The long wait is over.
An annual rite of spring may be a couple of weeks delayed, but soon the sounds of the cracks of the bats and the pops in the glove will fill the air around Major League Baseball's spring training sites in Florida and Arizona.
Major League Baseball and their Players' Union ratified a new contract after a 99-day stalemate on Thursday, paving the way for the season to finally begin, albeit it a little later than originally scheduled.
But players are expected to report to their team's facilities to begin spring training by Sunday, and it looks like the weather couldn't be any better.
In Arizona, the weather looks sunny and near 80 in Phoenix and its surrounding suburbs where the Cactus League teams play.
In Florida, while thunderstorms and possible severe weather is in the forecast for the northern third of the state on Friday and Saturday, conditions improve for Sunday as the Grapefruit League gets under way. Highs will reach around 70 for the east coast sites like Jupiter, Port St. Lucie and West Palm Beach, home to the Marlins, Cardinals, Mets, Nationals and Astros, while highs will be in the upper 60s around Tampa (Yankees) and western shore locations like Clearwater (Phillies), Dunedin (Blue Jays) and Bradenton (Pirates.)
Lakeland, where the Detroit Tigers train, is forecast to be the relatively cool spot at 65 degrees Sunday while players for the Twins and Red Sox will bask in mid-70s warmth in Fort Myers.
No rain is in the forecast for Phoenix through all of next week meaning spring training games should begin without a hitch later in the week. However, while dry weather looks to hold in Florida into early next week, some rain and thunderstorms return to the forecast for the middle and end of the week.