March 08, 2007

Springs eternal

Blue Jays vs. Phillies, Clearwater, March 7, 2007.

Watching spring training baseball is always a great pleasure for a baseball fan. It gets the fan-juices going to see who’s coming up and how teams might look for the season ahead. Baseball teams come to Arizona and Florida with about 50 players vying for spots on the 25-man-roster that will “head north” with the big club. The rest will be assigned to the organization’s minor-league teams.

There are 25 spots on each team. Nine players are on the field at a time, and the manager of the club uses the other 16 players strategically during the game. It’s no different from football, basketball or hockey – or just about any organized competition. Even musical contests.

Except for pipe bands. Bands can be any size and any number of players can be on the field at any time. It is a completely unbalanced competition. I suppose that it’s exciting to some when a giant band enters the field. It’s exciting certainly for those who either play with the band or those who have some predilection towards the band. Everyone else is not excited at all. In fact, they probably resent it.

Pipe band contests are as close to sporting events as they are to musical shows. A compromise needs to be reached when it comes to numbers before another band bites the dust in this survival-of-the-fittest situation. The minor league system works and should be put to use by bands instead of wrapping all players up in a single group, young hopefuls wishing for an impossible spot with the big club. Hope springs eternal.




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