Spring is almost here, Ash Wednesday has passed and so has the groundhog's shadow.
Pitcher and catchers, plus the remainder of the squads, have begun workouts in Florida and Arizona.
Cleveland Indians fans back here in blustery Ohio can tune in to the satellite or digital cable to get an upclose look at its 2012 team while they train in Goodyear, Ariz. They will get the chance to hear some of what the players hear throughout the course of a spring ballgame.
MLB Network announced that the telecast of Cleveland's Cactus League contest against the Arizona Diamondbacks on March 7 at Salt River Fields will included live in-game audio. A select group of players and coaches will wear microphones, giving insight into what is said and heard on the field and in the dugout.
The MLB Network appears on many satellite systems and on Channel 326 of the Time Warner's digital tier.
As many as six players on each team will be "mic'd up" for the broadcast, which will be called by MLB Network's Matt Vasgersian. Content will be aired throughout the game, with audio on a brief delay in case a player lets loose an expletive. Microphones will also be set up at each base, down the lines and along the outfield wall.
The Tribe also recently announced a half-dozen Spring Training games will be aired on SportsTime Ohio (Channel 36 on Time Warner Cable Systems). The team says almost all of the Tribe's Cactus League games will be on air in some way.
SportsTime Ohio telecasts, featuring Matt Underwood and Rick Manning, will show a half dozen games from the Tribe's spring home in Goodyear, Ariz.- March 10 (Padres), March 12 (D-backs), March 13 (Rangers), March 15 (White Sox), March 19 (Dodgers) and March 21 (Giants).
The Indians-owned STO will air"Spring Training Daily" at 9:30 p.m. nightly from Monday through Friday and from March 26-30.
Also talk show host Bruce Drennan will bring his daily "All Bets Are Off" live from Arizona at 3 p.m. March 4-8.
The Indians Radio Network - with flagship station WTAM 1100-AM and WMMS 100.7-FM - will broadcast 20 exhibition games, featuring play-by-play man Tom Hamilton and his full-time partner Jim Rosenhaus. WKBN 570 AM in Youngstown will pick up some of these broadcasts.
Former Indians radio announcer Mike Hegan has retired from the booth but will still be working with the Tribe in a marketing capacity.
Every Tribe spring game, including nine exclusive broadcasts, will be available live on the Internet at www.indians.com
Across the continent in Bradenton, Fla., the Pittsburgh Pirates will begin spring ball on March 3. The first game on radio will be held on March 4 with KDKA-FM 93.7 as the flagship.
Root Sports, found on many Armstrong and Mahoning Time Warner systems, will telecast four spring games from Bradenton, - March 10 vs. Minnesota, March 21 vs. Boston, March 24 vs. Houston and March 26 vs. Balltimore. The MLB Network will also show two Pirate road spring games March 9 vs. Boston in Fort Myers and March 27 vs. Philadelphia from Clearwater.
The announcing team includes Greg Brown, who is in his 18th season as play-by-play announcer with the Bucs; Tim Neverett, in his third season with the Pirates; Bob Walk, also in his 18th season as a member of the Pittsburgh broadcast crew; lifetime Pirate Steve Blass in his 26th year in the booth; and John Wehner who is beginning his eighth season as a Pirates broadcaster.