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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.

Umpire admits he blew the call that got Joe Maddon ejected last night

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Last night in the top of the eighth inning of the Dodgers-Cubs game, Curtis Granderson struck out. Or, at the very least, he should’ve. After the game, the umpire who said he didn’t admitted he screwed up.

While trying to squelch a Dodgers comeback, Wade Davis got Granderson into a 2-2 count. Davis threw his pitch, Granderson whiffed on it, it hit the dirt, and Willson Contreras applied the tag for the out. End of the inning, right? Wrong: Granderson argued to home plate umpire Jim Wolf that he made slight contact with the ball, Wolf, after conferring with the other umps agreed, and Granderson lived to see another pitch.

Before he’d see that pitch, Joe Maddon came out to argue the call and got so agitated about it all he was ejected for the second time in this series. He was right to argue:

It all ended up not mattering, of course, because Granderson struck out eventually anyway.

Normally such things end there, but after the game a reporter got to Wolf and Wolf did something umpires don’t often do: he admitted he blew the call:

It’s good that the bad call ended up not affecting anything. But the part of me who likes to stir up crap and watch chaos rule in baseball really kinda wishes that Granderson had hit a series-clinching homer right after that. At least as long as it didn’t result in Cubs fans burning Chicago to the ground.