Spring Training games are just like football friendlies in that the first teamers get taken out partway through, the results don’t matter and they are played in a casual atmosphere. So, as with their football equivalent, they’re not normally a thrilling spectacle, but it’s great for a while at least to watch some baseball after four months without it.
They give you an early chance to see new recruits in their new uniforms, catch a glimpse of some highly-rated prospects, and occasionally to see a mammoth home run or spectacular piece of fielding that you can enjoy regardless of the games not counting for anything.
They are a good way to keep up with the latest roster news as the commentators have time to fill and normally do so by discussing news around the leagues, such as who may be in pole position to win a roster spot and progress on a player’s rehab from an injury.
More than anything, just as the players use Spring Training to get back into the daily baseball groove, so can we as fans start getting back into the swing of it. First pitch for the vast majority of games during March comes at around midday local time, so they are convenient for us to follow live during the British evening.
Not all Spring Training games are covered on TV in the States and so there’s a reduced MLB.TV schedule to watch via an online subscription. You will also find that some of the ‘connected device’ options aren’t available during March. Additionally there are normally only a few games – if any – that will be on BT Sport this month.
However, there’s pretty much always radio commentary to listen to via MLB At Bat and that makes for a relaxing evening soundtrack to whisk you away to a contented ballpark in Arizona or Florida for an hour or so.
It all gets going at 18.05 on Tuesday evening with a perfect Spring Training game example. Toronto face Philadelphia and there will not be too many regulars on show for much beyond the fourth inning, indeed several of the Blue Jays’ big names won’t be involved at all, but it’s a chance to watch Marcus Stroman pitching an inning and after four months without baseball, who wouldn’t want to watch that?