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Hooray, An Actual Box Score

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Brent Dlugach, Clete Thomas, Casper Wells / Getty ImagesAw, cool, guys! Spring training has officially begun for the Detroit Tigers, even if the opening game was just against a Division II college team. Nobody can truthfully read anything into a 13-1 victory against Florida Southern College — even exhibition leagues have their own exhibitions — but the point is that baseball is finally here. Now just insert a beautiful metaphor about snow melting and the crack of the bat and you've got every George Will column about baseball.

(Aside: something's not right with this two-game schedule for Florida Southern. Tuesday: Detroit Tigers. Wednesday: Findlay University.)

The box score itself is rather dismissive. The two fellas that hit homers for the Tigers were Ryan Strieby and Casper Wells, neither of which will likely make the Opening Day roster. Even though baseball games against other MLB teams begin Wednesday morning, what's the point for us, other than counting the days to April 5?

Pretending this was new information, exhibition games have no correlation on who wins the World Series. Here's how each championship team fared seven months prior in warmer climates:

2009: Yankees, 24-10 (1st Grapefruit League)
2008: Phillies, 12-18 (16th Grapefruit)
2007: Red Sox, 15-12 (6th Grapefruit)
2006: Cardinals, 15-14 (8th Grapefruit)
2005: White Sox, 14-18 (11th Cactus League)
2004: Red Sox, 17-11 (3rd Grapefruit)
2003: Marlins, 15-16 (13th Grapefruit)

Great. So-so. Bad. An aggregate .530 record, or 86 wins in a 162-game season.

Few games are televised, and it's all glorified practice played in a warm, inviting climate. Hell, sometimes the team plays against themselves.

Maybe here's the point: it's been nearly five months since that fateful 163rd game against the Twins. Curtis Granderson has been replaced by a younger, faster doppelgänger. Half the pitchers are new, and the other half have been injured since 1987. Also, there's Johnny Damon. I can't decipher any of this, nor will I until probably May.

Fans are dying to know the complexion of their Tigers. They say the Grapefruit League will help shed some light into this. Really? The Grapefruit League? That's citric bullshit. Regardless of wins, losses, and the  creature dwelling within Jeremy Bonderman's shoulder and devouring it from the inside, hope will not only spring eternal, but will also appear in a semi-sphere that, when poked with a special serrated spoon, will spray acidic optimism across the breakfast nook.

But I hear Carlos Guillen was swinging the bat well. So that was nice to see.

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  • Tony

    I think you took this from the wrong perspective. Can you learn anything from wins and losses in spring training? No.
    But you can get an idea about the makeup and philosophy of a team. You get a chance to see their approach at the plate (see the mets at their opposite field hitting fiasco from last season), the team’s depth (as many of the bench players see significant playing time), and the health of injured players (as you said with Bondo). Sure if Bonderman posts stellar spring stats it is no gaurentee he’ll pitch well in the season but it is at least encouraging. Same can be said for Sergio Mitre for New York. You like to see his velocity, location, and mechanics.

    Its nearly as big an axiom to NOT get excited over spring training as it is a cliche’ TO get excited over spring training. But I think you can learn a hell of a lot more from these spring baseball games than, say, preseason football.

  • Lynn Voedisch

    So how are those Cubbies doing? Huh?