Happy Opening Day of Spring Training Games!
No, it doesn’t have quite the same ring to it as Happy Opening Day! Then again, Opening Day should be a national holiday (in my mind, at least).
In about an hour, the Twins will take the field at Hammond Stadium to take on David Price and the Tampa Bay Rays. The Twins are going with what should be their primary lineup (with the Ben Revere/Trevor Plouffe/Left Field “platoon”) much of the season.
There are so many big dates and events in baseball. Last month, we were all excited to hear the phrase “Pitchers and Catchers report!” There is the All-Star game, the trade deadlines, September call-ups and the World Series. If you’re a big fan of the Hot Stove, you get excited about things like the GM Meetings, the Winter Meetings, the day that 40 man rosters need to be set, the day arbitration needs to be offered and later accepted or declined. For Twins fans, January brings the Winter Caravan and Twins Fest.
So, why is opening day of spring training games exciting for me? Two words – Box Scores! That’s right! By later this afternoon, you can read them online and in tomorrow’s newspapers. Granted, the box scores of early spring training are typically much, much larger than in the regular season because so many players play. We can follow the Twins games and see several things. How are the players vying for roster spots performing compared to each other? How are the younger players and the non-roster invites doing? How are the stars from other teams doing, particularly those players who switched teams in the offseason? I also enjoy looking at box scores and seeing how former Twins and former Twins minor leaguers are faring elsewhere. Box scores have been a huge part of baseball and fandom since Henry Chadwick invented them in 1859!
Over the next month, the Twins and all of the other teams in baseball will be playing games almost every day. With so many players in Twins camp, they even have a few split-squad games to allow many more players to play. With minor league camp starting next week, some of the players in big league camp will be sent across the parking lot by the end of next week. There may be a few roster spots up for grabs right up until days before Opening Day.
Another reason for Twins fans to be excited today… Cory Provus will be making his debut this afternoon as the play-by-play voice of the Twins.
And it all goes back to the fact that Opening Day should be a national holiday. The spring training openers are a reminder that Opening Day is fast approaching and another 162 game season is about to begin!!