We are agonizingly close to the start of baseball season. To help us get a little closer, read this whole article; it will make baseball season come even quicker. For every word you read, the seconds tick off the clock, and baseball is just that much closer.
However, we would be remiss if we didn’t enjoy some of the best moments from Spring “fake baseball” Training. We like to stress about the relevance of small sample sizes, exit velocities, and the meaninglessness of spring baseball. But, there are still plenty of great moments that make Spring Training worth watching. Here are some of them:
The Goose is Loose!
Reader, I’m going to be honest with you: if I were playing in center, and a goose was reasonably close to me, I’d probably play about 50 feet closer to home plate. It doesn’t matter if the ball was hit over my head or if it was hit in my general direction, I’m letting that thing go. Whoever hits the ball over my head would immediately get a free pass around the base paths. I wonder, if the ball was hit in the goose’s direction, would it get spooked and leave? Would the goose take it out on the ball and me in center field? Geese are not to be tested.
Rafael Ortega was a much better sport about it than I ever would be by continuing to play in center field during the at-bat. David Ross would have gotten an earful from me when I got back into the dugout.
Thankfully, the goose left a few minutes later. I still have no idea how the goose was allowed to stay, how the goose got in, and why the Diamondbacks and Cubs thought it was a good idea to keep playing while there was a terrifying goose in center field. If they stop the game for bees, they should stop the game for a goose.
The Old-Timers Game
The Seattle Mariners, looking to keep fans interested despite grim playoff prospects, invited a couple of franchise icons back to take some hacks. Ichiro took an at-bat against “Boring” Marco Gonzales and then stuck around to chat with some of the active players. How can you not love the classic adjustment of his jersey as he gets ready to bat? Ichiro looks like he could play nine innings and go 2-for-4 at a moment’s notice.
Unfortunately, the at-bat may not have gone as well as Ichiro might have hoped.
Ichiro watches a fastball from Marco Gonzales breeze by, turns to those watching and says, “Good eye” to an eruption of laughs.
Then he pops one sky high to left: “Sac fly maybe.” pic.twitter.com/mSha7IG889
— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) March 7, 2021
Sure, Ichiro. Sac Fly.
The other old-timer, Mike Cameron, took on Keynan Middleton in another at-bat. Much like the Mariners’ playoff hopes since 2001, he was wiped out quickly. “Major Key” blew some heat by the 48-year old and struck him out.
Mike Cameron strikes out against Keynan Middleton: pic.twitter.com/ThnoCWa4gS
— Daniel Kramer (@DKramer_) March 7, 2021
Even if Ichiro and Cameron couldn’t do any damage, it’s still fun to see some of the guys from the last Mariners playoff team back with the team. Now, if they could bring back Edgar Martínez and A-Rod and have an old-timer squad against Kelenic, Logan Gilbert, and the young guys… I’d pay good money to watch that.
The Angels…Walk it Off?
Not quite from the Cactus League, but still Spring Training!
An 8-inning game makes this a @Warrdyboy7 WALK OFF HOMERUN!!!💥#LAASpring I @Angels pic.twitter.com/UU5jTm11db
— FOX Sports West (@FoxSportsWest) March 29, 2021
Hey, no big deal, we’re all confused by the silly rules of Spring Training games. Sometimes, we forget that teams play eight innings. We just have to make sure that the broadcasters know when those games are, since Daron Sutton and Co. weren’t quite sure that Taylor Ward had just walked off on the Dodgers. Joe Maddon wanted to play some more, but I guess Dave Roberts wasn’t having any of it. The real loser here? Taylor Ward. The guy just hit a walk-off dinger and none of his teammates met him at the plate! Some teammates, man.
“I’m going to have to call you right back.”
TA is gonna have to call you back 😂 pic.twitter.com/PlELOjn18J
— Chicago White Sox (@whitesox) March 22, 2021
The “I’m Busy” prank is making its way around the MLB… but only at Camelback Ranch?
JT's busy right now. Can he call you back? pic.twitter.com/MYSzguzunl
— Los Angeles Dodgers (@Dodgers) March 25, 2021
P.S.: Dave Roberts and Cody Bellinger are out here living their best lives. I love it.
Cubs (or Former) Players and Great Mic’d Up Conversations, Name a Better Duo
It’s just Spring Training, Kyle. There’s no need to get so intense.
“WHAT ARE YOU LOOKING AT??”
Don’t tell Kyle Schwarber it’s just #SpringTraining. 😂@kschwarb12 // #NATITUDE pic.twitter.com/gdSKAO3snv
— Washington Nationals (@Nationals) March 29, 2021
Also, Anthony Rizzo calling Joc’s shot.
Anthony Rizzo knew that the fast ball was coming.
And after seeing this swing, it looks like Joc Pederson knew as well 💪
(via @MLB) pic.twitter.com/kzzgHlCTpq
— FOX Sports: MLB (@MLBONFOX) March 26, 2021
Mic’d up moments truly are the best moments. One of the things that I really enjoyed about 2020 was the microphones on the field that caught everything. It really added some color to the game and made me feel like I was right there on the field. I am really hoping that we get more mic’d up moments this season as the TV networks realize the fun and personality it adds to the game. I’d rather listen to interviews with Brett Phillips in center field than to hear the announcers repeat some stats.
Bonus Brett Phillips Content (from the Grapefruit League): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-AoRRBjVCVg
Bonus Nelson Cruz Content (also, the Twins have a bunch of Mic’d up moments on their YouTube channel): https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uDV5Tix1WI0
They almost had it! Almost! You gotta be quicker than that!
There’s nothing worse than letting the ball slip through your glove and losing a perfectly good home run ball. Maybe next time, they’ll try to use two hands when catching it, like the Little League coaches always said.
Thanks to the other fans for leaving their COVID squares to steal his ball, too. Then they really book it back to their square. Really cool, guys.
David Fletcher: Meditation Guru
When can’t you use more David Fletcher content?
Stress Relief Wednesdays are a thing, right? @d22fletcher | #LAASpring pic.twitter.com/lF765GvGlq
— Los Angeles Angels (@Angels) March 4, 2021
I can’t wait for more David Fletcher memes.
Photos by Nichole Granja/Unsplash, Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire | Adapted by Ethan Kaplan (@DJFreddie10 on Twitter)