Goodbye, cruel winter. I won’t miss you, other than the fact that you put snow on the ground so I can shred some slopes (this year I only managed to shred my knee).

Hello Spring! And what’s that you’re bringing with you? It’s Baseball season!

I'm a big baseball fan ... just putting that out there. After attending the final game of the NLCS this past fall, some friends and I vowed to attend spring training. April seemed too long to wait to watch baseball, so we headed south to Clearwater this March. I happened to run into quite a few IronPigs fans down there who had the same idea. Although my tan is fading, the Phillies season is off to a strong start and I have great feelings for the Lehigh Valley IronPigs as well.

The IronPigs open their season on Thursday at Coca-Cola Park in Allentown, and with Ryne Sandberg at the helm this year’s team shows a lot of promise. I recently attended Media Day and got the chance to shake some hands and get the players’ vibe for the upcoming season. I also met a new friend, Dan Kehl of Noise Nation, the IronPigs fan club, who is currently working on a charity cookbook to support the National Brain Tumor Society.

Excitement was in the air as we were led into the player’s clubhouse, and I learned that PB & J sandwiches are a popular meal for athletes on the go. After the meet and greet, we ventured onto the field with the players as they warmed up and took a few throws. The park was empty and quiet, much different than we’ll witness on Thursday night. With such excellent ticket prices ($6 general admission, $9 field level) and an award winning ballpark (Ballpark Digest’s “Ballpark of the Year” in 2008), it’s no wonder that the IronPigs led the minor league in attendance levels last year.

I will be attending my very first IronPigs game tomorrow night. Will I be seeing any of you there? If not, what are some of the games you plan on going to this year?