Of course, the action today is going to be significantly different than a regular season game. In addition to the fact that pitchers are scheduled to pitch in predetermined blocks of a few innings, they won't be throwing a their full array of pitches - most notably their breaking stuff. The lineups are bound to have a few players that aren't going to be on the roster come Opening Day, and that number will steadily increase as the game wears on. It's an just exhibition or scrimmage or dress rehearsal, but after a long winter with very little in the way of live baseball action, it's a welcome reprieve to see your guys on the field.
Last night, Joe from River Ave. Blues cautioned us not to pay attention to the stats from Spring Training but simultaneously reminded us to enjoy the games for what they are:
I encourage everyone to watch spring training baseball for the pure enjoyment of the game. I do not, however, encourage anyone to draw insights from what they see in these games. The pitchers and hitters are still working back into their grooves. A.J. Burnett, for example, will not throw his curveball in his first few spring starts. I’m sure the hitters will all be focusing on what they’ve worked on with Kevin Long and figuring out what works. How can we judge these players if they’re not playing the same way they will when the season starts?Similarly, our buddy Craig isn't going to bother with his hilariously-titled morning round up, And That Happened until the regular season rolls around:
Yes, it's baseball, but it's a decidedly different beast than the game we know and love. Things happen in spring training like, say, a team benching all of its regulars at the last minute because it rained three hours earlier. Veterans don't make road trips very often and play golf while their teammates sweat. Pitchers go two or three innings max until at least the end of the month. What happens in those games may be interesting, but the games as a whole are not meaningful. They're certainly not the sort of thing that makes a guy want to dig down and analyze the heck out of a box score, ya know?By the time Opening Day arrives, we are going to be sick of watching Spring Training games. We'll be able to hear the regular season knocking on the door and will be more than willing to leave the meaningless scrimmages and drills of Florida in the dust. However, today around 1:00 will be a great time to embrace the sights and sounds of the game without having to care too much about what happens on the field.
Note: Our friends over at Bronx Baseball Daily are hosting a live chat for the game, and it should be a good chance to yak it up with some like-minded folk. Stop on by.