There’s this sort of constitutional convention in the comments the last couple days, debating whether or not spring training matters. It is so tempting, so salivatory to use these games—look, a Vogelbomb!—as evidence that Everything Has Changed. Though research has been done for years—decades?—we are sure that this year is different and we Know Things. So the debate springs up again as we try to decide what we think; as Lin-Manuel wrote, “we won the war, what was it all for?” In this spirit of first principles, let me tell you what mattered most to me from this game, ranked from least to most important.
- Honestly anything the first basemen did at the plate didn’t matter at all. Mike Ford had a nice stretch/pick of a Gordon Beckham throw (yawn), but none of this “hitting” stuff matters for these guys—or at least, not to a degree we can know. We don’t know what the velocity was when Mike Ford hit a grounder down the opposite line for a double. We don’t know how good the pitches were that he fouled off before another double later. We don’t know and can’t know what the pitching was when Vogelbach hit into that double play or what he was trying to do, or any of that information when he’s had his like 18 extra base hits this spring. Mike Freeman leads MLB in average right now. Scooter Gennett once hit four home runs in a REAL game. ANYTHING IS POSSIBLE!
- Christian Bergman pitching. This happened, technically, but I just... whatever.
- Anything Ariel Miranda did. This kind of does matter, and kind of doesn’t, because he had the Most Ariel Miranda Outing. He walked some tightropes—Dee Gordon made a really nice running catch on a deep fly to right center—and he befuddled Devin Mesoraco on consecutive inside breaking balls. Unfortunately, he threw a third straight breaking ball to the same spot and Mesoraco timed it all the way into the left field berm area. Beguiling stuff, then a dinger: the Ariel Miranda story. Oh, also, he had 50 pitches with no outs in the third, but who cares.
- Mitch Haniger went 0-3 with 2 strikeouts. This does not matter because he was rusty. However, Mitch was back and healthy and this does matter.
- in the 6th inning, Dee Gordon stole second base without even caring. Here is how he made his break:
He made his break with his hands on his knees and a shortened lead and stole second without even a close play. It’s my new favorite Dee Gordon thing, and I have a lot of favorite Dee Gordon things. He’s fast, guys. He’s fast.
- Dee also made a really nice play on aforementioned Miranda deep drive, and later hosed Mason Williams at home plate with a textbook crow hop and fire to Tuffy Gosewisch. So far we’re at Fort Benning and they’re firing blanks, but he looks like he’s going to be just fine when the real bullets start flying (no, I’m not a Band of Brothers fan, why do you ask?)
- We got this beautiful moment when the Large Adult Sons had a reunion. Unfortunately, due to MLB’s “rules”, they had to do it on home plate, the mound, and second base. Behold:
- Lastly, Mike Marjama had an inside the park home run. Let me repeat: the Seattle Mariners backup catcher, who has 9 MLB PA, had a little league home run in a meaningless game that ultimately won the game for Seattle. TOUCH EM ALL, MICHAEL G.:
This has been a comprehensive summary of things that mattered in tonight’s game, from least matter-y to most. It is comprehensive and infallible. Thank you for your time. See you tomorrow when the Mariners play the Reds again for some reason at 1:10 PM, this time in the friendly confines of whatever they call the stadium in Peoria. I’m off to finish this wine.