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How This Spring Training Differs from Others

By Derek McAdam

Spring Training is in full swing with Opening Day less than four weeks away. Some players are just trying to get loose for the long season while some are doing their best to possibly make the Yankees’ big league roster.

The coaches are analyzing players closely for any mistakes that they may need to fix before April 1. After all, it will be here before we know it.

However, 2021’s Spring Training will always differ from others in several ways.

First, fans are in a limited capacity. George M. Steinbrenner Field has allowed just over 2,600 fans at their games, right at 25% capacity, according to Bryan Hoch of MLB Network. The Yankees’ Spring Training facility is used to having heavy crowds at nearly every game. After all, there is not a bad seat in the house to watch some of the best players in the game.

Luckily fans can attend these games, but there are no player interactions like in the past. There are no autographs or fist bumps or anything of those sorts. A wave is possibly the best interaction a fan can get with a player at this point.

Second, this is the one Spring Training to not take the statistics too seriously. Many minor leaguers use Spring Training as an opportunity to showcase their skills to the major league manager.

The one problem is that these minor league pitchers have not pitched in actual games since 2019. It’s almost as if everyone that did not play in the major leagues last season is doing a rehab stint.

Some of these players are going to be rusty from playing in actual games, so Spring Training is their big warm-up. After a few appearances, they may or may not come around. But the first couple appearances should not worry fans.

This does not just apply to minor leaguers, but also the major league players. Gerrit Cole did not have a magnificent start on Monday, but it was his first game in four months. If Cole is still struggling in late March, that is another story. As for now, there is nothing to worry about.

The same concept also applies to players who might have a fantastic Spring Training. There is a big jump from facing mostly minor league pitchers to always facing the best of the best at the highest level. Some guys are infamous for having great springs, but not-so-good major league numbers. After all, some guys might just get off to faster starts than others.

Lastly, the constant worry of a COVID-19 outbreak is possibly on many fans’ minds. As we have seen in the past, all it takes is one positive test and the entire team could be in jeopardy.

The great news is that COVID-19 has been well-contained so far through the first week of games. At this point, taking it day-by-day and week-by-week is the exact mindset. After all, that is what it will take to get through this pandemic.

Those are the three main points of this Spring Training that differ from others. If there are others, leave a comment down below!

Photo credit: J. Conrad Williams Jr/Newsday RM via Getty Images


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