It Won't Be Long Now

After a long, cold winter, baseball will break through the crust of snow on Thursday, heralding the return of a full summer's worth of action. With a rebuilt coaching staff and roster, it will be exciting to see just how things come together. Here is a calendar of things to come during the 2006 season.

February 16, Thursday, is the voluntary reporting date for pitchers, catchers and injured players. That means quite a few new faces at Dodgertown.

February 21, next Tuesday, is the reporting date for all other players.

February 27 Hall of Fame Negro leagues and pre-Negro leagues selection committee will meet in Tamps, Florida.

February 28 is the mandatory reporting date for all players. It is also the date for an intrasquad game at the Baseball Grounds in Jacksonville.

February 3-20 is the World Baseball Classic at a number of different locations.

March 1 is the opening of the exhibition series when the Dodgers host the --- at Holman Stadium in Dodgertown.

March 15 is the last day to place a player on unconditional release waivers and pay 30 days termination pay instead of 45 days. This gives released players a chance to catch on with another team.

March 29 is the last day to declare unconditional released waivers on a player without having to pay his full 2006 salary.

March 30 the Dodgers play the Seattle Mariners in the final exhibition game of the spring season at Cashman Field in Las Vegas.

April 2 is opening day (Cleveland and Chicago White Sox) and active rosters are reduced to 25 players.

April 3 the Dodgers will start to play for keeps when they host Atlanta for a three-game series.

June 6-7 is the Amateur Draft.

July 11 is the All-Star game in Pittsburgh.

July 30 is the Hall of Fame inductions at Cooperstown.

July 31 is the final day you can trade a player without placing him on waivers.

September 1 the active rosters expand from 25 to 40.

October 3 the Dodgers open National League West Division Playoffs.

October 10 the Dodgers open the National League Championship Series.

October 21 the Dodgers appear in their 20th World Series.

Dodger Blue Notes-- David Pinto, writing in Baseball Musings feels there will be no work stoppage in major league baseball when the current labor agreement expires in December. He says, "If there were going to be trouble this time around, you'd already hear owner or players complaining. The players seem happy with their situation, the owners (for the most part) seem happy with their situation, and the two sides showed they can work cooperatively by opening the CBA to change drug testing. No one is trying to destroy free agency or arbitration. No one wants to destroy revenue sharing, although the union will try to modify how it works. Baseball union chief Don Fehr, adds "... the overall atmosphere of the sport is such that there are a lot of reasons that people on the outside should be optimistic about our chances of reaching an agreement." Gosh, can it be that the millionaires and billionaires can agree on something? … One-time Dodger Rickey Henderson will be a special instructor for the Mets during part of Spring Training, but still hasn't committed to ending his own playing career. Henderson, now 47 and less than 2 1/2 years removed from his last Major League appearance, still isn't ready to retire. But he said Thursday he has reached a point where he wants to "give back to the game" and "help the young kids." …In a complete break from common practice -- and one might say with common sense, Toronto, who spent huge bales of money attempting to improve their roster, announced that for $81 (Canadian), you can get a pass that will get you into every Blue Jays home game. The seats are in the outer ring of the Skydome and are non-guaranteed -- if you don't sure up 45 minutes before game time. What a concept! …On the Dodgers Caravan recently, Ned Colletti was criticized for wearing his San Francisco World Series ring. Listen, if I had a World Series ring, I'd wear it to bed. …If you think arbitration is flawed, consider that Alfonso Soriano "lost" his arbitration case and had to accept $10M from the Nationals.

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