Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-US PRESSWIRE

The Benefits of Spring Training for Fans

By Olivia Witherite (@oliviawitherite)

On Saturday, I had the chance to go to a baseball game at the college I attend. The Liberty Flames were leading 13-0 in the first inning. But that wasn’t what made my day. What made my day was simply sitting outside in the cool air hearing balls pop into mitts and echo off bats. Saturday made me realize one thing – I am beyond ready for baseball.

Today, the Orioles faced off in their first, non-intrasquad Spring Training game. During this time, Orioles fans will get to see a variety of players from their favorites to their possible future hope step to the plate or climb the mound.

This day is the first in 2012 in which scores “count.” There will be a winner. There will be a loser. Spring Training statistics will start. But in reality, it doesn’t mean much.

Take for instance Milwaukee Brewers second baseman Rickie Weeks. In Spring Training 2011, he soared, hitting .442 in 19 games. During the regular season, he hit .269.

In March, athletes are still working on their timing, their grip and their stance. Yes, Spring Training can be a good indication of what is to come. Yes, it serves its purpose to help get athletes get ready for the regular season.

But for fans, it shouldn’t matter who wins, loses, hits a home run or knocks in the most RBIs. What should matter is that the pop of the ball and crack of the bat are back. Baseball is here, and even if it is “just Spring Training,” it’s the best players in the world showing off their talents under the warm Florida or Arizona sun.

And I, for one, can’t wait to see what’s in store this March.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles Olivia Witherite Orioles Rickie Weeks Spring Training Witherite

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