IN THE SPRING OF ODD-NUMBERED YEARS, I generally use this space to write about Texas politics—about the inevitable failure of the Legislature and especially the leadership to do enough for the public weal—and I never lack for material. But so much has already happened at the Capitol this session (see Topic A: The Great Undoing) that it’s been a tad unrelenting, even for a junkie like me. I needed to get away from it all for a few days, and I decided that the ideal destination was Florida, where I could witness another kind of hardball in action. The real kind.
I’ve been a devoted baseball fan since the age of 8, but I’d never been to spring training. When I heard that a 24-year-old pitcher from Austin named Ross Ohlendorf would be taking the mound for the New York Yankees against the Boston Red Sox on March 12—a kid trying to make an impression in the middle of one of the greatest rivalries in