Well, that was your call. The default position was always that it was going to start on time, and February 17 was long set as the first official day (even in julio's post from last October). Dombrowski said it three weeks ago too. I guess we could have, ahem, "stopped the count" if necessary.
And I think we have this debate about which day is the true beginning every year too. Can't say I completely understand which deadline is really voluntary and which isn't, though I think this year we can say for certain that not everyone will show up on the 16th or the 17th, even amongst pitchers and catchers.