White Sox position players are not contractually required to be in Glendale until next week, and the pitchers aren't required to be in until Friday. And yet, at least a third of the players invited to camp were reported to have already arrived by Monday. Dan Hayes even reported that Adam Eaton and Jeff Samardzija were ahead of the game and live in Arizona and have been in and out of team facilities for the last few months. Actually living in that state; now that's true sacrifice, something that layabouts like Jose Abreu--showing up less than three weeks early--can only dream about.
Theoretically, everyone should show up early. What, are you just going to drive up to the facility the first day with all your stuff, then move in after? No, that's dumb. Are you going to move in the night before, and go to your job where you have to run around all day right after havinggone through moving; the worst human experience in life? No, you're going to give yourself time to move in and get settled, and since you're a professional athlete and needs to stay in shape, you're going to go to the gym. Are you going to get a 7-day trial pass at the local XSport Fitness, or are you going to go to the free state-of-the-art gym at your work with on-call personal trainers and coaches? Oh, the latter? Well, you just showed early for camp. Congratulations, you're working for free voluntarily and a disgrace to organized labor, but your first week of media should be a breeze.
As Hayes points out, there are a variety of potential benefits.
--Arizona is hot; better to learn that now than while yakking during conditioning drills while beat writers snap twitpics
--There are a lot of new players. What better way to make friends than an early outing to a chain restaurant and/or disco bowling?
--Maybe showing up early actually means the players are particularly invested this year
Yeah, the problem with that is...
Torii Hunter's arrival date at Spring Training is not even specifically identified here by the legendary LaVelle Neal. There is faint implication that his presence is eternal, forever waiting...
If you want a glimpse into the mania surrounding this whole affair, click-through to see the responses to Neal's tweet, glance at the frantic debate on what number of days hanging out one-on-one with Hunter will fix the hole in Hicks' swing. Then the subplot: Is Byron Buxton owning a home in Ft. Myers yet another marker of his inherent superiority?
I couldn't immediately find any Tigers beat writers crowing about early arrivals because they're reporting updates on Victor Martinez's knee, or Miguel Cabrera's CT scan, Joel Hanrahan's arm soreness, or even Rajai Davis' groin. This is the grizzly alternative to pondering if athletes galavanting around as they please has positive implications. Maybe the Sox don't gain anything from having Samardzija and Eaton take Abreu to go see 50 Shades of Grey or whatever, but they're not working from behind, which is the only thing we'll be comfortable saying for sure all Spring.
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