Spring Training is one of my favorite times of year (well, spring, but spring is synonymous with Spring Training, right?) because of all the promise and optimism it brings, but also because of the endless news buzzing it creates. After a long and quiet winter- if you’re a Giants fan, that is, because we’re rather sleepy in the winter like that- it’s endlessly lovely to hear real, concrete news.
I’m not talking about injury news, though, Dan Runzler, Tim Lincecum, Brian Wilson, Freddy Sanchez, Ryan Vogelsong et al., so don’t go getting any ideas. I would choose a rainy, snoozy news day over a They Are Falling Like Flies day any time.
What I am talking about? Playoff expansion, for one. Bud Selig has gotten down to work, following his extra (baseball) life which he was granted over the offseason, and the extra wild card deal was finalized today. I felt surprisingly ambiguous at the time of the announcement because, heck, it’s March 2nd and the Giants are playing their first Spring Training game tomorrow and the world is beautiful and the playoffs could not be farther from my mind, but as the day went on, my feelings changed.
Which, I am kind of guessing, was part of MLB’s plan. Ready for my conspiracy theory? Okay, here goes: MLB is doing this when everyone is out of their permanently touchy offseason modes and still basking in the glow of baseball being back, so as to soften possible backlash. And it seems to have worked, actually. Which, yes, could have to do with the fact that we were all expecting this by now or just that no one is genuinely outraged, but that is far of a less compelling thought. I vote for my conspiracy theory, anyone with me?
Anywho. The reason I’m not for those extra wild cards, I suppose, is both a pro and con of the whole thing. I think it makes it all even more a crap shoot, to use a Billy Beane-ism. People are saying it’s exciting because it makes the playoffs even more “everyone’s game”, which is true. And I see the appeal of that. I’m sure that extra wild card team will win the World Series from time to time and it will make for a fabulous story. But with the 162 game format, I’m more of the opinion that we should shy away from that whole crapshoot thing. Winning big in baseball is about perseverance and I like it that way. I think this just changes the game. For better or for worse? Who knows. Only time will tell. (Other half of me: Duh! For worse! But I’m trying to be all non-judgmental here, so just forget I said that.)
Onto lighter and brighter things, I am soamazinglystokedforthegametomorrow. I will probably be missing the majority of it due to more umpire training, but I will hopefully be catching- in a purely non-Buster-Posey-ish sense- the beginning. I’m not even sure what to say about that, except that I’m not even thinking about winning or losing or injuries just… baseball game. Baseball game. Say it aloud and grin to yourself. Do it.
(Try reminding me of that whole “not about winning or losing” thing in September. Actually, don’t. I can be snappish, on occasion. That sounds like an occasion.)