March 17, 2011
You know, I was fortunate enough to have the time and money to go to Spring Training last year. This year, however, I had the money but no time... and that's what this article is about. It's about the fact that there is a bunch of baseball going on and I can't be a part of it.
Oh, sure-I can catch the games on TV. But part of the thrill of a game to me is getting to watch it in person-no commercial breaks, no cameras telling you exactly what to look at, and no (sometimes) irritating commentary from a subpar broadcaster. I'd much rather be there, in the midst of it all, cheering and booing and soaking up some sun!
It's frustrating to be driving back from a lunch break at 1:30 and hearing about how your team's down two runs in the fourth inning and knowing you couldn't make it to the stadium by game's end. I've been lucky enough to live within forty-five minutes of a major league stadium all my life... the fact that there's a game happening that I couldn't go see is a bit maddening. To know that BP is happening and to also know that there's no chance to snag anything is even worse, am I right?
And the biggest Spring Training stadiums only hold... what? 12,000 people? There's so little competition for a foul ball it's like being at Progressive Field every day! For those of you who have the time off work or school and get to see some Grapefruit or Cactus League action, I envy you. And for those that have never been... plan to go sometime! You get to relax, stay warm, and catch a ball before most of the country's ballhawks get to even try. Also, tickets are cheaper, players have more time for things like chatting with fans and signing autographs, and there's never a bad seat in any stadium. For me, it's a six to seven hour drive to Arizona and I'm sure I'll go again sometime. A bunch of you out there probably have a much longer way to go to see your favorite team play in the spring but I suggest you plan it out. If not for this season's spring lineup, maybe for next year's! Spring Training is a truly unique and relaxing experience... and half the country's covered by snow at this time of year anyway! So, if you don't ski, what are you waiting for?!?
Of course, some of you out there reading this may not care about the spring games. And that's fine-I don't use them as a measure of who's going to have a great year or anything... but it is baseball. And after November and December and January without any baseball I'm chomping at the bit to head out to a game or two... or ten. Sure, spring games don't count in the standings and the starters are often gone after the fourth inning but it's still the sport I love. It's still fun and wholesome and competitive and it drives me crazy that I'm not there to take it all in. Two weeks to go...
Matt Jackson is a contributing columnist to myGameBalls.com and also maintains a Blog.