Six Signs You Are Watching a Spring Training Game
We know you’ve been hurting for live baseball action since the Astros won the 2017 World Series last fall, so it’s time to embrace Spring Training. With that said, there are some key differences to let you know that you are watching Grapefruit and Cactus League games instead of regular season games, and here they are.
1) The Marlins Actually Win
It’s early, but the Marlins are actually doing well (4-1) in their first five Spring Training games. This might not seem like much of an accomplishment, but the perpetually rebuilding Marlins might not have that much success in a month of regular season games.
2) Jason Kipnis is Tearing it Up!
Through three spring training games, Jason Kipnis is 6 for 8 with 3 Home Runs and 5 RBI. He only had 12 dingers in an injury shortened 2017 season, so this is a great sign for a potential rebound. Every year there is at least one player who busts out it the Spring and shows flashes of All-Star level talent. Sometimes it continues into the regular season, but more often it does not. Right now Kipnis is the MVP of Spring Training, but check back with us in another month.
3) The Games Don’t Actually Matter
It seems silly to point out that the exhibition preseason games don’t count for anything in baseball, but we feel we need to make it clear. Baseball has a bad habit of making other meaningless exhibitions (the All-Star Game) count, so we wouldn’t put it past them to attempt to make Spring Training more important at some point in the future.
4) Everyone Has Hope
By mid May we already have a good idea of who is going to contend for a spot in the baseball postseason, but in late February everyone is still alive. That includes the aforementioned Marlins, along with perennial losers like the Pirates, Reds and Padres.
5) Teammates Don’t Know Each Other
Somewhere between 15-30% of rosters turn over every year, leading to a lot of awkward spring training moments between strangers. Players don’t know each others’ tendencies, leading to a lot of unforced errors and awkward pitch selection.
Our favorite story about new teammates goes back a few years. Upon being introduced to John Olerud, future Hall of Famer Rickey Henderson pointed out that he had previously played with a player who wore a similar concussion-prevention helmet to Olerud. Olerud sheepishly informed Rickey that it was Olerud himself who was the teammate. Sadly, Rickey has denied this story publicly.
6) No One Goes to Games
Compared to the robust regular season attendance numbers, most teams average between 5000 and 8000 fans at each Spring Training game, with only a handful of teams topping the 10,000 mark last year. However this difference probably won’t be that noticeable to fans in Tampa Bay.