Spring training is mostly nothing except when it is not. These games have the energy of the TV beer league’s softball competitions, complete with immeasurable players shooting shit in the excavation, guys convincing themselves that they can stretch every single one in a double, innings just stopping when they get boring, and games that ends in a draw because time runs out. It’s really wonderful and I hope nothing changes about it.
That said, teams like sailors often find themselves in the unfortunate position of having to take spring training seriously. While their opponent – the reigning NL Central champion Cubs ̵
Initially, Kyle Lewis put together the type of at-bat that showed his advanced approach. Lewis climbed out of a deep hole and worked a turn against Zach Davies by avoiding the temptation of his lollipop fastballs cutting and diving around the strike zone. The other leaders of the Mariners hype train did not have the same luck in their first record appearance. In the second half, Jarred Kelenic rolled over on a curve at first pitch for a harmless earth out. Cal Raleigh and Taylor Trammell also struggled with Davies’ offer at low speed. Raleigh struck out in his first trip to the plate, while Trammell showed similar aggression to Kelenic, while getting the same result.
On the defensive side, Newsome went hard out of a change to Joc Pederson, giving a young fan on the verge of their first souvenir this spring.
Later in the broadcast, the poor Ljay, he in a few words, was forced to not only speak into a camera for a national audience, but also revive the home run he allowed. Newsome gave some interesting insight into pitching, mentioning that he was trying to throw the change “strike to ball” and instead threw it … strike to more central strike. Other than that, Ljay said so much while also saying so little. We learned that his mother’s name is Linda. Bless him.
Things picked up after that, both in terms of the fun and gripping, eye-emoji-inducing game of spring training. First, look at Jake Fraley. To his credit, Fraley varied quite far to the left to get an athletic catch on a Rizzo line drive earlier in the game. He also showed a really strong throwing arm to approach Báez and try his hand at second base as an overzealous high schooler. Then he did this.
The competition for outfields on the opening day list is quite crowded. While Fraley still looks like the most likely left fielder on April 1, there is no doubt that Braden Bishop is a better defender and Jarred Kelenic is a better hitter. Do not believe me? Watch Jarred and his quadruple-ceps muscles this bullet through the wind and over the fence.
I will go on the record and say that Jarred Kelenic is good at baseball. He is almost certainly better than Jake Fraley and could at least light a spark for this list. Of course, that means he’s likely to start the season at Everett and work on his first base defense. As seafarers continue to hold this bizarre auction for playing time between older outfielders and minor leagues, Taylor Trammell raised his own card and entered the bid in a big way.
When the headlines left the game and made room for the Jordan Cowan, Eric Filia and Aaron Fletcher types, Spring Training really took hold. Mariner pitcher Vinny Nittoli – a 25th– 2014 general election, which was repurchased from Toronto – was unable to finish its inning before both teams decided to just fuhgettaboutit and move on.
If you’re wondering, yes he’s Italian. I could tell by the Vinny Nittoli part as well as the social media part that includes retweeting by DJ Pauly D. Nittoli showed some pretty good things, the problem is that it always ended up over the meaty part of the record. Here we see an example of this when Nittoli stared down at his colleague paisano Anthony Rizzo and allowed a blissful two-run tater (sorry, gnocchi). Like a mother used to do.
As the talent on the field became less and less big-league ready, ESPN tried to remind its viewers that MLB players were actually present or at least kind of. Jason Heyward was kind enough to do an interview from a golf cart where he hid from the scary idea that it could rain at some point in the future. I thought it went really well. No notes.
Jason Heyward makes sure ESPN never lives in game interview again by becoming the 10th player to curse live on the air pic.twitter.com/1OCKJggCnf
– Baseball does not exist (@baseballdoesnt) March 3, 2021
People were still hit by squares as the afternoon unfolded. Smaller league pitchers, though good at carrying hockey numbers, are really bad at throwing strikes. Dylan Moore, who himself has been hit in the head by a pitch, was briefly shaken during his interview when he saw teammate Sam Travis take one to the dome. After Travis somehow stayed on his feet all the time, shook it off and stayed in the game, ESPN was able to return to its regularly scheduled programming.
That was better.
Aside from a well-ironed Cal Raleigh double into the gap and Jack Reinheimer’s ninth inning explosion that tied things off, I couldn’t tell you much about what happened at the end of the game. I was mostly focused on a bag of pita chips and Bitchin ‘Sauce.
Bitchin ‘Sauce, if you are reading this, let me market your product in exchange for money. I think it is very good and I would do a good job.