For baseball fans, there’s no paradox like spring training, which is both the best and the worst simultaneously.
Spring training is the best, of course, because it marks the unofficial end of winter and brings baseball – gas-throwing, dinger-smashing, uniform-dirtying, holy-moly-we-get-this-every-day-until-November baseball – back into the lives of those who spent the previous weeks and months staring out the window at snow-covered streets. Spring training is the worst, of course, because watching grainy Twitter videos of grown men playing catch gets old after about 11 seconds, and that five-week stretch of utterly meaningless games feels interminable a couple innings into your favorite team’s Grapefruit League opener.
That said, there were some cool moments Saturday, with all 30 teams in action for the first time this spring. So, without further ado, let’s look at five great things that happened in today’s slate of already forgotten games.
Kershaw drinks Cabrera’s melkshake
Clayton Kershaw, who finished fifth in National League Cy Young voting in 2016 despite starting only 21 games, has been making hitters reconsider their life choices for years, and it was Melky Cabrera‘s turn Saturday at Camelback Ranch, where the six-time All-Star made him look silly on a 2-2 curveball in the first inning.
Bryce to see you!
If the first plate appearance of the spring is any indication – note: it isn’t – Bryce Harper will more closely resemble the 2015 version of himself this year after regressing significantly last season. He full-on ruined Sean Gilmartin‘s day with this monstrous solo shot.
Edwin shows off new uniform, same old swing
Edwin Encarnacion, looking all weird in his Cleveland Indians jersey, made a strong first impression at Goodyear Ballpark, stroking an RBI single in the first inning that brought a tear to the eyes of Toronto Blue Jays fans.
It’s not spring training unless we’re incessantly pontificating about Pablo Sandoval‘s weight/conditioning, so here we go: in his first official Grapefruit League at-bat, the newly svelte third baseman dropped down a bunt, of his own volition, and looked pretty darn good busting it down the line.
Phillies walk off the Yanks
The rebuild is over! Well, OK, maybe not, but the Philadelphia Phillies did manage the day’s most exciting victory, walking off the New York Yankees with Brock Stassi‘s single up the middle in the bottom of the ninth.
(Videos courtesy: MLB.com)