I used to love the start of spring training. Just having baseball in the air (even if the air was really over 1000 miles away) was something I loved. But as I get older and have less free time thanks to excess feet in my house, I realize this time of year is useless and actually quite annoying. Let me explain.
There's every reason to be excited in mid-February. Suddenly the boys of summer are on the TV, throwing baseballs, swinging bats, and running on beautiful green fields. For a baseball junkie like all of us here at The Good Phight, what could be wrong with that?
Well, after the excitement of the first few days, what we experience of spring training becomes utterly annoying. Unless you're one of the lucky ones, you're not going to Clearwater to actually watch baseball. And most of the games are on TV or radio during the day when you're probably working.
So what do you get to experience spring training? TV, newspaper, and internet coverage that cover such important issues as what Raul Ibanez thinks of his ex-teammates, whether there will be bulletin board material for the Mets this year, and the annual piece in which Mike Schmidt does his impression of Scrooge. (Or is Grandpa Simpson the better analogy?)
What we're getting now is the equivalent of Wednesday/Thursday coverage of the Eagles during football season. Just as everything about the past Sunday's game is said on Monday and Tuesday, everything about last season was said over the past few months. And, just as the Eagles' next game doesn't get really interesting until Friday, the approaching regular season for the Phillies won't really get interesting until mid-March.
I used to have time for the Wednesday/Thursday fluff that we're getting now, but it has lost it's attraction to me as I've grown older. I attribute this to other things, things with needs such as diapers, food, shelter, and company, vying for my attention. But maybe it's also because the Phillies, as currently constituted, don't have any of the interesting story lines that take up late February/early March. There really are no position battles of import, and haven't been in spring training for a few years. (And let me be clear here - this is a very good thing for the Phillies, indeed.) After all, almost every team has a battle for the last couple of bench spots, the fifth starter, and the last arm in the bullpen. The media is forced to cover these "battles," but really, does anyone care other than the fan in the 18-team NL-only fantasy league?
I don't mean to spoil the fun that some of you are having with the start of the season. If you're enjoying it, more power to you. But, I'm betting I'm not alone in my distaste for this part of the year.