No matter if a team is doing well or not in March, one can always ask, “Is Spring Training really that important?” In the Phillies particular case this pre-season, the question is, “Should we be concerned by their 9-13 record?” I always tend to think we should because of how it helped the 1993 team start the season and hold onto first place throughout the year. Certainly though a good Spring does not equate to a playoff season; here is how the Phillies have fared the past 5 years:
10-17 – 2003 – 86-76
10-21 – 2004 – 86-76
11-18 – 2005 – 88-74
19-11 – 2006 – 85-77
11-18 – 2007 – 89-73
9-13 – 2008 – ??-??
Only once in that period did the Phillies leave Florida with a winning record but that was the same year they had the least amount of wins in the regular season.
Based on the short trip we made to Clearwater earlier in the week, I would say the Phillies record does not accurately reflect their progress in Spring Training. Unlike last year, Ryan Howard was swinging the bat well and Chase and Jimmy were circling the bases constantly. Even Adam Eaton had a solid outing on Saturday against the Twins. They did lose six straight games and gave up a lot of runs two weeks ago, but the pitching staff seems to have settled down since then. So this year, I’m not as worried as I normally am. At this point, I’m just excited for the season to start.
Spring Training is important because it is fun. Check out our photos from the trip, including the St. Patrick’s Day win over the Indians. Also, below are a few videos of the sights we saw and people we met along the way (click “Browse Video List” to see the full set).