For baseball fans, February and March are exciting months. After nearly 5 months since the last MLB game in October, the World Series, the MLB pre-season is beginning. Spring Training marks the date in which MLB teams begin working out on the field again, pitchers throwing bullpens, position players taking batting practice and ground balls, and eventually training games occur.
For some teams, this even can include working out with new players that the managerial staff signed during the offseason. When a player’s contract ends, the teams all get a chance to offer that player a new contract. Some of the big free agent signings this year were SP (Starting pitcher) David Price by the Red Sox, SP Zack Greinke by the Diamondbacks, SP Johnny Cueto by the Giants, OF (Outfielder) Jason Heyward by the Cubs, SS (Shortstop) Ian Desmond by the Rangers (Who they have said will play outfield), and the resigning (The player signed with the same team he had just been with) of OF Yoenis Cespedes by the Mets.
Now, back to the actual training aspect of it all. When Spring Training begins, players do not go directly to playing games against each other. First, they do some team practices to loosen up and work on getting back into the proper form. The first players to report back to the diamond are the pitchers and catchers. On February 18th, the first of the pitchers and catchers reported to their team’s respective training facilities. From February 18th to 22nd, the pitching and catching staffs from all 30 teams across the MLB reported to their team’s location to begin gearing up for the season. Shortly after the pitchers and catchers begin practicing, the full teams begin working out as well. February 22nd marked the first day this year where a full team practiced on the field, this team was the Miami Marlins. Teams continued to begin working on the field until the Minnesota Twins had their first full team practice of the year on February 27th.
After the squads have about a week of practicing under their belts, they can begin to play practice games against each other. MLB Spring Training games have a schedule much like the regular season games, however they do not count for anything during the regular season. A team can go undefeated in Spring Training, and it will not count for anything during the actual season. March 1st marked the first day of Spring Training games, and featured the Blue Jays, Braves, Indians, Orioles, Phillies, Pirates, Reds, and Tigers. The last teams to play their first Spring Training games of the year were the A's, Astros, Brewers, Cardinals, Cubs, Dodgers, Marlins, Mets, and White Sox. These teams all had their first games on March 3rd. The teams will continue to play games against each other and work on getting their skills as advanced for the season as they possibly can through April 3rd. Directly after Spring Training ends, the teams get to show off how hard they worked during the offseason and preseason with regular season games. And eventually, 162 games later, the teams that have worked the hardest throughout the entire year may get a chance to win it all in the World Series. Then the cycle repeats and the teams start all over.