Sounds of spring can be heard over and over again

Sounds of spring can be heard over and over again

BRADENTON, Fla. -- The crack of the bat ... the "thump" of a fastball in the sweet part of the catcher's mitt. ... A coach's throaty exhortation.

They are all chords in the symphony of baseball, a cacophony of sounds that rival the robin's chirp in announcing the arrival of spring.

Before hitting the main stage of The Show in front of hundreds of thousands, the instruments are tuned on the desolate manicured fields and in the secluded batting cages of Spring Training camps. They are in Florida and in Arizona and in our snowed-in dreams wherever we might be.

You can smell the fresh-mowed grass and see the cloud of dirt raised by the hook slide. Or you can just close your eyes and listen to a unique fanfare that builds to players streaming on the field to the crowd's roar and an umpire pointing to the mound and bellowing, "Play ball!

Tom Singer is a reporter for and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. Follow him on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.