When I’m not watching baseball, I’m a big fan of pop culture. One of my favorite TV shows is Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In the season six special musical episode, “Once More With Feeling”, Buffy is lamenting that her life isn’t right since her friends brought her back from the dead. She sings:
Every single night the same arrangement,
I go out and fight the fight.
Still I always feel the strangest estrangement,
Nothing here is real, nothing here is right.
I’ve been making shows of trading blows,
just hoping no one knows
That I’ve been going through the motions,
walking through the part.
Nothing seems to penetrate my heart…
After watching the Phillies today, I got the distinct feeling that they too, are “going through the motions, walking through the part” and “nothing seems to penetrate my heart”, well their hearts.
I realize that spring training games don’t count, there’s no value as far as where they will end the season. At this point, they just want to be done and head back to Philly and play for real. Where does that leave us fans? We work hard to be able to go on vacation, catch a little sun and a game. It really bothers me that we, the fans who pay our money so that they can play a game for a living, sometimes end up leaving the park that they are “going through the motions, walking through the part.”
I also leave some of the blame with the front office. They have given us a team of veterans, all but 3 of them over 30. It’s hard for guys who’ve been in the league for years to get revved up for spring training, but what about the young guns who would give their left arm to play just one game in the bigs?
I offer Freddy Galvis, the one rookie who gets to start. He plays with fire, even though it’s spring training. He comes to play, EVERY day. He has heart and while he knows that the odds are that when Chase Utley is healthy he’ll have to head to Lehigh Valley, he still gives 100% every day.
I get that with the way the front office is building the team, they are building it for NOW, they want to win this year…but what about next year? The year after that? You would think, that at least in spring training, they would try out a few young guys to give them experience, to see how they react and prepare them should one of the “old guns” get hurt. Face it, when you are over 36, 40 and 41 like Posednik, Contreras and Thome, odds are that you will get hurt. I don’t want them to and Lord knows I’d be happy as a clam if they were able to make it through unscathed, but the odds are against it. So why not let the young guys try so that if the need arises that they are ready?
Granted there’s a learning curve, but would you rather they work through the curve in spring training when the games don’t matter or when the season is on the line?
Let’s look at today. Well let’s don’t. You know what a fan I am, but this was probably the first MLB game I’ve ever gone to where I really couldn’t get engaged at all. Not just when they were down 2-0 to the Red Sox, but the whole way through. I don’t know if I could tell you one single play, other than the bunt that Victorino blew and the only reason I remember that was because I read about it on Twitter.
We started the game standing in the shade near the Tiki Pavillion and just casually looked over the fence to the Carpenter Complex to see how the minor league games were shaping up. After the 3rd inning we were so bored with the “big game” we walked around for a while, drank lemonade and chatted with friends. By the 5th inning we were standing by the scoreboard looking through the fence at the AA game.
Tyson Gilles was putting on a show. He was flying from one side of center to the other. He was hitting and running well. I got more entertainment by watching the AA team than I did watching the team I actually paid to see.
Now we have tickets for tomorrow’s game against the Pirates. Will I go? Of course I will, I still love them, but some days, it’s easier than others. May be tomorrow will be a better day? Other wise I might be the one, going through the motions…
Either way, it sure as heck beats sitting in an office all day.