PITTSBURGH - Spring training is almost over, and that's good news for baseball fans.
Teams will actually be trying to win games instead of having players just get some work.
Spring training, which lasts about six weeks now, is too long.
The teams know it, and the players do, too.
The long spring training goes back to the days when players had offseason jobs and needed some time to get back into baseball shape.
That doesn't happen any more.
A few players still come in out of shape, but most hire personal trainers and work out all through the winter.
With the amount of money that can be made in baseball, players look for every edge they can get. It pays to stick around in the major leagues.
Even though there's a consensus that spring training is too long, that won't change.
It's become an industry for the towns in Florida and Arizona who host major league teams.
Some of those towns pump a lot of money into keeping the teams happy. They make it back on tourism.
Spring training has become a destination spot for a lot of baseball fans.
The atmosphere is more relaxed, and it's a perfect environment for autograph collectors.
This is the best part of spring training. The rosters are being cut to manageable numbers and will soon resemble the opening day rosters.
The regular season is just a little more than a week away from starting. Finally.
Contest is coming
Speaking of baseball and opening day, the annual contest on my weblog will open Thursday at 3 p.m.
Go to my "Mainly Mehno" blog on the Mirror website (altoonamirror.com), and you'll get the specifics.
It's easy to enter, and it's absolutely free. You don't even have to leave the comfort of your home.
You guess the number of games the Pirates will win this season. The winner gets a box of leftover promotional stuff.
There is a tiebreaker question this year, which will keep every number open.
The prize isn't as good as the lottery, but the odds are better. You have a 1-in-163 chance of matching the correct number.
Take a shot - you have nothing to lose.
Mehno can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.