The Final Spring Game

It seemed as though the days dragged on this off-season and that baseball was dark forever. Every day I would look at the calendar and although it said that we were one day closer to Spring Training it felt as though we had taken a step backwards in time and that the rites of Spring would never come. Finally after all the wait; pitchers and catchers began arriving in Tucson for the eventual beginning of Spring Training. It was a glorious day on February 14 when players officially began to report. I am constantly reminded by my wife that it was also Valentine’s Day and that in the future I should probably remember the date. A few days after pitchers and catchers; the remaining players arrived at Tucson Electric Park and Spring Training officially opened.

The first Cactus League game was just 11 short days after the official reporting date for pitchers and catchers so fans didn’t have to wait long to begin seeing their favorite players in action. The Diamondbacks opened Spring Training like they will open the regular season against the Colorado Rockies. There is an old adage that says, “be careful what you wish for”. For months I had wished that Spring Training would arrive and when it finally did, it seemed to last forever. Due to the World Baseball Classic that would occur this year; Major League Baseball extended Spring Training to nearly six weeks of games. The Diamondbacks typically have 1 off day per spring but because of the extended period this year they had four off-days. Baseball fans especially diehard baseball fans are not equipped to deal with their favorite team having so much time off and I found myself going through withdrawals. Clearly the length of Spring Training had its toll on the players as well. By the end, they were all ready to be done with the exhibition season and have the games start to count. It was especially bad for the Diamondbacks as they dropped their last 7 games. Not exactly the kind of momentum you hoped the team would carry into the regular season. I keep telling myself that Spring Training numbers and statistics don’t matter but when your team is getting pummeled and your favorite players stats are abysmal it’s sometimes hard to remember that this doesn’t count.

So today was the final day of Spring Training. The Diamondbacks held their last exhibition game at Chase Field. Like the other games this week they looked flat and at times very over matched. As I walked out of the stadium after the game I was grateful to have survived the Spring Training Marathon of 2009 and for the next 32 hours I will be praying that the struggles I saw over the past 6 weeks will magically disappear and be replaced by a team that plans to contend for the National League Western Division title over 162 games. I wish the season started tomorrow for the Diamondbacks.

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