Spring Training Is A Sham

Let's be honest.  Spring Training is a sham.

I mean, it's six weeks of fluff.  Virtually meaningless, like drinking decaf coffee in the morning.

Don't get me wrong, counting down the days until pitchers and catchers report is something all baseball fans can truly get behind.  The winter thaw is near, the year's dark days stretch longer, and somewhere Dave Magadan is hitting fungos.  Baseball's yearly emergence is a wonderful thing.

I'm just saying that six weeks for well-paid, highly regimented professional athletes is much more than they need to prepare.  After all, with millions riding on each season, players stay in tip-top shape year-round.  Many say they take a couple weeks off and are back to it before Thanksgiving.

Years ago, players needed Spring Training to get back into playing shape.  Those off-seasons earning a living by working retail, painting houses or digging graves like Ritchie Hebner are long gone.  These days, the off-season job is to improve for next season.

Players today are world-class professional athletes.  And, barring injuries, managers have their season's game play in mind well in advance.  The real purpose of Spring Training is to create a couple mini-seasons for fans to buy tickets, merchandise, hotel rooms, restaurant meals and reassert their love for the game.

Spring Training is a terrific time of year.  Even if it is a sham.
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