I have to start today’s blog post by acknowledging the fact that the Frederick News-Post has done a decent job printing Washington Nationals articles this season. In a city that bleeds orange and black, it’s nice to see some increased coverage of the “other” Major League baseball team that’s a short driving distance from Frederick. So thanks, FNP – we Nationals fans appreciate the recent articles in the sports section highlighting the Nationals’ hopes for Spring Training and goals for the upcoming baseball season.
OK, now that I got that out of the way, let’s talk some Spring Training. We may still have some mounds of snow around here, but in Florida and Arizona, Major League Baseball’s Spring Training is in full swing (pun intended!). I sat by the warm fire in my living room fireplace in my fleece, velour, and fuzzy socks the other day watching the Nationals host the St. Louis Cardinals, where the crowd was all in tank tops and shorts. Oh to be in a warm climate enjoying ballpark hot dogs and watching the badass Nationals with their facial hair and cocky confidence!
Actually, I should not be allowed to watch any Spring Training games at all. They just give me anxiety and make me want the real season to start tomorrow. I’m too darn competitive for these “pretend” games that don’t count – why did Max Scherzer allow a home run in the second inning of the Nationals’ game against the Mets? That’s inexcusable! The Nationals paid seven gazillion dollars for him; he needs to be perfect! Why couldn’t the Nationals beat the Yankees in Sunday’s game, in which A-Rod hit a double off Doug Fister? Come on – it’s the Jeter-less Yankees! I don’t think I can take it this month – they need to start playing for real right now (never mind the fact that there are three feet of snow in Fenway Park)!
Spring Training is a time for previously-injured players to get back into the swing of things (there’s that pun again!), like the Orioles’ Manny Machado and Matt Weiters, and for veterans like Ryan Zimmerman to get used to playing new positions (he’s making the move from third base to first, and so far he’s doing a pretty good job). But they also have regular nine-inning games, so how can they expect us to not get excited when we’ve spent the last four months wondering if Peyton Manning is going to retire and trying to figure out if that dress on the Internet is blue and black or white and gold? We are ready for some real excitement!
Instead we need to stop, take a step back, and chill just a little, hard as it may be. We need to let the baseball players get into their routines, practice their batting stances, and get their uniforms dirty. Jayson Werth needs time to rehab his post-surgery shoulder and newly-acquired shortstop-turned-second-baseman Yunel Escobar needs to heal his recent oblique strain. We’ve waited this long, so we can wait a few more weeks for the regular season to start, right? I guess. Players still need to be cut (Tyler Moore and Michael Taylor are nicely pleading their cases to not get cut by having good at-bats in the first few games), umpires need to brush up on their skills, and groundskeepers have to get the ballparks ready for opening day less than a month away. And some of us have big decisions to make: Do we get tickets to “Jayson Werth Chia Pet Night,” or “Anthony Rendón Garden Gnome Night?” And those Opening Day tickets on StubHub – yikes, they’re not cheap! So let me try to practice what I preach and not take Spring Training so seriously – something very hard for a competitive person like me to do! This is when I take a deep cleansing breath, go outside for a run while leaping through melted snow puddles, and bake some cookies… while taking a peek at MLB Network coverage of Spring Training. Sorry; I just can’t resist!