Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Spring Training Progress

The Sox have appeared on NESN several times and last night I watched a few innings via an MLB channel on cable, the YES Network feed. Paul O'Neill and Lou Piniella couldn't have been more complimentary to practically everyone who ever wore a Red Sox or Yankee uniform.

Of course, I can only watch a few innings of a Grapefruit League game at this point...with developing wandering interests, neck stiffness, and some blurred vision. You can't expect players to play nine immediately, and you can't demand that fans endure the ordeal that is the Red Sox and Yankees either.

It seems as though every hitter is taking an extra pitch, or fouling off some, such that four innings of Felix Doubront seems like a whole game's worth of Denny McLain. His pitch count had to be at least seventy-five, and it's not Japanese baseball so I'm not expecting any eight inning, 150 pitch outings.

So how did I watch the game anyway? First, I had to check the travel distance from Fort Myers to Tampa (a little over two hours) and wonder how many players were looking forward to that little excursion (and the long bus ride afterward). Then, I had to peruse the starting lineups to check which (minimum four) starters drew the short straw.

Then, watch some ball. Piniella and O'Neill didn't like the Sox infield on the move (adjusting to infield in) in the first inning of a Spring Training game. Bill Belichick would call it "situational baseball", getting players adjusted to a situation that could arise in a key moment of a ballgame. Is Bobby Valentine going to be moving infielders in the first inning of every game? Doubtful.

You can argue that it's Red Sox-Yankees, and there's something special every time these teams meet. Well, you can argue it, but on March 13th, you'd be wrong. Guys get in their work. The ones left behind for the intrasquad game thank their lucky stars, and maybe more of them should be thankful every day for getting the chance to play a game for a kings ransom.

I'm glad there's no game on today. Enough was enough yesterday, and I didn't have to ride the bus there...or back.

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