In about 12 hours, the Yankees and Red Sox will square off for their first and only meeting of the Spring Training season. With Andy Pettitte making his first start since elbow problems prevented him from
getting even with the Rays throwing last week and Bartolo Colon hoping to win a spot on a team suddenly a bit short on starting pitchers, the game has plenty of drama for the two teams involved.
But as this is New York and Boston, it also has the added bonus of being a media circus. Reporters will descend on Tampa tomorrow afternoon and wax philosophical about this meeting as though it’s a harbinger of things to come this season. They’ll expound on the storied rivalry between the Yankees and the Red Sox, mentioning the Sox’s two World Series wins over the last four seasons as some sign of dominance in the rivalry. They’ll talk about this as though it’s the be-all and end-all of Spring Training games.
And you know what? I’m sick of it. Spring Training, as we’ve tried to point over the last few weeks, isn’t about winning or losing. It’s not about fine-tuned rivalries or spring stats. It’s about rediscovering baseball and tinkering with pitches. It’s about getting a feel for the strike zone and timing a swing on a fastball. It’s about learning new ways to get hitters out, and it’s about finding new ways to close that hole in a swing.
For four weeks, the baseball season can survive without the Yankees and the Red Sox squaring off, and for four weeks, these two teams can make their ways through Spring Training without the added bonus of an over-hyped game. Both teams would still sell out every single Spring Training game they play with or without facing off against each other.
Sure, I’ll enjoy the game tomorrow afternoon, and maybe I’m being a bit too sensitive. But when all is said and done, Spring Training doesn’t count, but everyone covering this circus sometimes thinks it does.