Over the weekend Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News wrote that spring training was “horribly, utterly broken” and made suggestions of how to fix it. He suggests changing the schedule, reducing the time veteran players need to be there and allowing for expanded rosters in April to make up for evaluation time missed in March.
But here’s the thing: who, exactly, is making the complaints Grant is making in the article? Who is claiming that spring training is “horribly, utterly broken?” I have heard players, both on a first hand and second hand basis, complain that spring training is boring for them at some point. But none of them are quoted here, let alone quoted for the idea that, rather than merely boring, spring training is actually broken or counterproductive. Nor are any coaches or managers, scouts or executives quoted to this effect. At the same time, I have heard a lot of people say in the past that pitchers do need 5-6 appearances in order to stretch out for the regular season. Indeed, when pitchers miss even one start, even in this longer-than-it-used-to-be spring training, there are concerns that they won’t be ready for the regular season. And often they aren’t.
Grant is correct that, even if baseball officials did want to reduce the length of spring training they couldn’t, practically speaking, given how big a business it has become and how the towns that built those complexes have basically demanded the number of games they play. But again, no one here is complaining about that. And, when we’ve seen them complain elsewhere, it has focused on their boredom rather than spring training, as it is, being “horribly broken.”
I dunno. I’m guessing there is a better way to do spring training because there is a better way to do a lot of things. But, at least insofar as it’s presented in this article, it all seems a lot more like a set of solutions in search of a real problem. And, perhaps, includes a small amount of projection from the party claiming the existence of the latter and need for the former.