The thing about spring is the dreams that players are able to hold onto. Their entire lives they have been dreaming of playing big league ball. At least for now, they get to keep that dream alive as they go into competitive battle wearing the jersey of a major league team.
Take the unfortunately named outfielder in the Rangers farm system, Joe McCarthy. He’s 27. He was drafted in 2015 by Tampa Bay, a team that is pretty savvy about this sort of thing. In six minor league seasons, he has a pretty respectable OPS of .805. This spring, he is hitting .750, with a monster 1.833 OPS. He’s living the dream.
But chances are, it won’t be good enough. And that has to be crushing to a person’s soul. For most boys who grow up loving the game, even playing minor league ball would be a thrill. But it’s not the prize.
He went 3-for-3 with a double and four RBIs in his first spring game. Then 0-for-1 in his next game.
Chances are, he could go 20-for-20 and it wouldn’t be enough. Because minds are made up long before spring training even starts.
McCarthy has had his chances. Ten of them to be exact. He got ten at-bats in 2020 with the Giants. Went 0-for-10 with five strikeouts.
But spring is for the Joe McCarthys. For dreams. Or chances of dreams. For every twenty-five guys who make it on opening day, there are a couple hundred guys who don’t.
Spring gives them one more chance. That’s all you can ask for.