What does a cactus have in common with a grapefruit? If you’re a baseball fan, a lot. MLB has released a new spring training logo to help with its marketing efforts, and featured prominently are a cactus and a grapefruit. They’re a nod to the Cactus and Grapefruit Leagues, but also, according to MLB, a nod to travel.
Anne Occi, the VP of Design Services for the league, explains, “Our Spring Training logos this year are representative of travel around the U.S., and more particularly, road trips.” It isn’t exactly clear why the map couldn’t have been extended a little to the north in order to not seem like MLB was giving Toronto the cold shoulder.
Fresh Start for the Red Sox
The league gets a fresh logo, and the Boston Red Sox are hoping they get a fresh start. Ron Roenicke is now the interim manager after Alex Cora was shown the door for his involvement in the Houston Astros sign-stealing scandal, and the team expects a lot of great things out of Roenicke. No pressure there, no will there be any pressure as the league starts to investigate the team for possibly following the example set by the Astros. Many of the team players have come out to assert that there weren’t any shenanigans, and that the Red Sox have nothing to fear from an investigation.
The Atlanta Braves are starting to warm up and figure out who might be a suitable replacement for Josh Donaldson. The third baseman is now wearing a Minnesota Twins uniform, and the Braves are going to miss his 37 home runs and 94 runs. They’re also going to miss pitcher Julio Tehran, who is now on the west coast with the LA Angels. The team’s first appearance of the regular season is on February 22 against the Baltimore Orioles, so the lineup will be in better focus with that game.
More From Spring Training
Zack Greinke doesn’t think spring training applies to him. The Astros pitcher isn’t on hand for the team’s preseason exercises and drills, preferring to take a more “leisurely pace.” He has previously said that spring trainings are “too boring,” and didn’t show up with his fellow teammates at the start of spring training when he was with the Arizona Diamondbacks last year. This is his first time around with the Astros after being traded to the team last July, and the upper office apparently doesn’t mind that he straggles in a little late. He’ll show up, though, just not until February 22.
Scott Kingery of the Philadelphia Phillies is taking to the field with a little ocular improvement. He had missed a few games last year because of some then-unidentified problem with his vision, but doctors determined that it was simply a case of age. His right eye apparently needed a little boost and, while he wasn’t given a Lee Majors bionic eye, he was fitted with a contact lens that reportedly does a good job. Kingery will most likely be starting at third this season, and he’s giving his new eye a field test with spring training. “I’ll experiment with it this spring and see how it feels,” he explains.
The Cincinnati Reds are hoping their $21-million, three-year contract with Japanese player Shogo Akiyama was worth it. He was a five-time All-Star with the Pacific League in his native country, and was picked up as a free agent in the offseason. However, he could be suffering from nerves, as his first swing with his new team during spring training didn’t go as planned and he logged a strike. Through a translator, he stated, “I was very embarrassed. I’m looking forward to tomorrow now.” Cincinnati has now completed the circle, with every MLB team having signed a player from Japan. The Reds were the last holdout.