Stipulate: spring training is way too long.
I used to wonder why they didn't just televise everything in spring training. Instead of just hearing people talk about it, why not also show it, including practice. When the talking heads are on the MLB Network, why not show players working out?
Now there are multiple games on the MLB Network every day, pushing aside the talking head shows. We hear what sounds like regular season announcers doing the games as if they were real. In fact everything seems real. There must be official scorers, because a pitch that gets past a catcher and advances a runner gets scored a past ball or wild pitch. Who the heck cares?
We hear and see stats, including the awarding of a win or loss to pitchers. Are the rules the same? How many innings must a starter go? I have no idea. I'd like it to remain a mystery.
My mid March the players appear to be ready to play the regular season games that are still at least two more weeks away. I wonder if the presence of TV cameras inspires some players to perform at a regular season level. We expect minor league players to play that way in order to win a spot on the big league roster but are players who are assured of that also diving in the field and otherwise putting themselves at unnecessary risk? The quality of play looks very real already even with fewer and fewer minor league players participating.
My view is that there should be no exhibition games. If you're keeping score, then the game should count. Or to use a more eloquent phrase that I associate with 1960 Cy Young winner Vern Law: If you're not playing to win, then don't keep score.
There's no reason that the regular season could not start in warm weather locations for teams from cold locations. Spring training ball parks have major league dimensions, so there's no reason that the games should not count. It's all a matter of adjusting perspective.
Start the regular season at the spring training sites. Saturday, March 14, 2015
March Madness: spring training games! Start the damn regular season already! Monday, March 16, 2015