Spring Training Games under way
03-08-2015 / By:
Things change dramatically now that games have started for all teams in Florida and Arizona. Players are now trying to accomplish various things- hit the ground running and make an impression on coaches and front office personnel, win a job on the opening day roster, put themselves on the radar as a possible call up after the season starts, make the team as a non-roster invitee and just get in playing shape. Veterans dislike the length of Spring Training and everyone else hopes it's long enough to get enough innings to plead their case.
Every team has a large number of players in camp- usually 60+. The active roster is 25 when the season starts. The 60 players is typically the 30 players vieing for spots on the opening day roster, extra catchers from the minor leagues to catch all the bullpens, free agent veterans who sig minor league deals hoping for a big league spring training invite and young prospects getting exposed to their future. Lots of agendas and usually a few surprises coming out of camp- but not too many.
Talking with the equipment managers about which guys are going to get bats made is very enlightening. Most know who is going to make the team and who is not. Of course, these men are typically have been with the organizations longer than everyone- including many owners. The Giants long time dean of equipment managers, Miguel "Mike" Murphy has been taking care of Giants since the glory days or Mays, McCovey and Bonds (that's Bobby Bonds, Barry's father!). Some long tenured equipment managers like Brian Prilaman of the Padres and Steve Vucinich of the A's have been in place since the 60's! They have seen it all and while unsung, are some of the most interesting and unsung men in sports.
Few people can fathom a job that starts at 5:00am every morning and frequently ends past midnight- 7 DAYS A WEEK and on 24 hour call. It's amazing how they do it with a relatively small staff. More on these gentlemen later.
For now, the buzz has started and the games are underway. Interest level among die hard fans is high. It's one of the most exciting times of the season.