This is probably an unpopular opinion, but unless you're sitting in the bleachers under the Florida/Arizona sun with a beer and some peanuts, spring training baseball sucks.
The games themselves are horrible. The stars/starters don’t play past the fourth inning. Most of the game is played by scrubs and minor leaguers. Some people say they like this because they get to see rookies and other players that get little regular season run. These people are Fuqua-esque retards because they obviously haven't heard of the minor and independent leagues, where players like this live for most of the year. The pitchers are, for the most part, working on their "stuff" and aren’t out there to win baseball games (and rightly so…) The list goes on and on. The result is what you should expect from exhibition baseball – an imitation of major league baseball that is at best, moderately entertaining.
I also hate spring training and the games because people (like me…) think that what happens in these games matters. I had some time to scour some blogs today, and based on 3 spring games, 1 against a college team, people are already making assumptions/speculations based on the results. Some of the things I’ve read:
- Karim Garcia might be better than we all thought, I guess because he had a couple of hits versus Cleveland and Detroit garbage-chuckers.
- Greg Dobbs, basically, is freakin’ awesome and has pretty much won a bench spot.
- The Phils stole a couple of bases so Davey Lopes is great and this will obviously continue. How could it not?
- Jimmy Rollins took a lead-off walk, which he will now do conisistently.
- A few people have questioned the focus on fundamentals because some errors were made against Detroit. I can’t even begin to comprehend this logic.
- And lots of comments like, “Player X looked good” or “Player Y pitched well,” etcetera, etcetera. This one really bothers me because people aren’t actually watching the games. They are just looking at box scores and making assumptions, not understanding that stats tell about 10% of the story in spring training.
If you are basing opinions on players based on spring training games, especially in the first week, think of this as an intervention. I know, it happened to me. I found myself looking at spring training box scores today, analyzing and scruitnizing, trying to draw some sort of conclusion from a Pittsburgh vs. Manatee Community College game. I realized I needed help. Don't let yourself fall that far....
Bernie Williams Has An Uncle, And He Talks:
From Jayson Stark on ESPN.com: “Bernie Williams' uncle told the New York Daily News that Williams turned down a $5 million offer from the Phillies. Uh, not quite. According to an official of one club that looked into Williams, the Phillies' offer was closer to $2 million. But Williams wanted more money and playing time. So that was that.” Well, no crap. If Williams is going to sit on the bench, I’m sure he’d rather do it in NY and have a chance at coat-tailing another WS title. Williams to Philadelphia never did make much sense…
Donut Eater Still On The Block
From mlbtraderumors.com: "Phillies GM Pat Gillick swung by the Blue Jays' camp yesterday to talk some baseball with J.P. Ricciardi. The Globe and Mail's Jeff Blair writes that the Phils like Alex Rios and Dustin McGowan and are trying to trade Jon Lieber." This would seeminly clear way for a Rowand for reliever trade, leaving the Phils with a 5 man rotation, another reliever, and a Burrell/Victorino/Rios outfield. However, I doubt we could get Rios straight up for Lieber and given the paucity of the minor league system...
In a not-entirely unrelated note, the first link after typing "donut eater" into google.com is Lieber's baseball-reference.com bio, although neither of the words "donut eater" appear on the page. Link based merely on association. I love it.