Out of Left Field: Spring training – it’s all about the livestock

MlbHlSqPeople! Enough of the speculating, the postulating and the ruminating. Enough of the rumour-mongering and number-crunching. Finally, finally, you good, good people – we have some baseball to watch. Yes, my friends, spring training has begun! And ain’t it grand?

Spring training is the one time of year where you can watch your team play without worrying that they might ruin their playoff hopes, or dip beneath .500. This is baseball, but without the emotional commitment. Sure, you might get excited, or disappointed, or annoyed, but then that little light-bulb flashes above your head – ping! – It doesn’t matter at all!

This beautiful time of year allows us to ease our way back in to watching baseball. We can let it drift over us, we can dip in and out, or we can bail in the fifth inning when we don’t recognise anybody. Alternatively, we can keep watching, to see the stars of tomorrow and the stars that never will be. Ah, the freedom and the hope of spring training.

But enough of my jaw-jawing, I’m guessing you’re chomping at the bit for some wacky baseball news, right? How did I guess?

First off, not everybody is so excited about baseball starting again. Take the Houston Astros’ Carlos Lee, who has skipped training to go to the rodeo. Lee is a cattle rancher in his spare time (we all need hobbies, right?) and so headed off to the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. As you do, at the beginning of a new season. Manager Brad Mills doesn’t seem to mind, though: “It’s not something that just came up. We had discussed it when he first got here and it’s fine; there’s no problem.” Cool. I wonder what other excuses players can use to get out of work? State fair? Comic book convention? Garage sale? Suggestions welcome!

This week’s crazy injury time. Toronto Blue Jays’ Brett Cecil cut himself in a, and I quote, “kitchen-type accident”. Luckily, there’s no indication that the injury is serious, so we’re free to make fun. “Kitchen-type accident”? I don’t quite understand. Does that mean it was the type of accident that could take place in a kitchen, but took place elsewhere? Was he somewhere that was just masquerading as a kitchen, but all along wasn’t one? Answers on a postcard, please.

This column is all about the equal opportunities, so how about this? A female knuckleballer from Japan, Eri Yoshida, met Tim Wakefield, after she had spent the winter pitching in the independent Arizona Winter League. Yoshida had taught herself the pitch by watching Wakefield on television, and is doing her best to cross the gender lines in professional baseball. A berth in the MLB may be a way off yet, but it’s still a pretty cool story. I’m especially pleased she learned the knuckleball, the funkiest of all pitches, don’t you know.

Another pitcher is in this week’s fashion corner, with this bizarre little video of Tim Lincecum modelling a San Francisco Giants Snuggie. I’m really not sure what to make of it, but I do know this, Lincecum is far, far removed from your bog-standard ballplayer. In fact, on the evidence of the video, he may be some sort of slacker wizard. It’s always a breath of fresh air to come across an awesome sportsman who isn’t as dull as dishwater. And it makes writing this column a whole lot easier too. Thanks Tim, you crazy guy!

Well, that’s me done for another week, I’m off, to do my homework.

Have a good week, until next week.

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2 Responses to Out of Left Field: Spring training – it’s all about the livestock

  1. Matt Smith March 6, 2010 at 10:00 am #

    That clip of Lincecum is great! Even in the black and orange of the Giants, I can’t help but like the guy.

    Nice spot on the Sabermetrics course as well

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  1. BaseballGB » Rounding the Bases: The Games Begin - March 7, 2010

    […] Steve stated yesterday, it’s “the one time of year where you can watch your team play without worrying that they might […]

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