With Blue Jays spring training just around the corner, we take a moment to look at what the coming weeks mean from the perspective of a newer baseball fan
For those of you who have never been to a spring training game, it is an amazing experience. Watching baseball in warmer weather while seeing top prospects play alongside today’s best, all in a small town stadium. Whether you are watching from the comfort of your own home, or actually at the park itself, these games are fun to watch. Even though the fan experience is wonderful, there is a reason they take this detour.
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The Blue Jays will soon make the trek south to Dunedin, Florida. This is where they will spend the next 5-6 weeks (depending on position) getting up to the level we see them at here in Toronto. Many players will be trying to get back into the groove through game situations after a long off-season of training in the cages and weight rooms. For some, this is the only chance they will get to prove they belong on a 25 man roster. This also happens to be one of the most hopeful times in baseball, as it marks the beginning of a new season, where every team is still in the running for a playoff spot.
Pitchers and catchers will report first, as they need the most time to get warm. You can expect this to happen February 21st this year. It is not uncommon to see other position players report at this time as well, as many have already been in the area for weeks or more, but it is not typically required.
February 25th is the day that position players have to report. Although there will be stories written and player interviewed, unfortunately, you will have to wait until March 4th for an actual game.
Spring training games are played a little bit differently than during the season. Although winning is great, it is not the only goal. Here are some general notes about the games, for those of you who are newer to following this portion of the Blue Jays calendar:
Split Squad –
On March 9th you will see two games played at the same time by the Blue Jays. Not to worry, this is not a mistake! These games are known as “split squad” games. These spring training innings and at-bats are so valuable to teams that the league decided they will give them some games where they can split up their roster and get 18 innings instead of nine.
Overall, these games may not have any real importance in terms of standings. But they are extremely important to showcase players for the 25 man roster, and to get players back into their 2015 form.