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THE REALISTIC GIANTS FAN: How to Make Sense of Spring

DO THESE GAMES MEAN ANYTHING?


Spring games are on the horizon. What do we really learn in spring training? What do we need to pay attention to to get a good read on the players? The contradictions are immense. If someone has a bad spring but already has a roster spot we are told that spring was about getting his work in, and to rest assured he will turn it on when the season gets going. If a youngster has a great spring we are told to look out cause here he comes. If the team wins, it's a good omen. The season will probably be good. If they lose, well its just spring training, it doesn't mean anything. Well which is it?

Personally in spring training I look to see the starting pitchers innings towards mid-March, and where the game is at after six innings. By mid-March the pitchers are throwing to the max as far as where they get in spring training , as opposed to the beginning where they throw one or two innings, or the end where they make sure not to overwork before the season gets going. As for the offense, spring games end after six. The seventh inning on becomes an exercise in how well you know your favorite organization. The pitchers they are facing are at the bottom of the totem pole, which is appropriate since the hitters are as well. If you watch spring training games to the end you are truly as sick as I am. That is not a good thing.

The true barometer for how we will do though is in last year's results. We won 88 last year. Did we improve? Yes. That simply means that intact, we should have a better year. Period. Spring training thus becomes in its truest form, a health report. That's the main thing we all need to watch. Is everyone breaking camp healthy? Injuries sack a season much quicker than poor play. These guys are professionals, they are gonna put up some assemblance of their numbers. Even Aaron Rowand has been in the neighborhood. Yes his Homers are down, but his doubles slightly increased (ballpark effect anyone?). His RBI numbers were similar, and his average went down a bit, but he still put something up. He has stayed relatively healthy, and believe me, that's better than paying him to sit. When people have down years, they are hurt. Plain and simple. Look at Edgar Renteria last year. That was an injury riddled year, and I swear I said coming out of spring, "He's throwing weird." Boom. Elbow problems, a clue in I received from last year's spring training.

If you actually read this drivel you are obviously a knowledgable baseball mental patient, and thus you are smart and filled with baseball common sense. You know what to look for. Solid play, damn the results. If your team is good (see the Yankees, every spring training in recent memory) you will win in the spring. Your team will be so ahead after six your minor league no names can't possibly blow it. You will just get that feeling...the same one you got last spring when you just knew it was gonna be a winning season. Or you'll get the other one where you're sick to your stomach and just know it's gonna be a long year. You will know, you will feel it. Think about it, have you ever truly been surprised by a year? I can think of only one and that was I DID NOT see Atlanta coming in 1991. I'd be interested in your responses.

The bottom line on spring training is don't put too much thought into it. Just enjoy the fact that your best friend has returned for another year, and he will be with you everyday until November. He doesn't want anything out of you but to come and spend a nice warm day in the park. This your recreation. If losing years have done anything for me it's that they help me realize that beyond being a Giants fan, I just plain love this game. Baseball is beautiful, and while the other sports have their exciting moments, NOTHING beats a good baseball game, if simply for the facts that a clock can't be run out, and a penalty or foul can't be committed to kill the other teams momentum. So remember to enjoy this season, and don't get stressed like I do. It's not healthy!

(The Realistic Giants fan appears every Monday and Friday. Please feel free to contact me at therealisticgiantsfan@yahoo.com)

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