Internet InfoMedia in search of spring
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For those of us who’ve been white-knuckling our way through winter, the new season can’t arrive soon enough.

When does spring begin? For some, it’s the second Sunday in March, when we turn our clocks forward by an hour in the United States. For others, it’s when they first realize they’ve finished dinner and it’s still light out, or when the first crocuses poke up through the snow. Is it when you can go outside without a jacket and not feel a chill? When you pack away the down bedding and down jackets for another year? In the Northern Hemisphere, the vernal equinox will officially take place this Tuesday, March 19, at 11:06 p.m. Eastern.

This year, impatient as ever for winter to end, I decided to skip my usual routine of fidgety calendar watching and see if I couldn’t do something to hasten spring’s arrival.

It’s only a three-hour flight from La Guardia (rainy, cold) to West Palm Beach (sunny, 81 degrees, slight breeze), and from there an hour’s drive to Clover Park in Port St. Lucie, the spring training home of the New York Mets. Even with the traffic of more than 7,000 fans descending on the ballpark (a subway series matchup with the Yankees, a hot ticket) and the few extra minutes you’ll need to make a quick change from jeans to sundress in a CVS parking lot, if you leave New York before dawn you can easily make the trip from winter to spring with enough time to grab a Nathan’s hot dog before the first pitch.

Sitting in the stands, watching baseball on a day so balmy as to have been cooked up in a lab to make a visiting New Yorker question all her life choices, it felt laughable that one might sit at home and wait for spring to arrive. Here in Port St. Lucie on a Tuesday afternoon, weeks before the season’s official start, cheery fans were decked out in team merch, drinking Modelo Especial tallboys and snacking on peanuts, reeling off stats, heckling the players. Here, spring was already happening.

Baseball devotees are known to anticipate the onset of spring with a special fervor. In February 1971, John Hutchens wrote in The Times, “He is beginning to emerge from his cotton‐wool haze, the hopelessly addicted baseball fan for whom life — if that’s the word for it — has amounted to nothing much since the last play of the 1970 World Series.” This is the kind of hyperbolic perspective on the seasons I identify with. I’m not a die-hard baseball fan, but I know the agony of which Hutchens writes, the way life seems to be on hold during the winter months.

Jerry Kraus, a snowbird from Utica, N.Y., who works at Clover Park during spring training, seemed to have the right idea, leaving the Northeast for Florida when the weather gets dicey. He was so in sync with the springtime vibe that he caught a foul ball right in his hand. (Baseball’s not Jerry’s only sport; he runs a Wordle league in which participants are given rules for letters they’re not allowed to use for their first word. On the day I met him, the rule was “No worries,” so your first guess couldn’t contain the letters W, O, R, I, E or S.)

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