Remarkably Relaxing

When approached with the proper attitude, Spring Training exhibition games are amazingly relaxing. The games don’t matter*, so it’s easy to disengage from the score. Nobody cares who wins the Cactus or Grapefruit League titles, not even those teams’ fans. There’s no advantage carried into the regular season.

* Ignore anyone who tries to tell you that the regular season games don’t matter either. Obviously a heathen.

You can take the games as they come. Pitcher can’t find the strike zone? No matter. Last year’s Gold Glove shortstop bobbles three ground balls in one inning? ‘Sokay. Pricey new slugger can’t lay off the fastball a foot over his head? Eh, he’ll figure it out.

I’ve almost reached the point where I can watch the Yankees win a game and not swear. (Not that I’ve had much opportunity to practice that particular skill this year. As I write this Tuesday afternoon, the Yanks are 1-2 and are losing to the Blue Jays.)

Team stats don’t matter. If they did, I’d be calling our World Series teams now. (Red Sox versus Brewers–both currently have a +21 run differential. I don’t know about you, but I’d rate the probability of that happening as “very low”. For what it’s worth, BetMGM agrees: their picks are the Dodgers and White Sox.)

Neither, for that matter, do individual stats. Does anybody think Jose Rojas is going to keep his 2.278 OPS into the regular season? No? There are eight pitchers who have yet to let anyone on base. They’re not going to do that for long in the regular season–and at the other extreme, I’d put long odds against Caleb Smith continuing to give up three and two-thirds walks and hits per inning.

What isn’t relaxing is trying to actually watch or listen to the games. MLB’s app has always been notoriously bad in the preseason, but this year they’ve outdone themselves. Reports of audio streams cutting out every few minutes are rampant, and many are reporting video problems as well. In my case, it’s been even worse: I couldn’t even start the audio streams because the buttons weren’t tappable (or rather, nothing happened when they were tapped). Any attempt to start a video stream gave a generic “something went wrong” error*.

* I seem to have fixed the non-responsive buttons and the video errors by deleting all the app’s data and setting it up again from scratch. So now I just have to deal with the audio stream cutting out every couple of minutes–not good when trying to listen to a game in the car.

And, of course, MLB’s response is to tell anyone who complains to read their troubleshooting webpage, which offers such helpful suggestions as “MLB Audio does not broadcast pre-game or post-game shows , and may not broadcast during rain delays or commercials.” That’s great, but it’s no help at all for the playback not starting.

That said, radios and TVs still work. We can get our baseball fixes via local broadcasts. History suggests MLB will have stomped on most of the app bugs by the time the season starts–or at least by the end of June, just in time for the update they’ll be issuing for the All Star Game to break everything again.

2 thoughts on “Remarkably Relaxing

  1. While it’s certainly true that all regular season games “matter”, I find that I’m much more relaxed about losses, standings, errors, etc in April then I am in, say, June. One of the funnest things in baseball is watching a pitcher find his stuff two months in, or watching a team haul itself out of the cellar with a hot streak in July (can they maintain their momentum? Probably not). I just can’t get upset about poor performance until high summer- after which it does matter, a lot.
    And there’s another thing: it takes me at least a month to learn the names of this year’s players, especially when the team is rebuilding- AND, for the first couple of months, it’s hardly worth learning their names, because many of them will be going back to the minors.
    All of which is to say, I’m a much more relaxed listener for the first month or two, maybe even until the All Star break- and then things get serious.
    Play Ball!

    Like

    • In short, it’s like any (well-written) dramatic work: the tension and excitement build through the first few acts. By the middle of the show/book/etc., you’re committed; no turning back.

      Makes sense.

      Like

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