ST. PETERSBURG -- Evidence that baseball is just around the corner came for the Rays on Monday afternoon, as the final load of equipment and supplies was packed up at Tropicana Field. The truck's destination: Port Charlotte, Fla.
Pitchers and catchers report to the Spring Training facility on Feb. 15. By the time the players enter the clubhouse, everything that shipped south will be neatly put away and at their disposal.
"From spring to spring, we see the players change, but the equipment remains the same," said equipment manager Chris Westmoreland.
Included in Monday's cargo: one palate of bubble gum, one palate of sunflower seeds, three palates of Gatorade products, 30 pairs of shower shoes, 20 cases of shoe polish, 600 dozen baseballs and 30 dozen bats.
In addition to packing supplies, Westmoreland and his staff have been busy preparing the uniforms for new members of the team, including Johnny Damon, Manny Ramirez, Kyle Farnsworth, Joel Peralta, Felix Lopez and Casey Kotchman.
"Looks like we've got a good group," Westmoreland said.
Months after the Rays' 2010 season ended in the American League Division Series, the team will begin anew under the Florida sunshine, and everything seems right with the universe.
Baseball is on the horizon, and life is good.
Bill Chastain is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.