(Photo courtesy of Associated Press)
Don’t let the snow and blistery cold weather fool you, the baseball season is right around the corner. And while spring training is exciting and it is nice to hear Dan Dickerson and, sigh, Jim Price – and his irrational love for things to be racky-tacked – back on the radio, can we please stop the nonsensical overreactions to spring training results?
Trust me, I understand the importance of spring training. First, it provides players the opportunity to get into game shape and get comfortable before the real games begin. It also allows relatively unknown players the shot to win a bench role and be a pleasant surprise during the season (please see Matt Tuiasosopo in the 2013 season).
Beyond that, please, spare me the details.
Anybody with half-a-brain understands that the Detroit Tigers lineup will be quite different from last year’s lineup. But do we really need a daily update of how many home runs the Tigers have hit this spring? We get it — the lineup will likely hit less home runs this season, but steal more bases and run the bases better.
In case you were wondering, the Tigers had only hit three home runs entering today’s game. They added three more to that total today.
Another issue with spring training is using a box score to determine the effectiveness of a pitcher. Let’s ignore the fact that most pitchers, especially starters, use the beginning portions of spring training to work out kinks in their delivery and determine a pitches effectiveness. But for relievers, they are usually facing minor league talent, especially late in spring training games.
A great example of that is Al Alburquerque this spring, who has recently been praised by the baseball media for his performance. When you look at his numbers, they appear outstanding (4 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 ER, 3 BB and 6 K).
My biggest concern with Alburquerque in the past was that he couldn’t consistently locate his fastball and walked too many batters. Well, three walks in four innings doesn’t ease my mind of that issue.
But even with that frustration, I’ll wait until Alburquerque struggles in April and May before losing my mind and wondering why Dave Dombrowski didn’t focus more on the bullpen in the off-season.
Folks, I get it, baseball season is close and we have been waiting for Opening Day since the Tigers painfully lost Game 6 of the ALCS in Boston (DAMN YOU, JOSE VERAS, FOR THROWING VICTORINO ANOTHER CURVEBALL). But please, do us all a favor, and stop concerning yourself with spring training results. They don’t matter … well, except for Phil Coke. He’s terrible year-round.