Why is truck day such a big deal all of a sudden?

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They’ve made a mini-celebration out of “Truck Day” in Boston — that day when the semis full of gear leave Fenway and head down to Ft. Myers — for the past ten years or so. Kinda silly, but a nice enough little ceremony. Better than the groundhog as far as harbingers of spring go anyway.

This is the first year, however, where I’ve heard of other teams — or fans of other teams — making hay over their own Truck Days.  The chatter on this has been growing all week.  MLB.com has a whole article about it today, talking about various trucks leaving various parks for various spring training destinations.  Which leads me to ask two questions:

1) Has this always happened? I’ll grant that I may have missed it in the past — I’m obviously following things a lot closer this winter than I did back when I was a working stiff — but I have no memory whatsoever of anyone but the Red Sox making a big deal out of it before this year, and even then it was a really minor and relatively recent phenomenon;

2) If I’m not imagining it and it is a new thing, do we give the people at MLB credit for coming up with a new marketing/promotional thing, or do we heap scorn on them for synthesizing some phony fan event, ripping off the Red Sox or whatever?  Because I’m kind of confused about it.

Jonny Venters is still pitching

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Lefty reliever Jonny Venters was among a handful of players the Rays signed to minor league contracts, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times reports.

Venters, 32, hasn’t pitched in the majors since 2012 and has logged just 27 2/3 innings in the minors in the meantime due to a continuous battle with his elbow. According to David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Venters has undergone four — four! — Tommy John surgeries.

When he was healthy, Venters was a fearsome late-game option for the Braves. He posted a 1.95 ERA with 93 strikeouts in 83 innings in 2010, and a 1.84 ERA with 96 strikeouts in 88 innings in 2011. His first-half performance in 2011 earned him a spot on the National League All-Star roster.

Venters has spent the last two years in the Rays’ system and he’ll try to make it a third.