Spring training doesn’t matter. That is a pretty clear statement, but it still doesn’t make it less confusing for all of us baseball fans. Many of us, especially those in markets with poor teams, have such high hopes each spring.
Yet we are often left confused by our favorite players performance. Look at the dominant New York Yankees left-hander CC Sabathia. He has been beat around by the Pittsburgh Pirates this spring. But do you really anticipate CC not being the ace he always has been in this league?
After the first rough outing against the Pirates, CC said, ‘stats don’t really matter down here until you…[I'm not a big fan of what he said, so just go ahead and insert a common spring trainng phrase here.'] If you don’t know what he said, I will get to it later.
It didn’t hurt my feelings though, because he is right, it doesn’t really matter. None of these games matter.
1. The stats don’t really matter because the games don’t really count. However, because we have shoveled more snow than possibly imaginable, or have become so tired of watching NBA highlights on ESPN, we are just dying for a baseball game. So, somewhere deep inside it really does matter.
2. Most of us have played in games that matter, to some degree, all of our lives. A game that ‘doesn’t matter’ is a new concept for us.
3. If the player you want to to make your ballclub is hitting near .500, you’re going to brag about it. It’s a fact. Your guy is making improvement. It doesn’t matter that he is hitting late in the games against a gray beard, major league hanger on. That’s your guy. But when the season starts, you can put good coin on it that he will be back riding the bus in AAA. Because, these games don’t really matter.
4. But let me get this right, if your guy wasn’t getting hits against those AA pitchers late in the game, it still doesn’t matter. There is a dilemma in most every training camp like the one the Pirates have right now:
The Pirates Brandon Moss hasn’t got a hit against anybody. Not AA pitchers, not CY Young winners. Zip. Zero. So because he hasn’t had a hit off any pitcher with a first name in the entire Grapefruit League, that means he sucks right? Well not necessarily, he is just unlucky. Moss has absolutely stung a few balls. So, remember, it just doesn’t matter.
5. So if your favorite player has struckout eight times in 30 AB, does that matter or doesn’t that matter? It doesn’t matter. He is in the best shape of his life and spent time with the hitting coach this offseason working on a new swing.
6. Stats don’t matter, just look how awful the Astros, Padres, Indians and Orioles were last spring training and then look at how well they played during the regular sea …nevermind.
7. Stats don’t matter, but wins or losses, surely they matter right? Nah, not so much. Remember how well the Pirates played last spring with Craig Monroe slugging homers all over Florida, but the Pirates carried that momentum to their infamous 17th straight losing season. A nice spring training isn’t going to get a team a wild card. Monroe was out of job before we were grilling dogs on the Fourth of July. These games don’t matter and most of the players’ performances don’t really matter. CC said!
8. If your future superstar isn’t bashing, it doesn’t matter. But if he is stroking balls all across the sunshine states, oh what a great feeling that is. It might be the best feeling about spring training. If you have watched Pedro Alvarez or Dominic Brown, you entirely understand.
9. Pitchers stats don’t matter either because they are usually chucking that changeup up to the plate for the third straight time. The typical spring training pitcher has everything except a sign with ten inch, red letters saying ‘HEH, HERE COMES THIS CHANGEUP AGAIN, I HAVE VERY LITTLE CONFIDENCE THROWING IT.’
10. So since none of it matters, just remember what the old timers tell me at the watering trough. Spring training matters for one thing. It’s a beautiful excuse to escape your wife, life, girlfriend, boyfriend or whatever hell it is that you want to make disappear for a few days. Now that matters.
11. So back to CC Sabathia again. What exactly did CC say about the Pirates? It doesn’t matter what CC Sabathia said! Hit it Rock