It's the annual "feel good" day. Hordes of media converged on the Rose Garden this afternoon....to talk to each and every player about the upcoming season. There is plenty of optimism...even in the wake of Greg Oden's absence. Today was a true treat for myself and photographer Brian Warner. We ran into Blazers TV man Mike Barrett down there. He took us on a little tour of the new Post-Up Productions that is being revamped. It is state-of-the-art and sensational. Fans will notice a completely new look when they visit the Rose Garden this year. Anyways, I could not help but feel good about the direction of this franchise. Each and every player are just a delight to be around. They are intelligent, well-spoken, and very comfortable around each other. There is a true bond that I haven't seen before. They are laughing, taking jabs at each other, etc. Just an entirely different vibe I'm getting. Had a sneak peek at Josh McRoberts singing "Rudolph, The Red Nosed Reindeer". An instant classic. Oden was his usual, laid back self. He remains on crutches for a few more weeks....but was as approachable as ever. We talked about his new puppy (Charles Barkley McLovin)...as well as mine (Oden). It made for good banter. Practice kicks up starting tomorrow....and there will be some super competition. I'll chime in with more tomorrow.