One of the greatest joys of spring is the return of the boys of summer,
and there's more excitement around baseball than there has been since
juiced-up hitters were pounding improbable numbers of home runs during
the steroid era.
Mike Trout and Bryce Harper - two once-in-a-generation players - are each entering their second season, and the major leagues have rarely seemed so well-stocked with brilliant young talents, from acrobatic outfielders to fireballing pitchers racking up strikeouts in record numbers.
Joe Carter celebrates World
Series win. (Rusty Kennedy)
There's also more excitement around Canada's only big-league ball team, the Toronto Blue Jays, than there has been in the 20 years since Joe Carter hit a walk-off home run to win the Jays back-to-back World Series titles.
But that wasn't just the last time the Blue Jays won the World Series, or competed in baseball's playoffs; it marked the last time a Canadian team won any North American big league sports title.
So the buzz around the Blue Jays, not just in Toronto, but throughout Canada, is almost deafening after a series of off-season acquisitions made them perhaps the team to beat in the American League. Even if they did lose their season opener.
Jerry Howarth was in the booth with Tom Cheek watching as he announced Joe Carter's heroics. Cheek died in 2005, but Howarth remains the voice of the Blue Jays. Now in his 33rd season of doing the play-by-play for the Blue Jays' radio broadcasts.
Jerry Howarth spoke with Michael in our Toronto studio.
Hear an extended version of the on-air interview - where Jerry talks about the rising number of strikeouts and the dominance of pitchers, the mechanics of the knuckle-ball, and why Jack Morris should be in the Hall of Fame - by clicking on the "listen" button above.