Simon Crerar, an Australian-born staff writer at BuzzFeed, put together this comical rundown of his first experience with Major League Baseball, which just officially opened its 2014 season with a two-game series between the Diamondbacks and Dodgers at the Sydney Cricket Ground. Crerar mostly points out oddities that we’ve come to accept as very normal, very necessary parts of the game.
Some highlights from Crerar’s writeup …
- “Instead of a big oval with all the action taking place in the centre, baseball is played on a weird diamond, with all the action taking place in one corner.”
- “Everyone wears pyjamas. Fancy pyjamas, but still PJs.”
- “Half the time the players don’t seem to know what’s happening and the coach has to explain the rules.”
- “Incidentally, these guys wear GREAT leather belts.”
- “The balls are either super cheap or the MLB is super rich. Balls go into the crowd non-stop and never come back.”
How he ends it: “Thanks for coming Down Under, Major League Baseball! You blew our minds.”
Nationals first baseman Ryan Zimmerman has played in exactly one Grapefruit league game this year, and that was way back on March 2. Since then he has been totally absent from the Nats’ big league spring games, playing instead on the back fields in sim games and in minor league contests.
While that’s not an unusual course of action for an injured or rehabbing player, both Zimmerman and the Nationals insist that there is nothing wrong with him. Per this report from MASN’s Mark Zuckerman, they’re saying that Zimmerman “simply prefers to get his work done in the more controlled environment of minor league games, where the rules are lax.” He doesn’t have to dive for balls, he can lead off every inning, etc. Manager Dave Martinez says Zimmerman simply doesn’t like the usual spring training grind and that this is working for him so he’s fine with it too.
Are you buyin’ that? Not sure I’m buyin’ that.
I suppose weirder things have happened. The Minnesota Twins once let Jack Morris go back to his farm in between starts rather than stay with the club. Other accommodations have been made for veterans, especially in spring training. But this is way more in keeping with a team hiding an injury. Though I have no idea why the Nats would choose to hide an injury to Zimmerman. They’ve talked at length about Daniel Murphy‘s knees and Adam Eaton‘s seemingly never-ending rehab. If Zimmerman has some aches and pains, you’d think they’d talk about it.
On the other hand, if this is a legit story and it is simply an accommodation for a veteran who doesn’t like the normal spring training grind, look for Zimmerman to be a trailblazer, because there are a LOT of dudes who hate spring training too and would love to change things up like this.