By Sierra Trujillo
It’s (almost) baseball season! And by almost, I mean it’s basically here. With spring training games well underway, baseball fans find themselves scoping out the top prospects, the faithful returners and the rival teams. Because of this, there’s one of two conclusions most fans come to (usually based on their favorite team’s performance).
One, spring training is GREAT. Your team is on a roll winning many spring training games and they’re going to be World Champions come October. Or, the second conclusion, spring training doesn’t matter, your team hasn’t won a game, but they’re still going to be World Champions in October.
So, which is it? Do spring training games really show how well a team will perform throughout a season?
No. While spring training is an important aspect of baseball, the games do not determine how a team’s season will turn out.
First of all, there are over 50 players invited to spring training for each team, whereas the regular season roster only has 25. This means that there are three or four people switching in and out of field positions throughout the preseason, which creates an inconsistency from game to game.
Because of the large number of players attending camp, spring training game line-ups are different every game, including some returning players and some rookies. There are even days when the team is split to play two different games, sending half the team one way and the other half another. This does not accurately represent the season ahead.
Also with the large roster, is the fact that the regular rotation pitchers only throw two to three innings per appearance, rather than simulating an actual game scenario. They are not given the opportunity to “settle down” or “get in the zone” when their time on the mound is so short. Relief pitchers are also receiving a small amount of time in the exhibition games, making the games nothing like a regular season game.
While rookies invited to spring training may be trying their hardest, vying for a spot on the team, returning players and known starters do not take spring training as seriously. Where someone whose spot is not guaranteed would work the whole offseason for the opportunity to attend spring training, and maybe gain a spot on the roster, those who know their place on the team take spring training to begin working out again and get back into the daily regimen.
This means that while the newbies may take the spring training games seriously, most players are using it as a time to find their swing again, build their arm strength back up and get used to playing a game for three or more hours. They are not, however, playing as seriously as they would if it were a game to win a championship.
Although it may not seem important, team chemistry actually has a large impact on how a team performs throughout a season. During the regular season, relationships are built between the 25 players on the roster and no one wants to let anyone down. During preseason, however, there is no way that relationships can be built with every player at camp.
Spring training is an important aspect of baseball, and I’m not undermining that. It’s where talent can be scouted and decisions on how to approach the regular season can be made. Players can get back into shape and get ready for the upcoming long-haul season. But, that’s just what it is: getting ready. The preseason games do not determine how a team will perform during the duration of the regular season.
Jenilee Umali/The Poly Post
Spring training no indication of season
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