Monday, March 10, 2014

Only a game during spring training

The best and worst part of spring training is the games don't count.
So if you're looking to stoke your competitive juices and root, root, root for the home team, save your money and wait until April.
The home team - or the away team - doesn't care much about winning, which is why guys with numbers like 89 and names you'll never hear again routinely make their way into a March boxscore.
The pro in all this is you don't need to be glued to your seat for three hours. Spring training is less about the game and more about the experience and the intimacy that you don't get anywhere else.
That's why the $10 million renovation to McKechnie Field was such a necessity. While plenty of hubbub has been made about the boardwalk's tiki bar - rightfully so, because it's awesome out there - the expanded fan plaza located along the first-base side of the ballpark may have been the biggest masterstroke.
It's like a carnival out there. On a beautiful spring day like this, you'll find couples playing corn hole as they sip on beverages from the Yuengling bar or people lazying around on one of those green or white lounge chairs.
(I tried one out today before the gates opened and nearly fell asleep. They're good stuff.)
Or kids can see how hard they throw with the speed pitch.
It's your money and your time, and no one can tell you how to spend either. But if you come to a spring training game, be it any spring training game, whether you're in the midst of Florida's swaying palm trees or Arizona's expansive deserts, you shouldn't spend the entire day in your seat.
That's for when the games count.
This is spring training, an experience that stretches far beyond the diamond.

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