Thursday, February 18, 2016

Today’s the Day!

It’s finally here! Today is the day that, well, nothing really happens! But, nothing really happens officially for the first time!

Today is, of course, the day pitchers and catchers need to officially report to Spring Training. Of course, most of them have been there for quite some time. So many of them have been there early, in fact, that people were actually blasting Pablo Sandoval, who is neither a pitcher nor a catcher, for not already being in camp.

So while today doesn’t actually mark the start of anything new, it is yet another check box on the way to actual baseball.

Truck Day. Check.

Pitchers and catchers report. Check.

We’re on our way!

The only problem with today? Spring Training is just awful. Nothing actually happens, especially for a team like the Red Sox. Maybe on a team full of youngsters there are some fun positional battles to look into. But, not here. I think I can already pretty well predict the Red Sox batting order on Opening Day. So, with little to report on, the media will have to just start making stuff up. Stores like Mookie rolling a golf cart into a pond take up three days of a news cycle. Clips of Hanley Ramirez fielding a ground ball are treated like they’re museum artifacts. With any luck, the media will only invent fluff pieces, as opposed to inventing controversies. But, I’m not holding out hope.

So, is there anything worth paying attention to during the Spring? Maybe a few things.

I want to see how Hanley handles first base. Yes, as I said before, he’s going to be just fine. But, how fine? Will he be able to start off running? 

How will the rotation fall together? I think we can guess who will be at the top. But, after that? Porcello and Buchholz would seem to have a slot somewhere. From there, things could get interesting. Who steps up and grabs a spot?

I’d like to see how Jackie Bradley hits. As with any Spring Training stat, I’d be more concerned with failures and I’d be pleased with success. With the level of competition he’ll be seeing, I’d hope he wouldn’t struggle. But, beyond that what does he show?

What about catcher? Is Vazquez healthy enough to make it a real competition? What will the result of that be?

With the outfield presumably full, where does Brock Holt find at-bats? Does he finally figure out how to pitch?

While I don’t expect to find answers to any of these questions, it’ll be fun to watch and see how the questions frame themselves. If nothing else, there’s baseball stuff going on!

What are you looking forward to this spring?

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