Dispatches from Spring Training: Day Two

Bryce Harper is no longer blond. Seth Lugo is. Was there any question who would come out on top?

The same question, I suppose, can be asked about Trea Turner, and Ryan Zimmerman, and all those infernal Nationals who got to Seth and our subsequent pitchers on a day that clearly was not ours. Our seats today were in the first row, right behind the Nationals’ bullpen: I was there as Max Scherzer warmed up. Everyone nearby could hear him grunting as he tossed. Scherzer was going all out. It showed.

The family of Nationals’ fans next to us were pleasant seat mates, at least as far as Nationals’ fans go. They were two parents and a daughter. Early on, between innings, I was nearly nailed in the head by Bryce Harper as I scrolled through twitter. The throw was meant for the daughter — allegedly. I suppose you can’t hate a player who gives a kid a ball, close as it came to denting my cap.

When Travis Taijeron broke up Scherzer’s bid for a Spring Training no-hitter, I mused to my friend that this Spring Training was probably the first time we’d ever had two players named Travis in the same lineup. That theory remains unconfirmed. What I can confirm absolutely certainly is this: the other Travis, d’Arnaud, might as well not have been there. Even from my seat, I could clearly see, on multiple occasions, the ugliness of his swing. But then again, it was a bad day for everyone — we all have them.

The later innings were a who’s-who of vaguely familiar names from the reaches of our farm system — Desmond Lindsay, Luis Carpio, Andres Giminez, Grant Cone, David Roseboom. They fared hardly better than the regulars. A Tim Tebow strikeout sealed the deal, also regrettably ending what had the chance to be the most dramatic home run in a 6-0 Spring Training game of all time.

My friend and I were happy as we crossed the parking lot, walking back to our hotel. “That’s what I love about Spring Training,” he said. “When you lose, you don’t really feel bad.” Need I write a better ending than that?

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