The Meaning of Spring Training

I will be honest, I put way too much stock in spring training. Joel Zumaya has a bad outing as he works on a new pitch – I have a bad day. Miguel Cabrera goes 0-4 against the NY Mets split squad – I wonder if something’s wrong. Max Scherzer has back-to-back bad starts – I question whether the trade was worth it. Spring training is what it is, a number of weeks where players see some game situations as they get ready for the 162-plus game run through the regular season. For players like Minnesota’s Joe Nathan, spring training means much more.

Wednesday’s game against the Yankees was part of the healing process for Tigers fans still mourning the loss of Curtis Granderson to New York. Granderson now wears pinstripes, or whatever ugly uniforms teams decide to wear during this time of the year, and we as fans need to recognize that sports are a business and the Tigers are one mere company within the larger conglomerate. Granderson the ballplayer was more of an asset to these owners than Granderson the citizen, and the result is a deal that will hopefully make both teams better in the long run.

Much like Granderson in a Yankees uniform, seeing Johnny Damon or Jose Valverde wearing a Tigers uniform has been quite an alarming site. We have watched these players from a distance for a number of years now, and to see them in the Old English D has been something rather unusual. The pressure that these newcomers have to perform at a higher level during this time of the year must be incredible. For the Tigers to be successful, these players (and the other 23 on the squad) will have to sustain their high level of performance for an entire schedule.