Florida vs. Arizona

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The New York Times’ Tyler Kepner runs down the differences between spring training in Florida vs. spring training in Arizona. He focuses on how as of next year every Cactus League team will play in the greater Phoenix area and how everything in Florida is spaced out. He could have added that the weather, generally speaking, is better in Arizona too (though in my spring training week there were the same number of washed out days — one — in both Florida and Arizona).

Personally I didn’t mind Florida’s spring training geography, but I’m something of a road trip freak who appreciates long drives on two lane roads, Waffle Houses, and cheesy tourist traps more than most people do.  Anyone looking for the most baseball bang for their buck, however, would probably do better to hit Arizona for a week than the Sunshine State.

Next year I’ll probably do Arizona just to see what that’s like, but like most things in life, I’m glad there is some diversity in spring training sites. If for no other reason than it gives us something to argue about.

2017 Preview: The American League Central

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the American League Central

Do the Indians have a weakness? Do the Tigers and Royals have one more playoff push in them or do they have to start contemplating rebuilds? The White Sox and Twins are rebuilding, but do either of them have a chance to be remotely competitive?

As we sit here in March, the answers are “not really,” “possibly,” and “not a chance.” There are no games that count this March, however, so they’re just guesses. But educated ones! Here are the links to our guesses and our education for all of the clubs of the AL Central:

Cleveland Indians
Detroit Tigers
Kansas City Royals
Chicago White Sox
Minnesota Twins

2017 Preview: The National League East

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For the past few weeks we’ve been previewing the 2017 season. Here, in handy one-stop-shopping form, is our package of previews from the National League East

The Washington Nationals crave a playoff run that doesn’t end at the division series. The Mets crave a season in which they don’t have a press conference about an injured pitcher. The Marlins are trying to put the nightmare of the end of the 2016 behind them. The Phillies and Braves are hoping to move on from the “lose tons of games” phase of their rebuilds and move on to the “hey, these kids can play!” phase.

There is a ton of star power in the NL East — Harper, Scherzer, Cespedes, Syndergaard, Stanton, Freeman — some great young talent on ever roster and, in Ichiro and Bartolo, the two oldest players in the game. Maybe the division can’t lay claim to the best team in baseball, but there will certainly be some interesting baseball in the division.

Here’s how each team breaks down:

Washington Nationals
New York Mets
Miami Marlins
Philadelphia Phillies
Atlanta Braves