No matter how much it seems that we’re now living on the ice planet Hoth, it won’t be long until pitchers and catchers report to Florida for the start of spring training.

Yes, baseball is coming to rescue us from this dismal winter, and none too soon.

St. Louis Cardinals fans have to be happy with the way the team stacks up on paper. The Cardinals have kept their youth and added key pieces to the puzzle. Fans hope this will not only put them back into the playoffs, but might be enough to secure another World Series title.

Some of the news coming out of St. Louis Tuesday was that outfielder Matt Holliday has forgiven new teammate Jhonny Peralta for his 50-game suspension for using performance-enhancing drugs.

“I am against PEDs and always will be,” Holliday told the Associated Press. “But I also am a forgiving person and he served his suspension. That’s the rules of the game. I’m happy to have him as a teammate.”

Holliday is much more forgiving than the Baseball Writers Association of America (BBWAA), which again took a hard line on suspected PED users in its recent Hall of Fame voting.

The BBWAA has taken a lot of heat from the public with the vote, and that’s expected in anything subjective like hall of fame voting. There can be a fine line between seeing a player as very good and one meeting the criteria to earn the votes to get into the hall of fame.

Before you try to barbecue the BBWAA for its policy, consider that the voting criteria also features three citizenship/sportsmanship items, which should clarify why Barry Bonds and others haven’t made it in and why Alex Rodriguez should be looking to buy tickets to Cooperstown if he wants to get into the hall of fame.

As Rule 5 in the BBWAA election rules stats:

“Voting: Voting shall be based upon the player’s record, playing ability, integrity, sportsmanship, character, and contributions to the team(s) on which the player played.”

When you put weight to the integrity, sportsmanship and character, that erases a lot of on-field contributions. Supporters for those players might insist that PEDs were not specifically outlawed during that time.

I have to believe if Kennesaw Mountain Landis had been commissioner when the PED scandal broke, he would have outlawed offenders for life, which would have invalidated their selection eligibility anyway.

Local Connections

This area has ties to another professional athlete after the Houston Dynamo of Major League Soccer selected AJ Cochran in the first round of this year’s MLS SuperDraft.

Cochran is the son of John and Anne (Schmitt) Cochran of St. Louis and the grandson of Washington residents Kenneth and Tudy Schmitt.

A graduate of CBC, Cochran was the Big Ten Conference defensive player of the year at the University of Wisconsin in 2013. He was a semifinalist for the Hermann Trophy and a two-time All-Big Ten selection.

The central defender also is a member of the Generation adidas development program.

Cochran will join a growing number of professional soccer players with area ties. Matt Pickens, a Borgia graduate, is with Colorado and was the goalkeeper when that team won the MLS Super Cup in 2010.

Nickardo Blake (East Central College) was drafted by Toronto FC, but has played for the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the North American Soccer League.

Borgia graduate Cody Reinberg played for the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL Second Division in 2009.

Also in the professional sports world, New Haven graduate Kathleen Scheer continues to make an impact in Australia’s WNBL.

Playing for the Sydney Uni Flames, Scheer has played in 18 games while averaging 8.8 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest.

She has reached double digits in scoring seven times so far with the most recent time coming Jan. 8 with 13 points in 14:25 of playing time against Townsville.

Sydney currently is sixth in the league standings with a 7-11 mark.