The Baltimore Orioles need to seriously look at wins and losses during spring training.
To most teams, including the Baltimore Orioles, wins and losses aren’t of supreme importance during spring training. Most manager (including Buck Showalter) tend to focus more on fundamentals and how the games ebb and flow overall – more so than the final score. But I’m going to go out on a limb and say that perhaps that’s something that should change in 2016.
This is obviously not a scientific study, as I’m going on last year’s results. But the Orioles finished 12-19 in Florida Grapefruit League play in 2015. Toronto, on the other hand, finished 19-13. So…could one argue that both of those results were harbingers for the eventual culmination of the 2015 season?
Again, this isn’t scientific. However in a sport like baseball where it’s a daily grind for six months, unity and pulse is important. To further back that up, the NY Mets finished 19-12, and the LA Dodgers 16-11. In fairness, Boston’s spring training record last year was 17-12, which is far from indicative of how they finished the season. So again, this isn’t an exact science.
However look at what I said above; it’s a “daily grind.” The more guys get into a habbit of winning together in the spring, the easier it might well come once the season begins. Having said that, I also recognize that spring training is a bit different at times given the fact that wins and losses are often as much about who’s finishing the games, who’s on the travel roster, and/or who’s on the opponent’s travel roster as anything else. So it’s not always an easy sell to say win at all costs during spring games.
And quite frankly I’m not suggesting that the mantra should be to win at all costs. The last thing anyone wants to see is home plate collisions or incidents with guys throwing at one another during the spring. However one thing we hear from players a lot after games is I really felt good out there, or I feel like I need another week’s worth of games for my timing to totally be back. Rarely do we hear players say things such as I really thought we had a great chance to win today, or anything of the like.
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And that’s not to say that we should – totally. However I also recall last year that the O’s opened spring training against Toronto, who defeated the Birds in grandiose fashion. If you look back at the 2015 season, Toronto all but signaled on that day that they were after the Orioles. This isn’t to say that the Orioles didn’t understand that at the time, however they were too busy focusing on fundamentals. Toronto was focusing on winning.
Again folks, that has as much to do with the fact that it was Toronto’s starting lineup against the Orioles’ travel roster as anything else. But even in spring, you start to see attitudes forming that can often trickle into the regular season. In 2010 the Birds started the spring 1-5…they later began the regular season 2-16. Is there a correllation? Tough to say. But winning games can never hurt, Grapefruit League or otherwise.