First Pitch: Spring Training Randomness

The 2020 MLB schedule was announced last night. While we heard that the Pittsburgh Pirates were opening up in St Louis, we now have the official word that the season will begin in 17 days, with an 8:15 PM contest. The next day the Pirates will be on MLB Network for an afternoon game.

The schedule had some quirks, including this amazing stat from Joe Block that I wish I thought of first, which was possible since we already had a rough outline of the schedule when we were told weeks ago that teams would only play in their division and opposing league divisions (NL Central vs AL Central, West vs West, East vs East).

The Reds, Cubs and Cardinals all date back to the 19th century as well, so at least those streaks stay intact.

I’ve heard some people make a big deal about the schedule being tough with 60 games in 66 days. The Pirates played 60 games from July 24 to September 27 last year, the same exact time-frame for this year’s schedule. I think the teams will be okay, especially with expanded rosters early on.

I’m still waiting for the Pirates to post something interesting to share here. For some ridiculous reason yesterday, they thought cutting videos to put ten swings into an 11 second clip was a good thing. We’re sitting here dying to get baseball content and they condense something interesting into seven seconds of action for no good reason.

That video is better than this one talking about Nick Burdi bringing heat. Why is this in slow motion and why does it stop? Who thinks there is a call for this stuff?

This hype video is a little better…actually a lot better than the previous two, but this shouldn’t be the best video they post from the day. They were obviously filming a lot.

Fangraphs had an article about potential breakout players in 2020. While it’s going to be hard to break out in a 60-game schedule, it’s still possible to put up some big numbers by avoiding a long cold streak after a strong start. Anyway, Mitch Keller was one of their choices and they give good reasons why it could happen.

I do realize a lot of people are calling the randomness going on now “summer camp”, but I’m not using that for a different version of Spring Training just because it’s happening in summer. To me, “Spring Training” is a general term for practicing baseball to get ready for the real thing, so it works any time of the year. The fact that Spring Training starts in winter every year and even runs longer in winter than it does in spring never seemed to bother anyone before, so that’s proof enough that it works now.

**We will have at least four articles today, including the one you’re currently reading. If any news comes up, we will have more. The other scheduled articles for today are as follows:

This Date in Pittsburgh Pirates History – Six birthdays, including Hall of Famer Billy Herman. Also a transaction of note.

Game Rewind – An exhibition game from 1933 had a very interesting ending for the man being honored that day

1979 Season Recap – Tough game against the Cincinnati Reds with Don Robinson on the mound.

Happy Tuesday to everyone!




John started working at Pirates Prospects in 2009, but his connection to the Pittsburgh Pirates started exactly 100 years earlier when Dots Miller debuted for the 1909 World Series champions. John was born in Kearny, NJ, two blocks from the house where Dots Miller grew up. From that hometown hero connection came a love of Pirates history, as well as the sport of baseball.

When he didn't make it as a lefty pitcher with an 80+ MPH fastball and a slider that needed work, John turned to covering the game, eventually focusing in on the prospects side, where his interest was pushed by the big league team being below .500 for so long. John has covered the minors in some form since the 2002 season, and leads the draft and international coverage on Pirates Prospects. He writes daily on Pittsburgh Baseball History, when he's not covering the entire system daily throughout the entire year on Pirates Prospects.

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