There is something so unique and vintage about Spring Training. For roughly six weeks every February/March, Lakeland turns into Detroit South. It is the one time of the year where every baseball fan believes that this is a year like 1935, ’45, ’68 or ’84. If anything though, this year is much closer to 2006 – a year that featured the Inaugural World Baseball Classic.
The World Baseball Classic is definitely a great idea with awful timing. Following the success of the United States’ dramatic victory in Sydney in 2000, this event has everything from national pride to high drama. The biggest issue to the success of this event happens to be its location right in the middle of MLB Spring Training.
It’s this same timing which can benefit those players on the edge vying for spots in the final 25. The Tigers, for example, will be without all three starting outfielders for the next few weeks. Players like Brent Clevlen, Clete Thomas, Casper Wells, Ryan Raburn and Wilkin Ramirez will now get more than the every now-and-then at-bat to impress Leyland and his staff. With a bullpen completely up-for-grabs, players like Rudy Darrow or Casey Fien are hoping that those extra innings may add up to a trip to SE Michigan in April. While this year’s WBC may crown a new global champ, this year’s spring training may crown an ‘Old English D’ on some new faces.