We all know how the Baltimore Orioles along with most teams do things in spring training. For the most part, starters stay behind for road games and only play in the teams’ home affairs. So the fact is that regardless of what I or anybody else writes, that’s going to be the case.
That’s why it’s almost challenging to have a truly bad record in spring training; because no matter how mad your starting team may be, they’re playing against scrubs in their home games. Major League rules dictate that teams have to bring and play at least three veterans on every road trip – just to ensure a semi-competitive game for paying fans. But we all know that rules like that are easily skirted. All it takes is a manager to say I don’t know who’s starting at that position and you can get by the rule.
But here’s a question: should the Orioles play their starters in more road games? First of you will see some of the starters making trips away from Ed Smith Stadium…towards the tail end of spring. But at the beginning don’t bet on it happening too often. But would it not benefit the O’s in some sense?
All of the Orioles’ division opponents play in the Florida Grapefruit League. So it would benefit hitters to play against teams and pitchers they’re going to see come Opening Day and beyond. Furthermore there’s another aspect to that which goes unnoticed: the field dimensions’. Many teams, including the Orioles, are now constructing their ballparks to be exact dimensional copies of their home parks. So…would the O’s not benefit from that?
If the starting players all go down to JetBlue Park in Fort Myers to play against the BoSox, that might help them to get used to the dimensions of the park again and thus be ready for Fenway. Obviously that goes both ways, as Ed Smith Stadium is a copy of Camden Yards’ field as I said above.
There are other reasons why players often stay back on road games. While you want your players to be in shape and ready for the season, you also don’t want them to injure themselves. The last thing anyone wants is someone getting hurt because he’s working too much or something along those lines. Plus it gives the younger players a shot at playing in a real big league game against big league talent.
There are different theories on all of this, but needless to say it’s a rare occasion when a veteran sees his name on the travel roster. And I don’t expect 2017 to be any exception.