When should spring training matter?

Four games into the season, and the inevitable speculation has begun. Melky Carbrera has been putting up great numbers, Jeremy Affeldt got lit up against a guy who will be riding a bus all summer. So, time to celebrate? Time to panic? Time to yawn and check for what else is on TV?

Obviously you’d rather see guys do well than struggle, even if the games don’t count, but I’m not one for putting much stock in Cactus League numbers. Especially when it’s a team such as the Giants that has 20 or 21 of the roster spots already decided. Guys aren’t trying to win. Hell, they aren’t even trying to put up great results, they’re just trying to make sure their pitches are breaking and hoping they don’t catch a bad hop in the junk.

Kids, on the other hand, have something to prove. The guy with a number up in the 80s knows that he has to open eyes if he wants to be on the radar for a September call-up. That’s the guy that’s going to try and go the extra mile by breaking out the strikeout pitch or pushing for the extra base.

One trend that has been noted is that the teams that finish atop the spring training standings tend to do poorly in the regular season. The idea is that with less talent and more farmhands on the roster, you have a whole lineup going all-out and fighting for wins.

To that end, it’s nice to see the roster guys produce, but I’d much rather see them focused on getting healthy and letting the kids try to win games later in the day. If the hitters are seeing the ball and the pitchers are hitting their spots come April, who really gives a damn about their spring winning percentage?

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54 Responses to When should spring training matter?

  1. xoot says:

    ST numbers are the last straw for players on the edge. Otherwise, it’s all about prep. When I have the chance to focus on ST at all, I try to look at it game by game, and even then I discount the later innings of most games. Today, Zito looked ok (the gun was messed up; don’t worry about that), which is extravagantly more than I expected. Is the guy a viable 5? Maybe. Meanwhile, Melky looked great, from both sides of the plate, which is unalloyed good news. But it’s early news.

    So far Lincecum and Cain both appear to be on track. More good news. Affeldt and Romo haven’t done anything significant yet, yea or nay, imo, no matter what the numbers say. Pablo has been quick in the field (a good sign), but that’s only one facet of his game. So we’ll see a bit more from all of them. Vogelsong and Wilson need to walk out to the ST mound and look healthy, and I think they both will. Only Buster and Freddy pose serious questions, and you know the numbers that count for them won’t show up on BBRef — how quick to 1B after hitting a grounder, how sharp the throw to 1B on a DP, etc.

    So ST is important, but making sense of it is different every year.

    • JDR says:

      I think spring training is the one time when you go by the “eyeball test.” If Timmy is just trying to be sure his pitches are moving and locating the way he’d like, it doesn’t much matter if he’s putting it over the plate. Vogelsong is the only one that sounds like he might not be ready for the season, and if he gets back on the mound in the next week or so, he should be caught up by mid-april. If they juggle the rotation with him and Zito they might even be able to skip his first start if need be.

  2. JDR says:

    I just wanted to note- according to the blog dashboard, the fourth most popular search term for finding this site is “Drew Brees facial shit stain.”

    I’m not sure if I should be proud of that or not…

  3. mailorderwife says:

    It is TImmy day! I want to listen to it, but I also want to listen to Yu Darvish’s debut. I am a huge Darvish fan.

  4. unca_chuck says:

    Spring training matter when it’s over.

    And hopefully no one got hurt . . .

  5. Chico says:

    Timmy didn’t do so well today. Oh well, I’m not going to let it ruin my birthday.

  6. shaman138 says:

    Happy birthday, Chico!

  7. shaman138 says:

    For anyone who hasn’t checked this out already and need some comedy tonight, check out some of the stupid comments these guys posted today. I can’t stop laughing….these poor suckers are pretty delusional.

    http://blog.sfgate.com/athletics/2012/03/07/as-statement-on-territorial-rights/?gta=commentform#commentform

    • xoot says:

      Notice that VK is right in the middle of the ignorant discussion, offering dim guesses about what it all means. The Dumbeat was at it’s best today. Mosshead’s lecture on constitutiional law was funny. But the guys who lost their tempers — they were very entertaining.

      • shaman138 says:

        Of course it also means no deleted comments in spite of the outlandish attacks and insults…if the Splash had a thread like that where Giants fans were slinging that kind of mud against the A’s comments would be removed left and right…..

        • Chico says:

          Xoot, to add to what you said, the TOP featured comment that was up all day yesterday on the front page was an anti-Giants comment. A lot of people love baseball, but seriously? Of all the things wrong with the world right now, and all of the news stories from yesterday, a cherry-picked, pro A’s comment on the front page? Uh huh.

    • JDR says:

      People seem to be under the delusion that Haas charitably gave the Giants rights to San Jose out of the goodness of his heart. He did it in large part to keep them from looking at sites on his side of the bridge. By giving them the rights to SJ he knew there would be no chance they’d look at locations in the East Bay or Sacramento areas which were growing at the time.

    • mailorderwife says:

      I just don’t understand why A’s fans are not looking at the owner as the culprit of all their ills. Oakland did not turn rotten overnight and is still a nice place to put a stadium.

  8. xoot says:

    Cain looked good last time out. He’ll pitch to Buster now. Great signs. Lincecum is pissed at himself, but he’s enough of a vet now to stick to the training plan. He’ll be fine. Bum looked so good today Bruce Jenkins posted a marriage proposal to him. Now where the hell is Vogelsong? Wilson? Well, even there, we’ve got time. Good ST so far, for the staff.

    Melky is the big offensive bump. Is that what we have to look forward to? Ok with me.

    • JDR says:

      Henry tweeted Timmy’s spring ERA numbers a few days ago, I think they average out at around 4.50 or so. After two Cy Youngs and a World Series run I’m not going to lose any sleep over his Cactus League numbers.

  9. unca_chuck says:

    As far as stadiums go, and since the 49ers appear to have their deal finally figured out, my idea is still valid.

    The A’s should build a floating stadium that you can dock in different areas of the bay. Float it up to Benicia, down to Hayward, dangle it off Treasure Island, Alameda, the possibilities are endless.

    • Chico says:

      That’s fucking funny. Mossback can be the skipper and Slats can serve drinks in a skirt.

      Happy Friday everyone.

    • xoot says:

      Chuck floated that idea on the splash a few years ago, and it landed on the front page of sfgate for a few hours. A true golden oldie. I guess he has the right to his pride.

      • Chico says:

        Seriously? Hilarious! Surprised VK even allowed that to happen.

        • sandy32koufax says:

          Screw vk…he’s overtly biased against anyone not in love with his opinions or the A’s.

          Not the right guy for the job of admin in any way…

        • xoot says:

          Well, actually Chuck floated the idea of a floating football stadium, and that got first page treatment. So VK’s bias didn’t come into play.

          Last spring, when the Bonds trial was ongoing, I made it to the front page for a few hours with a post about how the nasty edge of Gwen Knapp’s tweets from the trial had to reflect her frustration at being stuck there, instead of covering start of the baseball season. I get the impression that VK hates Knapp (she’s a Harvard alum, I think, as well as an asshole). VK really loves Slusser, however (a fellow Snodfart alum).

          I had an interesting exchange with VK on Margot Magowan’s blog. After I pressed him for an explanation, he explained that she gets front page treatment all the time because her blog gets the most hits of any “City Bright.” I called that the “dunk-tank measure of popularity,” but let it go. He’s a nasty little martinet.

          What the hell? Cal’s comeback to within one point? Go Bears!

          • Chico says:

            Doesn’t look like its going to happen. Fuck! I’ll be a Cal fan forever but we are used to disappointment on a regular basis.

            I remember your comments about Gwenn, good shit xoot.

            As for your exchange re: Margot McGowan, read this link.

            http://zennie62blog.com/2011/12/17/sfgate-com-traffic-down-11-percent-after-zennie62-departure-48129/

            Sure enough, they put out shit just for page clicks, per the horses’ mouth.

            I always wondered why they would keep bringing up Sarah Palin, she’s an idiot, but boy would it sure bring out the teabaggers and the far lefties.

            Its no longer about news, as much as it is about generating an argument from people that love red meat, (I’ll take a rib-eye medium), but seriously, I’m really thinking about abandoning that place for good. If (when) my account gets zapped, I’m done there.

            • sandy32koufax says:

              X-man, no matter how one slices it, vk is not an unbiased admin. I called him out on his “Cubans are lazy” allusion a week or so back and never heard shit from the fuck. I have paternal blood from Cuba, albeit Spanish…

              Damn Chico, you’re a serious bloodhound on the net! Agree on the click count thing, but then, we’ve known that was the deal for some time now, yes?

              IDK who ‘HumanCentipede’ is but he had my response to his shitty Brian Stow remark @12:37 on “Busterpalooza” deleted…if vk were an impartial admin, that post would not have been deleted, rather the human worm’s would have been…

              • Chico says:

                Probably the same dude as The Yeti, Something the frog (don’t recall), the same troll who always trolls up a Brian Stow thread. Whenever someone dies, ‘never heard of him’, even if it was Evlis fucking Presley.

                You and I had a lot of friends that used to blog there, most of them are gone because of the censorship. They better get a new contract with another company as soon as the contract is up, or they’ll see their readership and comments slowly wither away.

            • xoot says:

              Zennie! I didn’t even notice that he vanished.
              Fun game to listen to today. These Giants are loose. The young guys are playing all out, to make an impression, to get better. The starters are getting healthy. They may start the season at full strength, with a deep minor league bench ready to fill in as necessary.

            • mailorderwife says:

              I am now convinced that Magowan’s blog is only read by men. I

  10. unca_chuck says:

    Christ, how do you get kicked out of the Mexican league? Did Canseco come to bat with a needle sticking out of his ass?

  11. snarkk says:

    ST matters so far for Brandon Crawford. 5 for 12, 5 RBIs. If he can continue to build confidence at the plate, anything he hits in the season over .220 would be gold…

    • sandy32koufax says:

      My boss brought up ”The Mendoza Line” in reference to underperforming personnel at a meeting last week…I had to laugh…he didn’t seem to appreciate it though

  12. Chico says:

    In case you didn’t know, Soph is BFE, who is WBB.

    I have been keeping track of their posts, and they show up at the same time. Case solved.

    • shaman138 says:

      Among other aliases he goes by….I’ve known that Soph and WBBastard were the same weird asshole for awhile now. In fact, I truly believe there’s no more than two or three trolls who just use a bunch of different accounts. That’s why Kenny/Yogi et. al. loves to come after us with accusations of multiple accounts. Losers.

    • mailorderwife says:

      Well, we all knew Soph was not a real woman. If you’ve ever done an MMORPG and have run into these uber uber girls who exist to scam money and weapons from players, that would be Soph personified, with her electric long brown hair and delusions of SF high society.

      Otherwise, there are too many acronyms and I am becoming confused. Is WBB = BarryForever? And does Mollie belong to this bunch? He once friended me long ago when I made a comment, and then removed me after I made fun of him.

      • Chico says:

        evincampbell, giantsrock, gnatsrock, pollywoodgnat, soph, ninergal, sabeansdwarfs, WBB, BFE (aka barryforever) — are all the travel writer.

        I’m still working on mollie, but I do know he’s mlbsf1 (sharks avatar), could also be changebama, the right wing troll, but the jury is still out on that. I got really good at this years ago when everyone started creating different accounts because these fucking pussies couldn’t stand in their own 2 shoes on a web site.

        • mailorderwife says:

          I used to work for this entertainment marketing company that had the most trafficked site on the old AOL. We had people from the industry and fans post on our boards, and I eventually had to hire a staff to deal with the troll traffic. Because there were famous people using our boards, I had to be very careful to watch for trolls, stalkers and posters who lived to violate some defamation law. The only people I ever banned were the ones who impersonated celebrity relatives, and those requests usually came from an agent or PR firm.

          With that in mind, fuck VK. His job is to chase away people that have no business being banned or deleted. He has no idea how to do his job and should be forced to learn his craft by dealing with soap opera forums. At least sports fans have some grounding in reality.

          VK is dealing with people who want to banter and chat. If he knew his job, he’d have booted off the obvious trolls/account abusers and let the good natured or borderline insults fly, if only with a tiny warning.

        • xoot says:

          I’m not so sure that WBB, the guide book author who, according to his own blog, is presently in Patagonia, is soph/nineral. WBB makes things personal, no matter what avatar he’s using; soph doesn’t, and never has. (Chico, I’ll send you a quick email explaining what I mean.)

          WBB, in some ways, is the strangest. Yogi and Kenny are troubled, and probably borderline functional in the real world. WBB should have better things to do with his life.

          Slats/mac, in my view . . . . well, no need to expand.

          Nice game today, huh? Buster’s slated for four innings behind the plate tomorrow. Vogelsong’s getting ready to start a game. The Giants just may pull this together to start the season at absolute full strength.

        • xoot says:

          Chico, further to my email — I just heard on the news that a 60 year old guy died at The Hook today. I probably met the guy there in 68. wtf. Helluva right.

          • Chico says:

            Just got your E-mail, holy shit! I still its a possibility that they are the same person, I think he uses the ninergal account to set people up for deleted posts. They usually post around the same time and a random user named wakeupeverybodt is always warning against replying to his comments, as ‘he will have your comment deleted’. . . You’ve been around that blog longer than I have xoot, maybe you’re right but one thing is for sure, Soph isn’t acting alone. I’m interested to see how Soph responds tomorrow since I called him out on it. What a whacky place SFGate is.

            So confusing.

          • Chico says:

            PP! That’s too bad. Some of the best surfers I have ever met came out of ‘the Cruz’. . Rest in peace. I’ll have to Google what happened. The surf is rough right now, storm coming in from the North. Be safe out there.

  13. mailorderwife says:

    On another note, Randy Moss?

    • Chico says:

      I still don’t know what to think of that. If he can still play, why not but I’m sure Harbaugh will have him on a short leash if he starts popping off.

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