Spring will come early next year. Or at the very least Spring Training will and every baseball fan knows that the actual weather can go hang; spring starts when pitchers and catchers report. With the fixture list and reporting days having been released by the Kansas City Royals this week, we now know that spring will come on 11 February next year, one of he earliest ever dates in Kansas City.
The early start is to accommodate both a relatively early start to the season, though not very early with Opening Day being on 1 April, and an elongated list of exhibition games. The Kansas City Royals will play 36 Spring Training games next year and the first one will be as early as the 22nd of February. As usual, it will be against the Royals’ groundmates in Surprise, the Texas Rangers. Unusually though, in addition to the elongated fixture list, the Royals will also have three off days as opposed to the usual one.
I’m quite pleased with all this. Really I’m pleased with anything that makes the baseball season come sooner, but I also like the idea of longer formalized workouts ahead of the season. Really there is no reason not to take that extra week or so to make sure that everyone is in fine fettle for Opening Day. And it is interesting to note that the last time the Royals had this many games in Spring Training (and it has only happened once, in 2009) they started the year 18-11.
Of course they then collapsed spectacularly, especially after the All-Star break, and there were certainly other factors at play. But it was the bad start that doomed them in 2012 and if they can get past that this year it might be very good indeed.