On April 2, 1982, during an exhibition contest at Jack Murphy Stadium against the San Diego Padres, Oakland manager Billy Martin ordered pitcher Steve McCatty to go to home plate with a 15-inch toy bat. The move was a protest of the rule preventing the use of the designated hitter in National League ballparks. Umpire Jim Quick refused to let McCatty use the bat, however, so McCatty instead took three called strikes while holding a real bat.
In a spring exhibition game on March 23, 1934, Babe Didrikson pitched the first inning for the St. Louis Cardinals. The female track and field Olympian gave up three runs against the Red Sox in Bradenton, Florida.
This is pretty much a postseason atmosphere, and we’re getting it right in the middle of Spring Training. It’s a great team over there, and it almost makes me kind of want to go play in winter ball a little bit and see how rowdy these fans get. It looks really fun, and I was glad to be a part of it.
~Trea Turner, on the experience of playing in the World Baseball Classic
This haiku was first published in Full Count: The Book of Mets Poetry. One of the fun things about haiku is that a writer can cram a lot of imagery into three very short lines, and this piece does just that.
Sun shines on diamond, two birds on a citrus limb ball meets bat, a crack!
On the first day of spring training, March 1, 1954, Ted Williams broke his collarbone running after a line drive. Williams would be out for six weeks, and in April he wrote an article with Joe Reichler of the Saturday Evening Post saying that he intended to retire at the end of the season. Williams instead returned to the Red Sox lineup on May 7th, and during the 1954 season he hit .345 with 386 at bats in 117 games.
MLB posted a graphic on their social media recently listing game times for Opening Day, which serves as a lovely reminder that pitchers and catchers report in about two weeks, and we are less than two months away from baseball’s official return.