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Video: Asdrubal Cabrera doesn’t do rundowns in spring training

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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.

Red Sox to extend protective netting at Fenway Park in 2018

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The Red Sox are the latest team to extend the protective netting at their ballpark this winter. According to a statement by club president Sam Kennedy, the exact dimensions of the netting have yet to be determined, but it will likely stretch “all the way to Field Box 79, down the left field line and then all the way down to almost Canvas Alley in the Field Box 9 area.”

Fenway Park received additional protective netting prior to the 2016 season, when the netting behind home plate was lengthened to the home and visitor dugouts. Per Kennedy’s statement, the current expansion should cover everything but the outfield corners, making it nearly impossible for a line drive foul to reach fans in the lower boxes.

After a toddler sustained serious injuries from a 105-MPH foul ball to the face at Yankee Stadium last September, over half of all MLB teams decided to take more extreme preventative measures in advance of the 2018 season. The Brewers, Cardinals, Braves, Astros, Royals, Pirates, Rangers, Padres, Nationals, Mariners, Phillies, Mets, Reds, Blue Jays, Giants, Yankees, Twins and Indians are among the organizations to address the issue over the last several years, while others have yet to take significant action.