I get it. In a lot of the country, it’s that part of the winter where it seems like it might never end (though it’s been quite mild here). The charm of spring training, whatever anyone tells you, is merely seeing the sun and warmth (though it was quite cold in Arizona recently). When the games start, fans may tell you they’re turning in to check out a hot prospect or a new pitch someone is working on, but really we just tune in to see the sunshine. To know that it looks like that somewhere not all that far in the grand scheme of things, and that it will look and feel like that wherever we are soon. If I write the words, “Cold beer on a warm day,” you immediately begin picturing it in your hand.
But that doesn’t mean that in the opening days of spring training we’re so starved for anything that anything qualifies as news or even interesting. The feeds have been full of these slapdick exhibitions for the past couple days:
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In this town, for example, it was a yearly tradition for the truly bereft of benefit to society to break down Jason Heyward’s swing and the changes they were sure they saw, and the evidence it provided that he, indeed, would actually hit in the season to come. He never did. Something like this goes on in all 30 baseball towns.
It’s batting practice. Every player looks good in batting practice, they’ve been doing it almost all their lives. Where else do we get this kind of thing at the beginning of training camp? You never hear that some left winger looks great shooting into an empty net in September. Sure, it’s a nice little nugget to see players taking swings again to let you know spring training has started again, but that’s it. Using this for real analysis would be the definition of drinking the sand.
This will be quickly followed by a breathless overanalysis of spring training results. There are more than enough out there who want to lose their mud over a homer in the sixth inning of a game in Peoria off some pitcher wearing No. 87 who may, may throw 13 innings in the bigs this year. But at that moment, it’ll be a sign that whoever that batter was is headed for a big year. Bank on it.
It’s cold, it’s dark. But that doesn’t mean we’re saps.
Another “fear” dispelled
Whenever some Helen Lovejoy is out there screaming about transgender athletes, one cliched strain of argument is that their child will simply not be able to compete. That all girls’ sports will be dominated by transgender competitors and no one else will ever win a thing.
Lia Thomas has heard this a bunch during her swimming career at Penn. She heard it all the way through to winning the national championship last year Well, it took all of a year for one of her records to be broken:
Not that anyone who argues against transgender athletes will be paying the least bit of attention. But there has been no evidence or example of a transgender athlete warping a sport or competition in a way that can’t be matched by anyone else. It’s an ignorant scare tactic, and here’s a prime example.