One thing I’ve noticed over the past several days: the mood around this team is becoming more serious. I arrived in Clearwater on March 1, and for weeks, the locker room had a post-party feel. It’s not that people weren’t working hard, but they were being asked about the World Series every day, and many seemed to be in savoring mode. Now, as opening night draws closer and players compete for jobs (and some, like Marcus Giles, Kyle Kendrick, and those being sent to the minors realize that the goals and hopes expressed weeks ago will have to be readjusted), Bright House Field feels more focused, less playful. Everyone knows they will have to compete in about a week.
I was talking with Jamie Moyer about this earlier today. The 46-year-old is entirely inexperienced as a defending champion, and all he could do was hope that his teammates do not linger on their October memories for long. “That almost doesn't matter anymore, and a lot of individuals will have to figure out how to get focused again,” Moyer said, without the usual authority in his tone.