Spring training has become a season and an industry unto itself, complete with big shiny stadiums and expensive tickets and big scoreboards and all of that. As such, we have almost completely forgotten that it’s basically just practice.
Really, that’s the purpose. Teams used to take off to some remote camp in the middle of nowhere in the spring. Maybe a decommissioned army base or ranch owned by the team owner’s friend or some isolated island off the coast of California. There they’d practice. They’d work out and get ready for the season. While they’d play some exhibitions and barnstorm as they headed back north or east, the idea of putting on 30 nine-inning games for paying customers, as if it were the regular season, was almost completely foreign.
Keep that in mind as you watch Asdrubal Cabrera get into, and then peace out of, a rundown in yesterday’s game against the Detroit Tigers:
You may want to call him lazy or lackadaisical or something, but this is practice. It’s still practice, even if MLB and its clubs and the host cities in Arizona and Florida treat it as competitive sports and charge fans as if the games had some consequence. In this case, it was more practice for the Tigers, actually, in that learning how to execute a rundown properly is more critical than a runner learning how to get out of one. Why on Earth should a New York Met help the Tigers with their practice?
Anyway, I don’t blame you, Asdrubal. You get paid for the stuff that starts on April 3. Just make sure you’re in shape and ready for that day.