Saturday, March 16, 2013

Is spring training lasting too long?

An artsy-fartsy photo of spring training.
Is it just me or does spring training seem interminable this year? I tend to stick with the Jays and their team dynamic and needs are different this year than in the recent past. They’re also broadcasting all spring games this season, and that’s something new. Since I work at my computer most days, I’ve listened to a good portion of most games. Another twist is the WBC going on. The Jays have nine players out of camp, and I think that has a bearing on my perception of the unfolding spring, too. Regardless, I’m not enjoying the festivities as much as expected.

Spring training has always had a two-fold purpose. The first is to allow the senior players a chance to shake off the rust and round into playing shape. In days past this was much more important. The off-season for players really was off. They enjoyed their five-month holiday from being an athlete and often arrived in spring training in pretty poor shape. They needed every moment in time to get ready for the coming season. Now, in this age of multi-million dollar deals and improved knowledge on strength-training, stretching and agility, players stay in shape most of the year.

A serious new training exercise?
The other important facet is for management to evaluate upcoming talent, those kids in the farm system and how near they are to major league readiness. If they’re not ready, what’s the best level for them to hone their skills. That’s why you see so many high uniform numbers and unrecognizable names late in spring training games.

Since I work at home, I often put a spring training game on, just to stay up-to-date with what’s happening, who’s hot, who’s not and who may be outrighted as the clock ticks down to April.

And perhaps that’s the problem. I’m listening to way more ST games than I ever have, coupled with the fact that so many of the mainstays of my team are off at the WBC. We’re missing the starting catcher, our ace, our all-world shortstop and our first baseman, not to mention that our third baseman sustained an injury with the Canadian team. By the fourth or fifth inning, you can’t recognize the Jays’ line-up. Forget AAA, they’ve been using a ton of AA players. The results have been pretty predictable.

I am so looking forward to April when the A team is on the field and we can put all this time-wasting preparation in the rear view mirror, at least until next February.

Still, I’ll take spring training over those dreary winter days when there’s no baseball. Perhaps it might be an idea to look at games from the previous season for my baseball fix.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Today's game wouldn't impress you either,Rick. Only two major leaguers started, and no Gibbons. And why did Sportsnet carry the Tampa/Boston game instead of the Toronto/Houston game?