Even though it was simply an intrasquad game played Friday afternoon at Dunedin Stadium, it feels like baseball is back. The mere sight of a pitcher throwing to a hitter with eight other players in the field, every pitch counting, was enough to get the pulse racing.

Reflecting that impatient player attitude of "Let's get it on" was Ricky Romero, one of two starters on the day along with Brandon Morrow. With the first two men on base, the Jays' ace spun to pick off Rajai Davis at second. The errant throw sailed into centre field, at which point Colby Rasmus then airmailed a throw over third for the first run. It was at that point Romero showed his competitive nature, what he can do in situations, stranding the runner at third with two strikeouts and a soft fly ball.

"I hadn't felt that good in a while," Romero said. "Even in the bullpen I felt like I was fighting myself. I know it's pre-season, but I'm a competitor, man. I take it serious. I don't want them to score if it's a practice game, whatever it is. You're going all out because, one, you don't want to hear from these guys, and two, I compete every time I'm out there. I'm in full game mode."

Leaning towards stripped-down simplicity, manager John Farrell named his competing teams Gray and Blue and in this part of the country that meant Gray was a solid fan favourite. The results of the game itself were meaningless, but there were some individual highlights that made the five-inning exercise all worthwhile.