I took a road trip to Florida when I was in college. There is a very real reason why the call baseball in Florida the “grapefruit league.” Those things are everywhere in Florida. I subsisted exclusively on citrus that people had left near their mailboxes with a sign demoting their cost; free. Some time later I have come to stare longingly at Florida, enraptured by baseball and the fact that it can be played there when it is cold here. “Pitchers and catchers report today!” I shout to no one in particular, never noticing that my family could really care less. By the start of April, my feelings about baseball in Florida have shifted considerably. My once smitten gaze has transformed into active antagonism. I have had my fill of Hector Luna and his ilk and I really want the baseball games to count.
That being said, John Mayberry Jr. has one home run this spring. I keep telling myself that spring games do not count and that John fine baseball lineage will allow him to build on last season’s success. I have seem a ton of stuff tell me that if his stats were extrapolated over a full season he would have hit 1,000 home runs with 2,000 RBI. Alls I know is that has never been in the big leagues for a full season and that he apparently is into mermaids. Are last years numbers sustainable? Probably not, but the guy can play adequate to plus defense in the outfield and at first base and he is really tall. I wonder if he’d bring me some grapefruit?
Spring training is almost over. Ryan Howard and Chase Utley are still hurt, Domonic Brown is currently a member of the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs, Juan Pierre made the team and Antonio Bastardo can not throw as hard as he used to. There have been terrified yowls from the fan base, talk radio hosts and internet bloggers based on a spring filled with injuries and a sub .500 record (12-16 to be exact). Soon games will count, Utley and Howard will come back, Brown will get promoted, Bastardo will be okay based mostly on how much I like to say Bastardo and Juan Pierre…..well, Juan Pierre is on the team. Soon the fact that the Phillies still have the best pitching staff in the game will be made evident.
Goodbye spring. Hello baseball that counts.