Thursday, April 05, 2007

The long wait for opening day might be too short

What amazes The Dugout about opening day in the minor leagues is how much shorter most of the young guys are in spring training compared to their big league brethren.

Most of the players who take the field today arrived at camp weeks after their major leaguers, yet the season starts just four days later. Mind you, most of the pitchers have been in camp the full time, which is the group of players who really need the time to shake off the winter. And most of the position players think the spring lasts too long, anyway. After about a week, those guys are ready to hit.

Still, you'd figure major league organizations would have a vested interest in making sure all of their players have sufficient time to prepare for the season, especially considering many of these guys who basked in the Arizona and Florida sunshine are now in less than ideal baseball conditions. It would seem to be a question of protecting one’s investment.

That being said, no one is happier than The Dugout that the season is underway.

Less bang for the buck: Not all opening days go as planned. The dry conditions in South Florida caused the Fort Myers Miracle to cancel their opening night postgame fireworks show. If the drought continues, look for more Florida State League teams to have to move their fireworks nights.

More weather woes: A cold front moving through the northeast is supposed to bring snow to upstate New York and New England, which could make for a very unpleasant opening night for fans of International League teams.

Up in the sky: The Florida State League’s Lakeland team has changed its nickname from the Tigers to the Flying Tigers to honor the World War II flying group. The name works, in part, because the Lakeland complex was built on an old military base. Some of the old buildings are still in use. The Dugout likes the way Lakeland managed to add some local history to its name without losing the connection to their major league affiliation with Detroit.

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