The Baltimore Orioles make their first and only visit to Steinbrenner Field in Tampa this afternoon to take on the NY Yankees at their spring facility. New York visited Sarasota on February 27th. That was their only visit to Ed Smith Stadium as well.
So…do these spring games against division foes mean just a little bit more? On one hand, I would say definitely not. Players around the league are still trying to get ready and to prepare for the season. So this isn’t the two teams playing in mid-season form. Throw in the fact that many Oriole regulars will stay back in Sarasota today, AND some players are still in the WBC; that takes some of the intensity away I suppose.
However on the flip side, it’s still a division foe. I also find it very interesting that the Birds are only playing New York twice this spring. It’s as if the tems scheduled a home-and-home, similar to as is done in college basketball. I have to believe that was done by design.
Ultimately players are there to play and compete between the lines. When the umpire yells play ball!, it’s game on. You’re hard pressed argue to someone that it’s only an exhibition game, and that it doesn’t count. Plus if you’re trying to make the team, it really does count – big time.
As I said the O’s will travel to Tampa to take on NY this afternoon. The Birds will throw Bundy, while New York will counter with Sabathia. Game time is set for just after 1 PM.