What is Spring Training all about? Well, I mean, it’s about getting ready for the upcoming season, but that’s for the players. What’s it about for us as fans? It’s about getting a fix. It’s about taking small sample sizes and twisting them in order to view things how we’d like to. Down on Gordo? You point to his first spring game and that all too familiar swing and miss strategy. Hopeful? Look at Gordon’s second game, point to that, say, “seeee? He’s coming around!” As a whole the Sox started out looking every bit the sad sack of a team that we had nightmares about this winter. Sure not everybody looked terrible, but we didn’t win games (continually remind yourself these games don’t matter) and the players we are counting on to turn things around and make contributions weren’t looking encouraging.
Then came Thursday. After Thursday I can look at the few days preceding and chalk it all up to small sample size. Crumple it up, toss it to the side and embrace this new, shinier, even smaller sample size as my current reality. Why would I be so quick to chuck logic for blind optimism? Adam Dunn hits! Not a dribbler that made it through but a real honest to goodness long ball. A double too! Who is this masked man? This lean mean swing and make contact machine? Things finally came together on both sides of the ball for Robin’s crew as they presented the skipper with his first managerial (it doesn’t count, you know) win. Dunn launched a double and HR off of Neftali Feliz, adding extra comfort in the fact that Feliz is not a candidate to be out of a job once the season starts. No feasting on AA meat for Dunn. Gordon Beckham got in on the party with a bomb of his own. Viciedo and Fukudome also opted to join in the XBH fun with a double each. All in all an encouraging day at the plate. On the other side of the ball Hector Santiago threw a couple of scoreless innings giving up only 2 hits while striking out 3. Contributions from Gregory Infante, Jhan Marinez (half of our haul for saying bye-bye to Ozzie), Deunte Heath, Pedro Hernandez and Anthony Carter resulted in only 3 runs, allowed one at a time. Kids getting the job done and former deadbeats getting the job done, even just a little bit is enough to have me feeling good again. So let’s continue moving forward with our selectively small sample size theater and see if we can’t build something out of it.