Spring Training is the worst event in sports.
In February, all 30 Major League teams set up camp in either Arizona or Florida to play 33 games over a span of 45 days. Following four weeks of practice games, team dinners, and motivational speeches, the League enters baseball season, a 162-game competition spanning over four months.
Why does preseason exist? Football plays a four-game preseason, hockey holds a two-week preseason, and the NBA plays a lengthy three-week preseason. Spring Training is too long; to make matters worse, Major League baseball already has the longest season in comparison to all of sports.
Dodger Outfielder Matt Kemp says spring training is “necessary for teams to create championship winning bonds.”
Giant’s first baseball Brandon Belt disagrees, “you can’t buy chemistry.”
I agree that there should be some type of preseason practice and play. But really? Four weeks? 33-games?
Here are three reasons why Spring Training is the worst thing on the planet:
Spring Training gives a foothold to illness.
Take the Los Angeles Dodgers for example. The Dodgers entered spring training with 40 Major League players. Two weeks later the Dodgers sent home 25 players due to a mysterious illness that was passed around through the clubhouse. Forty guys living together, working out in the sun for hours each day is a recipe for disaster. In 2015, a similar incident happened in the Boston Red Sox clubhouse when multiple players missed Opening Week due to a flu-like illness that swept the clubhouse during Spring Training.
Spring Training is an injury magnet.
The infamous injury factor is a major component in Spring Training. Although Spring Training is a time where players are given the opportunity to work out any injuries prior to the regular season, it also opens the door for injury to occur during practice.
33 games are played (not including split-squad games) and each game lasts an average of three hours. Whip out the calculator and compute the stats. That’s around 99 hours of gametime in which a player could get injured during Spring Training. It’s so not cool to start the season on the disabled list. For example, a whopping SIX players from the New York Mets have unfortunately ended up on the disabled list because of Spring Training play within the last two weeks. In addition to the injured Mets, Seattle Mariners ace, Felix Hernandez, took a linedrive straight to his forearm, landing him on the disabled list as well.
Spring Training is boring.
Spring Training games are also extremely boring. None of the players perform to a Major League standard. With Opening Day over 30 days away, players are more focused on the regular season and regular season performance than a game in the desert that essentially means nothing.
I’m a fan of minor league play and I enjoy watching minor league prospects play with major league players in Spring Training, but it takes the “excitement” out of the game when you don’t recognize any face or name on the field. If I wanted to watch a minor league game I would just drive to Rancho Cucamonga and watch one live.
So, why do I hate Spring Training so much?
Maybe I don’t hate the idea of Spring Training, you know, practice does make perfect. Maybe I just hate the way Spring Training is conducted. Spring Training is too long, the games are boring, and I just want real baseball to start already.