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Should fans get excited about spring training?

The anticipation of spring training alas often outweighs the actual product.

MLB: Spring Training-New York Yankees Workouts Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

The start of spring training always gets me excited. I seem to revert to child-like form when I hear that pitchers and catchers are reporting. Typically, spring training gives me an instant jolt of nostalgia. Until I started writing about my fandom and the Yankees, I never seemed to take the time to explore why I felt certain emotions regarding my team or the sport in general. When I got that familiar feeling this week regarding spring training, I stopped and wrote down a few reasons why I get excited about this particular date on the sports calendar.

And then I wondered if I should even care about spring training at all. Take a deep dive with me into my indecisive brain.

Who doesn’t love good weather? Those of us in the colder winter climates are impatiently waiting for consistently warm weather, where we can return to more outdoor activities, including watching baseball. Spring training is like a glimpse into the future. We aren’t in spring or summer yet, but it’s getting closer, and baseball is one of the first indications that the weather will soon change for the better. I think I’ve talked enough about the weather, so it is probably time to move on. But lastly, who even named it “spring” training? I’m no groundhog but we still have four more weeks of winter.

Baseball is such a long season that you find yourself heavily invested in individual players, and the team as a whole. We watch these guys almost every day for seven months out of the year. You get to know these players throughout a full season, you ride the ups and downs as a fan, and then abruptly the season ends. I think what I’m trying to say is that it is fun to see your favorite player again, and to have the team back together, all under the backdrop of that gorgeous weather (I’m kidding about the weather this time, but can someone please get me a plane ticket to Tampa pronto).

Aaron Judge During 2023 Spring Training Photo by Thomas A. Ferrara/Newsday RM via Getty Images

There is also a seat at the spring training table for the baseball purist. The position battles are always intriguing, particularly this season when the Yankees are looking at youth — namely top prospects Oswald Peraza and Anthony Volpe — to potentially fill a premium position at shortstop. There will be a lot of talk about fundamentals, fielding drills, and that one player who takes a few reps at a different position, only to never play the position again in his life.

Maybe you like spring training because you enjoy an MLB writer taking an unsteady video with an iPhone, through a chain-link fence, 300 feet away from a pitcher fielding a ground ball. Welcome to spring training.

You can probably tell by the tone of this article that while I get excited for the start of spring training, and the ability to watch baseball again, it isn’t all that serious. Most of the headlines from spring training will fizzle away and be forgotten, Aaron Judge will not start the All-Star Game at first base, and regardless of how many grounders they take, that relief pitcher will certainly launch that fielded bunt into right field during some random game in August.

We can enjoy that we have some version of baseball back and also not get too wrapped up in all the jargon that comes with it. In the end, it’s glorified baseball practice.