Readers' Blog: ANGST!

I don't really care about the outcomes of Spring Training games, and neither should you. The Cubs are an unsightly 1-4 early on in this fake season. They have collected more fielding errors than home runs. The Fail Whale started a dugout fight when he insulted Ramirez's cocks. (Read this, perverts.) It isn't fun to watch your team suck, but here are three reasons why none of this ultimately matters.

1) At this stage in Spring Training, most regulars only play about half the game and then shuffle off to the golf course. A lot of the shitty performances this Spring have come from players that won't make the 25 man roster. Take Thursday's game for instance. Cubs pitching hemorrhaged 8 runs on the day. Glance at the box score and you'll see that Z pitched 3 scoreless innings, while Marmol added a scoreless frame of his own. Those 8 runs were allowed by fringe pitchers, guys that range from "might not make the roster" to "definitely won't make the roster." Rafael Dolis gave up 4 runs while recording but a single out. Was anyone counting on him to be a contributor this season?

2) The regulars are using Spring Training to work on things before the season starts. There was a lot of snark tossed around after Matt Garza's inauspicious Cubs debut earlier this week. The fan's won't react well if Garza gives up a granny to the Pirates on opening weekend. Here's the thing: Garza didn't throw a single breaking ball on Sunday. He was working on locating the fastball and the changeup, so he didn't throw anything else. The point is, he'd have approached that inning very differently if the game were being played at Wrigley Field. The regulars just don't care about results right now.

3) The sample size is too small to draw definitive conclusions. Every club in baseball will have a stretch where it loses 4 of 5. Every club will have a stretch where they struggle with the fundamentals. Fifteen errors in five games is putrid, but the Cubs won't continue to fumble grounders at a rate of three errors per game. At most, the hitters have 15 plate appearances this Spring. Zambrano leads the staff with 5 whole innings pitched. There just isn't anything to learn from such small sample sizes.

Now the caveat. We can't totally ignore what happens in ST because it will impact the shape the roster takes. Silva the Hutt can get fucked for all I care, but he probably takes a spot in the rotation away from either Randy Wells or Andrew Cashner if he pitches well for the rest of March. Don't forget that Tyler Colvin only made the roster last season because he had a lights out Spring Training. Still, Cubs fans should take a collective deep breath. This isn't the regular season, and the team that takes the field in Chicago will be a different group in both makeup and in focus. Besides, if this season goes the way I expect it to, we'll have plenty of meaningful things to bitch about in July.

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