Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Goin' to Houston...Say wha?

Okay, so we've had just about enough of Spring Training. That's it. We're done.

As such, last night we started to check the schedule to see when we can finally put a cap on the Fake Games and get things revved up for the real deal. Which is when we noticed the Jays playing a two game series at Minute Maid Park in Houston on Friday and Saturday, April 2nd and 3rd.

What the what?

For a half-second, we were trying to figure out if the league was pulling some weird "Kick Off The Season With Interleague Non-Rivalries" promotion. Which, if you think about it, wouldn't be the strangest thing that they've suggested this off-season.

What makes this two-game tune-up series in an actual big league park even stranger is that both games that weekend will get the full TV broadcast treatment from Sportsnet and TSN2. Like as if they matter somehow.

We do remember the Dodgers coming to SkyDome for a pre-season game at one point years ago, so this isn't beyond the realm, and we're told that this is actually a bit of a tradition in Houston, and that they're just fine with it. So that's that, we suppose.

But it make us wonder why, precisely, MLB is waiting until the Sunday night to kick things off for the season. Frankly, why can't they just get stuff started this coming Monday? Most teams have their rosters pretty much set, and Spring Training has already dragged itself downwards into such a state of tedium that the highlight of this week will end up being a couple of MLBAM beat reporters having a footrace.

(Having said that, we'd pay good money to see some of the portly old inked-stained wretches stumble and wheeze their way around a track.)

We suppose that some baseball is better than no baseball, so we're not sure what our complaint is. Aside from wanting to get things started and moving so that we get through 2010 as quickly as possible, and on to 2011 in short order.

Speaking of 2011...
Where the hell is that announcement of the Aldeinis Hechavarria signing?


Tony said...

Maybe it's part of a wider "let's have everyone play exhibitions in weird places" thing, because Seattle and Colorado are playing two games here (Albuquerque). It's especially odd since the Isotopes are a Dodgers farm club, so neither of those teams has ties here.

Tao of Stieb said...

It actually just struck me that the teams may have to vacate their minor league facilities in that week. So that might explain those weekend series.

I see that most of the games that weekend are being played in big league parks. This might be an opportunity for teams to open up and get a "dress rehearsal" in for the Opening Day crowds.

Jeff said...

Are you new to baseball? Many, many teams play a couple of games before the season in a place other than their spring training home. Dodgers and Angels, for example, usually play. Toronto has played in Atlanta on their way north and many other places. This is not new.

Gil Fisher said...

I was thinking Adeiny may be tied up in Gov't of Canada red tape regarding Immigration issues. I remember last year or the year before it took several weeks to get some minor leagues onto the continent.

Elton and Tim said...

"Don't wish it away, don't look at it like it's forever Between you and me I could honestly say
That things can only get better..."

And I guess that's why they call them the Blue Jays...

Tao of Stieb said...

Am I new to baseball? No.

Do I generally give a shit about what other teams do in the last weekend before the regular season? Not especially.

But up until this year, I defy you to tell me that more than a couple of teams would do this each year.

And there certainly hasn't been this many games in big league stadia before the Openers...Though I'm fully willing to admit that my memory might fail me on this.

(And by the way, what the fuck is up with the pointed comment about "Are you new to baseball?" What are you, a fucking asshole or something?)

Darren Priest said...

Don't sweat it Tao. That's just Ann Coulter's nom de blog comment. Don't let those silly barbs bother you. You're only feeding her what she craves.

Tao of Stieb said...

Actually, upon further review, I'm seeing a lot of this sort of thing in past years, although the Jays didn't do this last season. (They finished up in Jupiter versus the Marlins.)

They did play a game in Philly in 2008, which actually just jogged my memory. I totally remember that one.

I know that a big deal is usually made when teams play a warm up game at a new stadium, which would seem to be de rigeur at this point.

Anyways, my bigger point was that they might just as well get going with a March 31 start to the season rather than putting it off another full week.

Time's a-waisting.

Jeff said...

Sometimes tongue-in-cheek doesn't translate well on the Internet. Meant it as a friendly shot. However, this year alone, Chisox @ Turner Field, Det @ Miller Park, STL @ Target Field (MIN), Pit at The Bank (PHI), Mets @ The Trop, Cubs @ Chase Field (ARI), Oak @ ATT (SF) and KC @ Arlington. A few other clubs are at their AAA affiliates (as the Jays did more than once against Syracuse).

Last year, there were major league games at Philly, Atl, NYY, NYM, Hou, Tex, Oak, Ari, Las Vegas, Bal, LAA and LAD.

I can't find online schedules older than that, but it's been around a long time, a holdover from the old barnstorming days when teams used to play their way back north.

Jeff said...

I think they'd be better off starting spring training later, closer to March 1 and having games going about March 5. No one but rookie league guys play those first few anyways. Starting the season a week earlier only increases the chance of weather interruptions.

Tao of Stieb said...

I see...more of a noogie than a gut punch.

I guess I've been asleep at the switch for the past few years.

And now that I'm over all that, I'm kinda excited to see the Jays play Fat Elvis.

The Ack said...

"Are you new to baseball?"

"What are you, a fucking asshole or something?" probably my favorite baseball blog exchange in quite some time.

KP said...

I totally reached for Clayton Kershaw in my keeper league and I am dying to see him throw real pitches at real batters in real games. I want to drool on box scores until people start coming up to me and saying "Hey, what's the with wet box.... score?"

Ty said...

I remember 2-3 years ago, the Jays played some games against either the Phillies or Reds (one of those red-and-white clad NL teams) just before the season started. Aaron Hill hit a couple home runs as I recall.

I'm kind of conflicted because I can't be anything but excited to see some ball games on TV, yet there's just something bizarre about watching a couple of full-squad fake games two days before the actual season starts.

Team Scrappy (until I pick a better name) said...

You know, any excuse to run a picture like that, it's totally worth it.

Very few could pull off looking scary in those unis, but leave it to Nolan and JR.
I think they had "normal" looking ones by the time Mike Scott figured out what he was doing.

Tao of Stieb said...

Oh man, Mike Scott was fucking AWESOME. And yeah, he wore the crazy 70's rainbow uniforms.