The Free Press, Mankato, MN

Sports

March 9, 2014

Thoma column: The many purposes of spring training

An amusing verbal scuffle broke out last week when the Boston Red Sox sent a contingent of minor leaguers across Florida for an exhibition game against the Miami Marlins.

The Marlins, who jacked up ticket prices for the game, beefed that the defending World Series champs had failed to field a lineup with at least four regulars, which is the official expectation.

Ben Cherington, the general manager of the Sox, apologized for the B-squad lineup, but he stopped short of saying it wouldn’t happen again. (Truth: It will happen again. The Sox aren’t going to bundle David Ortiz, Dustin Pedroia and A.J. Pierzynski onto a bus for a three-hour journey, no matter how much the opponent is charging fans.)

Then Boston owner John Henry — who once owned the Marlins before the Bud Selig-designed shuffle that ended up with Henry owning the Red Sox, Jeffrey Loria (owner of the Montreal Expos) the Marlins and the Expos as a dead team walking — tweeted that the Marlins should apologize for their regular season lineup.

Which ... yeah. The lineup the Bosox sent on Thursday had only two players with even one major-league at-bat, but it probably had more talent than the Marlins lineup. (The game itself ended in a scoreless tie, but the Sox outhit the Marlins 7-2.)

Underlying Henry’s barb: The Marlins are a poor champion of consumer rights. Loria’s operation is highly profitable, but that profit is based on ripping off the local taxpayers, conning the fan base and exploiting his fellow owners’ success via revenue sharing. The disdain around the game for Loria is manifest and growing.

But the Marlins’ gripe raises an intriguing issue: What is spring training’s purpose?

For the established players, it’s about preparing for the coming season.

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Sports

Outdoors

Latest auto racing news
Featured Ads
Live Moondogs coverage
Shane Frederick's Twitter updates
Chad Courrier's Sports Report
Latest NCAA basketball news
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
NDN Video
Oakland Raiders To Become San Antonio Raiders? - @TheBuzzeronFox Jack White throws first pitch for hometown Tigers LeSean McCoy explains how Chip Kelly has helped his productivity Chicago Cubs win longest game in team history Will Browns have enough without Gordon? Byron Scott: 'This is still a Lakers town' Anderson Silva To Return To UFC, Face Nick Diaz - @TheBuzzeronFox Bills Legend on Bon Jovi's Bid: "F-ck Bon Jovi" - @TheBuzzeronFOX Settlement sets new standards for NCAA Possible MLB trades before deadline 3 Questions with Gary Payton: Kevin Love, Andrew Wiggins and Derrick Rose Players Only: Marcus Mariota's Course Load at Oregon How We Almost Got Johnny Cowboy Donald Sterling Loses The Clippers For Good - @TheBuzzeronFox Franklin talks leaving Vandy Staten Island Man's Emotional Dunk Over NYPD Car - @TheBuzzeronFOX Michael Jordan OK With LeBron James Wearing No. 23? - @TheBuzzeronFox The Cornhuskers have gone...Loco? Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Byron Scott Reportedly New Head Coach Of Los Angeles Lakers - @TheBuzzeronFox