Posted by Reese Kaplan at 8:00 AM
No one will ever forget the Yoenis Cespedes car show that started last spring when seemingly each day he would arrive via a new ride, be it automotive, motorcycle-based or on horseback. It provided a moment of spectacle to what can otherwise be a lackluster series of exercises and preparatory work for the upcoming season. He’s continued it this year although at a somewhat more subdued level (thus far).
What about the not-too-distant past when Spring Training was thought to be the end of the Ike Davis vs. Lucas Duda debate at 1st base? After all, they couldn’t possibly go into the season with two left handed slugging first baseman and no clear starter, right? Wrong.
How about the team in 1987 not having brought back World Series MVP Ray Knight after pulling out the miracle of Game 6 and the clincher in Game 7?
What about the winter after the 2013 season in which Sandy Alderson quipped, “What outfield?” in response to the previous season’s collection of Lucas Duda, Kirk Nieuwenhuis, Collin Cowgill, Mike Baxter and Andrew Brown? How do you think the collective outfielders in 2014 felt that Spring?
What about the devastation of losing beloved manager Gil Hodges less than 2 weeks before Opening Day in 1972?
Of course, the most famous Spring Training memory is the “arrival” of pitching savant and yogi, Sidd Finch via the pen of George Plimpton in this famous 1985 Sports Illustrated article.
Then there were the celebrity appearances like Jerry Seinfeld and Kevin James.
One less savory memory was the infamous pizza parlor parking lot incident of former platoon outfield partners Karim Garcia and Shane Spencer who shall we say watered the lawn without permission?
Then, of course, there's the rash of injuries that take place that alter a team's plans for the future. It was during Spring Training 2015 when Josh Edgin said he felt a twinge -- season over.
What is your number one memory of Spring Training?