I've always loved Spring Training. For lots of reasons, I guess right up near the top is the word spring, a promise of the end to this cold. We have had a particularly bad winter this year, in fact it snowed all night and is still coming down though it is warm (just above freezing) so it is very wet. So the idea that spring could be coming sometime soon is a good thing.
Then, of course, there is baseball to watch. I really love watching baseball. Joe Morgan talks about stat guys that don't watch baseball and I always loved reading Bill James and I like reading the Baseball Prospectus each year. But I like watching the games. I like watching the shortstop get a ball in the hole. I like watching lefties swing and compare to my swing, which was never a work of art. I like watching pitchers with different windups or that throw from different arm slots. I even like watching guys bunt, even though I know it is a terrible strategy 95% of the time. I like the skill it takes to do it well and I like watching the different bunt defenses.
And I like watching the young players. I like that Brad Emaus hit one out yesterday, I like getting the first chance to see how Scott Campbell could do against major league pitching. I like seeing how Brett Cecil does, 4.2 innings with 7 strikeouts and just 2 hit and 2 walks given up.
I like seeing how the guys that aren't prospects do. I like seeing Wayne Lydon playing center field even if I think he's got no chance of making the team. I like seeing that Dirk Hayhurst has started spring training so well or that Jason Lane seems to be forcing the Jays to consider him for a role. I like guys like that, that are a little older and that keep at it even though the odds are long. Guys that hang around making bus rides in the minors just because the love the game. Every now and then it works out for one of them. Jesse Carlson was 27 last season when he made his first major league appearance and he came out of no where to do a great job for the team.
And I love stories like the one Hugo mentioned yesterday about Adam Lind putting on 20 pounds of muscle over the winter. Or Aaron Hill returning from his concussion and looking good out there. Or Casey Janssen who I can't wait to see pitch. Or Scott Richmond getting a chance to win a starting job after pitching in an Independent league 2 years ago. Or even reading about Scott Rolen and Lyle Overbay trying to bounce back from poor seasons last year.
I guess I have read too many times in the last little bit that spring training games are meaningless. Well, I guess so, but in the grand scheme of things, all baseball games are meaningless, it's not like they are going to cure cancer or something. If you are a baseball fan why not enjoy the games for the experience of just watching good baseball played by good players.
Anyway, all this was a lead up to saying: Today's game is on Sportsnet! The Jays are playing Team Canada. So watch, and come join us in the game thread. Mike Maroth is to start for the Jays and Scott Richmond will start for Team Canada.