Archive for the ‘Spring Training’ Category

This has been one of the more exciting off seasons that MLB has seen in quite some time. After the San Francisco Giants shocked the world with their World Series win over the Texas Rangers, free agency became the center of the baseball world. Some of the biggest names were Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford, and Jayson Werth. Lee left the Rangers to return with the Philadelphia Phillies. Crawford left the Tampa Bay Rays to join a suddenly scary Boston Red Sox club. Werth left the Phillies for the Washington Nationals in a move that I believe was strictly for monetary purposes.

These players weren’t the only ones that made noise with their off season antics. Manny Ramirez left the Dodgers to join Johnny Damon in Tampa Bay. Derek Jeter had his whole ordeal with the Yankees where apparently ol’ Hank Steinbrenner believes he is building too many mansions. Everybody and their mothers knew Jeter would remain a Yankee, but the contract negotiations were fun to watch for the spectator anyways. As was the Albert Pujols contract drama. Pujols is the best player in the MLB in my opinion, but he is off his rocker if he thinks he can get a long term deal getting $30 million per year at his age.

When you have mansions like Jeter, there are plenty of reasons to smile.

These free agent signings and other drama have made this year’s spring training very fun to watch. Some questions that are being asked about these new free agents is their age. Lee, Ramirez, Damon, and Werth are all over the age of 30, and Crawford is already 29. Are these teams paying these players too much, given that they may not have much more in them? I think that is the case for some of them. In my opinion, Lee was a post season wonder and will not nearly be as effective as Philly fans are expecting. Ramirez and Damon are both in the major decline of their careers. Don’t even get me stated on Werth, the Nationals are crazy if they think they can build a team around him. Carl Crawford is the only real high priced free agent that I believe will be effective for many years to come.

All of the new faces on these teams are looking for fresh starts, just all of the clubs in the MLB are seeking a fresh start. That is what makes baseball so great, every team has a new year to do great things. Us fans can just sit back and enjoy until October. The off season stories have been entertaining so far, but the season will be that much better. Oh no, I forgot about the best off season story. Apparently Cameron Diaz fed Alex Rodriguez some popcorn at the Super Bowl.

This wouldn’t be a real spring training thread with out a few predictions. I predict that the Red Sox will beat the Phillies in the World Series 4-2. I predict that the Cubs will be out of the NL Central division race by June. I predict that Manny Ramirez will be in a mental institution by May. Have a great season folks!

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Its finally that wonderful time of year when baseball fans around the country begin to prepare for their team’s latest attempt at winning the sport’s ultimate prize, the World Series. As the weather begins to change, the players pull out the bats and gloves and head to Arizona and Florida for a month of training for the regular season.

Having not personally had an opportunity to go to a Spring Training, I sought out the most passionate baseball fan I have ever met who has been to many Spring Trainings over the years and can tell countless stories from baseball’s annual pre-season event.

Megan Magiera is a Journalism student at IU and was nice enough to take the time to share her thoughts on the unique world of Spring Training.

Where do your baseball loyalties stand? (Favorite team, Favorite stadium, Favorite moment)

Chicago Cubs. (Red Sox too but not nearly in the way I’m a Cubs fan) Favorite stadium is Wrigley Field for obvious reasons. My favorite moment would either be when Sammy Sosa hit his 600th homerun just because everyone thought he was done and to come back and do it against his former team and the only team he had never hit a homerun against is just the perfect story. The other would be in 2008 when Matt Murton scored the winning run to put the Cubs in first in the division and Len Kasper, their announcer, was so excited his voice cracked when he screamed “The Cubs win! The first place Cubs win!”

Where have you attended Spring Training games?

I’ve been going to Red Sox spring training once a year, every year, since 2002. I went to a Twins game finally last year as well.

How would you describe Spring Training compared to regular season games? Atmosphere, Fans, etc

I think because it’s the Red Sox my Spring Training experience is a lot different than most. People buy season tickets for and they have homes just for spring training. It’s Red Sox Nation, they take it seriously. Every game is a packed house. Where as the Twins it’s more of relaxing in the sun having a hot dog and there happens to be a baseball game 10 feet from you. At Red Sox spring training 85% of the people are in Red Sox gear where at the Twins game everyone was in random teams or not baseball related at all.

I think it’s taken pretty seriously. I’m a Red Sox fan because of spring training. I also think I may be biased because I am a fan of the Cubs and Red Sox and I think it’s a different mindset than most teams. The Cubs have had 13 errors in 4 games already this spring and it makes me angry, so the fact that I’m getting angry despite it not counting I think shows that it has relevance to me. I guess I find comfort in knowing that the games don’t count but you automatically start to think well what if they do this in the regular season too.

Do you have any great stories relating to spring training or any baseball games for that matter?

When I was 12 I was at a Red Sox-Rangers game and the Rangers still had A-Rod and he wasn’t the asshole he is today. He was signing autographs and I was about three people away and he stopped. I was really disappointed because usually you just get no-name guys and here I missed out on A-Rod. So after the game I convinced my dad to go find where they come out and get autographs. My dad is not a patient guy and the thought of standing around for a scrub’s autograph isn’t his idea of fun.

We were walking around the stadium after the game and he told me I had to find out where they came out if I wanted to stay. I wasn’t big on talking to people I didn’t know but I went up to this guy that came out of the back door and asked him something along the lines of “excuse me sir can you please tell me if this is where the Red Sox come out?” he said no and told me where to go. I said thanks and left. While we were standing out by the parking lot the guy comes out and calls my dad over, to not cause a scene I guess, and says “this is for your daughter for being so polite” and hands him a Pedro Martinez signed ball. He happened to be my favorite player at the time next to Jason Varitek and let’s just say that I try to make sure I never forget my pleases and thank yous now.

Any thoughts on the upcoming season?

Cubs over Red Sox in game 7 at Wrigley! Haha I can dream right? Cubs wise, defense is going to be life or death for them. The rest of the division is having issues right now too and it’s the NL Central, it’s anyones to win. Keep an eye out for pitcher Chris Sale over on the South Side, goofy kid but I think he’s the real deal. Hopefully the Red Sox can get back on track, a lot of big signings so they’re expecting big things. Also, the Marlins, please someone get them some fans. Michael Stanton is going to tear it up and no one is even there to witness it. Rumor has it Mark Prior is pitching again? Does Vegas have an over/under on days until his arm literally falls off?

-Josh Bowles

While it didn’t exactly happen like the picture indicates, the biggest news during this years spring training for me was not only that Mr. Reds Killer himself was out for the season because of Tommy John Surgery, but just all the drama that came with it in general. Just like before this basketball season with Robbie Hummel going down. As a Hoosier I felt really bad for the guy but at the same time I was happy because I knew our chances of having a good game or perhaps beating them Purdueschbags were significantly higher. As a Reds fan it’s kind of the same thing. I’m stoked to see Wainwright go down because I believe he was 4-1 on us last year. That’s 4 more wins we’re going to get right there if all goes well. We’ve been pretty good against the other Cardinals pitchers over the past season and a half. I like the Reds chances to at least get to the NLCS this year if not further. We’re not doing so hot in spring training at 3-2 with a bad loss to the Indians but does anybody ever have a good record in spring training?

Secondly, did you all hear about all that drama that came with Wainwright going out with Tommy John Surgery? Reds outfielder Jonny Gomes was singing a song about Wainwright being gone (Hints the title), and it just blown up into something it shouldn’t have been. Hal McCoy of the Daily Dayton News heard Gomes singing this tune in the dugout and originally posted the story as a humorous thing. Gomes was getting all this heat when it really wasn’t anything that bad. McCoy has since apologized to Gomes. If you haven’t seen the article check it out. http://hardballtalk.nbcsports.com/2011/02/23/reds-outfielder-jonny-gomes-celebrated-news-of-adam-wainwrights-elbow-injury/

When media does stuff like this is when I hate media in sports. I hate how the media blows almost everything up. It gets really annoying sometimes. Celebrities should be able to live their own lives. Who cares if Jonny Gomes is singing about Wainwright’s injury? I practically was myself. There has to be a better story out there to cover than Jonny Gomes singing about a fallen foe. I’m certain that every team in the league loves seeing a competitor go down to some extent. It gives them an advantage and they realize that. You can never be happy to see somebody get hurt but you can be happy to see your chances of winning against that team go up. Point is, this Jonny Gomes thing should’ve never been brought up. Let the athletes live their lives. Prayers do go out to Wainwright though in all seriousness. Tommy John’s can’t be fun.