LOS ANGELES -- The road to spring training is not a highway lined with palm trees.
The real road to spring training is long and lonely and (especially) sweaty.
When you throw baseballs for a living, the road to spring training begins in early November, when spring training still feels as if it's farther away than Uzbekistan.
It's a road lined with thousands of long tosses in an empty ballpark, with billions of crunches and stretches and exercise reps, with hours spent jogging or sprinting or both of the above.
This is a road that none of us civilians ever see. But the part of baseball we do get to see -- the part that goes on from February through October -- wouldn't be possible without it.
That's why there might not be a less sensible word in the whole English language than "offseason." Where's the "off" in it?
"There's really no offseason when it comes to baseball," says Dodgers pitcher Randy Wolf. "I think that's one thing that's really hard for people outside of it to understand."
Wolf used to play for Philadelphia. Isn't Koby Bryant from there?
Stark goes on to detail Wolf's off-season regimen, including:
Randy Wolf's typical offseason day
1-2 p.m.: Arm and abdominal exercises in home fitness room
2-3 p.m.: Catch and long-tossing at local high school
3-4 p.m.: Running -- alternating five-mile distance-run days with interval-sprint days
4-5 p.m.: Full body workout at local gym every other day
For the lazy and/or illiterate, there's—yes!—a highlight video of Wolf's four-hour offseason routine. Honey, grab some popcorn!
I, for one, am happy that when Randy's arm falls off, the rest of his body will be in prime physical shape.