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The newspapers conspired to make it even more glamorous and important. Bush leaguers who had hit .250 the previous year suddenly became Ruthian phenoms in spring training. The palms always swayed, the parks were always sunbathed, the pitchers were ahead of the hitters, and the question of whether to carry a third catcher or an extra pitcher seemed cosmic. It never occurred to anyone to wonder why it took almost two months for such great athletes to prepare their bodies for an activity that children could swing into comfortably in a day or two. Spring training as an excuse to go south? Spring training as a publicity gimmick? Ridiculous. The reasons for spring training were pure, and its length as inviolate as the human gestation period. Some things only God should monkey with.
Surely the bad thing Fritz Peterson and Mike Kekich did was to tell all about it in spring training. And the players association talking strike during spring training! Strike in July, in September, when it is just a matter of business; strike the October Classic, if you will. But surely spring training is above that sort of thing. Only certain stories and headlines should come out of spring training. A sampler of these follows. They are all from The Boston Globe but, except for specific Hub references, they could have come from any paper in any town from any spring back when spring training was taken seriously by everyone—before there were real scores from Portland Trail Blazers vs. Kansas City-Omaha Kings basketball games or from Edmonton Oilers- Winnipeg Jets hockey clashes to take precedence over the make-believe events of the Grapefruit League.
SOX ADVANCE GUARD GOES SOUTH
IT'S 'PLAY BALL' TOMORROW IN THE BEES' TRAINING CAMP
WEIR GETS FIRST LOOK AT TRAINING CAMP
WALLY BERGER DRIVES FROM THE COAST TO THE BEES' CAMP TWO DAYS AHEAD OF SCHEDULE
ILLNESS IN FAMILY DELAYS PARNELL
THREE BRAVES ARE IN CAMP UNSIGNED