorts and tank tops at the ballfield -- whether a little league field, a softball field or Detroit's Comerica Park -- are allowed to sneak in a bit more when you know the boys will be back in town within a couple of weeks.

Of course, spring breaks and vacations in Florida are pretty popular with us in Michigan, too. it's not too long after the Tigers head to Florida to begin work that many of us will be heading down there for leisure. It's nice to know our baseball team is there waiting to greet us.

And finally, spring is a time for optimism. We're fortunate that in recent years we were able to go into spring training knowing the Tigers would probably go .500 and almost always had a good chance at winning the division. (Heck, even if they didn't have a great chance at winning the division we'd just convince ourselves that they did, anyway!) In the past, maybe there was a special player we looked forward to seeing, or maybe a couple of players. In any case, we know that a new season brings a record of 0-0 in the standings, and a fresh slate for every player in the league. Talk about the potential to do something great!

So is spring training special in Michigan and beyond? You bet it is.

What makes it special for you?