Two days from now I will be home with my children.
They are 9 and 7 years old, home on spring break.
I love them dearly, but I confess that I’m not home to spend time with them.
My wife of 14-plus years has the day off from work, so she’d already have that covered.
No, I’m home (of course) because it’s Opening Day – a day which, were I President, would be made a National Holiday.
For now, being the regular 9-to-5er that I am, it’ll suffice to just be the day that I always try and take off if at all possible.
It will be the first day that I will spend in 2018 watching a single minute of baseball this season.
How can somebody who is such a self-described baseball fanboy still not have watched baseball this year, you ask.
There has been spring training baseball games on TV for the last four or five weeks now, you say.
You’re wondering if I just haven’t had time to sit down and watch it.
Well, maybe not at home so much, no. Those kids keep me plenty busy.
Still, I am an MLB.tv subscriber and could easily have games on in the background while I’m plugging away at work.
But I don’t.
To me, it’s just nice knowing that there are baseball teams collected somewhere who are getting ready for the upcoming season.
But the games itself?
Imagine going to attend a concert.
The lights go down, a spotlight comes on the stage, the drummer and bassist lay down a groove, the guitarist comes in with their opening riffs, the singer comes out and utters the first few phrases of a well-known single of the band’s…
…and then somebody else comes on stage, takes their instruments and microphones away and for the next two hours you watch guitar techs and other stage crew members tuning instruments.
That is what a Spring Training game is for me – watching people who aren’t going to appear during the season play games that neither team is even trying to win.
It’s a cash-grab, luring dollars out of older people who have fled the colder climates of the Midwest and Northeast and are now living in retiree communities.
I have no interest in it.
No, March 29th will be extra special for baseball fans like myself who don’t think the game counts unless the result affects a team’s chances at making the postseason.
A pitcher in spring training is working on loosening his arm up for when games count. He’s not actually trying, unless he’s trying to make it as the 25th man on the roster and, honestly, if that’s what he’s out there for I’m probably not terribly interested in seeing how he does anyhow.
I make that note to illustrate another infuriating fact of Spring Training – the stats have no predictive power.
A 0.00 ERA in 9 Spring Training innings has as much bearing as a 17.53 ERA in 15 IP.
I can wait for the real stuff.