Indice Comunicazioni dallo staff Comunicazioni dallo staff The Story of Spring Training"“In the spring

The Story of Spring Training"“In the spring

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training jungle , the line between predator and prey is thin and ever shifting.”Late last summer, my wife presented me with this book, for my birthday. It was recommended to her by a bookseller at one of the local bookshops. (Our neighborhood, thankfully, still has a few.) I thanked her profusely, noted the title, and set it on one of the great piles of unread books that haunt the house. I figured I’d pick it up come 2019 spring training time and enjoy a little history, a few anecdotes and fun stories, and it would get me in the mood for the looming baseball season. Clearly, I didn’t look too closely at the dust jacket or inner flaps. It put me in a mood, all right, but not the one I’d expected.Under the March Sun is, in fact, a history of spring training, but not the one I was expecting. There is a little baseball here, but more to the point, there is a lot of Baseball, Inc. here. What Charles Fountain has written here, and written very well, is a socio/political/economic history of spring training with baseball being simply the backdrop and a chief product. Spring training originated as a sort of short-term fat camp, where out-of-shape, out-of-season ballplayers could go work out and get themselves into playing shape ahead of the season. While Cap Anson and his White Stockings are generally credited with being the first manager and team to head south (Arkansas, at the time) to get in shape, in the mid-1880s, they weren’t. Spring training was actually first practiced by, of all people (and perhaps fittingly), William “Boss” Tweed, who sent the New York Mutuals (his team of amateurs) to New Orleans in 1869. The Cincinnati Reds, the first professional team, followed suit in 1870, as did the White Stockings, six years before Anson joined the organization. Other teams quickly joined the parade south. Remember, in those days virtually all professional teams played in the Northeast quarter of the U.S., and so to get a jump on summer, they headed down and away, though not all to Florida or Arizona (more on this state in a bit) Tyler Anderson Jersey , as today. In the first decades of the 20th Century, spring training might be found anywhere from the tropical climes of Champaign, Ill., to Havana, from Hot Springs (Ark.) to Marlin Springs (Texas), from Catalina Island (Calif.) to West Baden (Ind.). The point was to find somewhere warm, cheap, and vaguely remote to burn away offseason fat and get ready for the season. Fairly early on, a few teams realized that these southern and western states had fans that might be separated from a few dollars to see honest-to-goodness big leaguers play, and so they set up barnstorming tours at the tail end of spring training, playing and earning their way back home for the regular season. The idea was to recoup the losses incurred by taking the team out of town, sheltering, and feeding them for a few weeks. If you could mitigate your expenses, good. If you could break even, great. World War II, of course, disrupted a lot of the travel. But once the war ended, spring training continued, but brought along new considerations. A (pitifully) small handful of owners, among them Bill Veeck, began to question — and act against — the strictures of the segregated South, and turned their attention to Arizona. Arizona was a spring training outback at the time, but a place generally more welcoming to black ballplayers. Or, at least, less hostile toward them. The book spends a good deal of time examining the role played by black sportswriter and advocate Wendell Smith, who used his platform in a number of black-owned newspapers to illuminate the plight of black ballplayers in spring training and beyond. In general, though, most teams moved from place to place in the spring in order to minimize costs.Along the way a number of teams, most notably the Dodgers, recognized the advantages of having more than just a few temporary playing and practice fields and created what we would know recognize as spring training facilities. Dodgertown in Vero Beach, Fla., became the model for modern spring training: multiple fields, dormitories for both MLB and MiLB players, and a permanent stadium (though those were around in most spring training sites long before) all located closely together, with amenities like restaurants and golf courses nearby. And one of the benefits the Dodgers discovered was that such a setting and amenities encouraged visitors. And those visitors brought their wallets.And this is where the meat of the book really takes off. From here, Fountain (who teaches at Northeastern University’s School of Journalism) chronicles the rise of spring training-as-revenue-generator and what it’s meant for ballclubs , and more so what it’s done to the states of Florida and Arizona, their communities and citizens. I intend this as a book review, and not a book report, so I’m not going to go into great detail, but Fountain takes us down the rabbit hole of public funding, where communities have been made by enticing a team to come set up shop, then decimated by their leaving for greener pastures.Fountain spends a great deal of time chronicling the infighting in city councils, business groups, tourism boards, and citizens groups over whether to pursue a team — and if so, how far to pursue it. He looks at cities’ economic arguments for and against courting spring training baseball, how teams negotiate deals with starry-eyed communities, and how more pragmatic communities approach the pros and cons. As Fountain explores Spring Training, Inc., he examines a few teams and their spring communities in depth: the Dodgers, as above, and also their partnership with the Chicago White Sox at Camelback/Glendale (note: the book was published in 2009 and written before the deal and complex were officially completed); the Atlanta Braves, their relationships with both their Disney hosts, and the structure they’ve tried to build into their organization; and the Boston Red Sox’s love affair with Ft. Myers and how the Minnesota Twins have managed to cope with and rival it (to some degree). Fountain covers the almost-Oasis League (Las Vegas’ attempted foray into spring training), and the Houston Astros’ sad departure from St. Petersburg for a younger, hotter city. A little history, a few anecdotes and fun stories this is not.But what it is instead is far more interesting, and as we fall deeper and deeper into the reality of Baseball, Inc., especially around these parts here lately, it helps illuminate how the cogs turn and the sausage gets made. Under the March Sun doesn’t have any, “and then Yogi said to Lefty” stories, but it has a whole lot for the fan whose interest goes beyond how that new kid in AA ball looks against San Francisco’s split-squad. Couldn’t find a similar Sox image, but this is a nice one from TigerTown in Lakeland, FL. Gets the spirit and point across. BOSTON (AP) — Chris Sale remained winless and frustrated, but at least he saw a slight improvement. That was about the closest thing to good news for the Boston Red Sox on Tuesday.Sale struck out 10, but it wasn’t enough as Detroit beat Boston 7-4 to start the Tigers‘ first doubleheader sweep at Fenway Park since August 1965. Spencer Turnbull (1-2) pitched five shutout innings for his first major league win, leading the Tigers to a 4-2 victory in the nightcap that left the Red Sox at 9-15.“It’s a long day. Fortunately for us, we came out on top and healthy,” Detroit manager Ron Gardenhire said.The Red Sox, meanwhile , came out of it confused and wondering what it will take to turn around what has been a dismal month for the World Series champions.Brandon Dixon greeted Marcus Walden with a three-run double after the Tigers loaded the bases against Game Two starter Hector Velázquez (0-2), and the Red Sox were swept in a twin-bill for the first time since the Los Angeles Angels accomplished the feat on July 20, 2015.“Obviously, you don’t want to lose two,” manager Alex Cora said. “We had a lot of traffic out there and we just didn’t get the big hit.”About all Boston had to celebrate at the end of the day was Sale avoiding another loss (he didn’t figure in the decision) and the Bruins’ 5-1 win over Toronto in Game 7 of the opening round of the NHL playoffs.Sale gave up two runs, five hits and two walks, lowering his ERA from 8.50 to 7.43. The 30-year-old, who signed a $160 million, six-year contract late in spring training, had never gone his first five starts in a big league season without a victory.“A step in the right direction, but I’m still not satisfied,” said Sale, who managed not to take a loss for the first time this year.Sale clearly felt better than after an 8-0 loss last week at the New York Yankees, which he called “flat-out embarrassing.”Sale said his velocity continued to improve, but had some command issues again.“I need to clean some things up around the edges, but we’ll get there,” Sale said. “I can’t make them put the ball in play, but I can fill up the strike zone and throw strikes.”Sale, who won his first nine starts with the Chicago White Sox in 2016, left after 97 pitches with the score 2-2.“I felt that he was better than the last one as far as like command,” Boston manager Alex Cora said. “Give them credit for getting the pitch count up in five innings, then they did what they did with the bullpen.”Matthew Boyd (2-1) combined with three relievers on a five-hitter against Boston, starting a 10-game homestand after a three-game sweep at Tampa Bay. Josh Harrison hit a tiebreaking, two-run double in the eighth off Colten Brewer (0-2) and scored two pitches later on a single by Grayson Greiner.In the second game, Shane Greene struck out two in a one-hit ninth for his 11th save in as many tries. The opener was Detroit’s first win that Greene did not save.Boston stranded seven runners against Turnbull and 13 in all.Bogaerts blooped an RBI single in the seventh off Joe Jimenez and Mike Chavis cut the deficit to 3-2 in the eighth against Victor Alcántara with his first big league homer. John Hicks hit an RBI double in the ninth against Travis Lakins, who made his big league debut and allowed four hits in 2 2/3 innings.Detroit has won four of five and swept a doubleheader for the first time since Sept. 22, 2016, at Minnesota.MOVESBoston recalled Lakins from Pawtucket and LHP Darwinzon Hernandez from Double-A Portland ahead of the nightcap. Hernandez made his debut when he started the fifth inning Tuesday night. He was replaced with one out and two on in the seventh by Lakins, who struck out Jeimer Candelario and retired Nicholas Castellanos on a groundout. Hernandez allowed four hits, walked one and struck out four in 2 1/3 innings.TRAINER’S ROOMTigers: SS Jordy Mercer, placed on the 10-day IL last week with a right quadriceps strain, will continue his rehab at extended spring training in Lakeland, Florida. Gardenhire said Mercer could be back in four or five days. … Gardenhire dropped Harrison from leadoff to seventh in the batting order and hit Candelario first. Harrison had a pair of hits in the opener and two more in the nightcap to raise his average from .122 to .159.Red Sox: RHP Nathan Eovaldi had surgery Tuesday to remove a loose body in his right elbow and is expected to miss about six weeks. Eovaldi had similar surgery on March 30 last year while with Tampa Bay and made his season debut May 30. He also has had two Tommy John operations.UP NEXTDetroit RHP Tyson Ross (1-2, 3.38 ERA) takes on Boston LHP Eduardo Rodriguez (1-2, 7.20) on Wednesday night.

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