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Grapefruit League

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The Grapefruit League is the name given to the schedule of games played by major league teams during spring training in Florida. The teams training in Arizona take part in what is called the Cactus League.

There is no trophy or particular recognition given to the team which finishes on top of the Grapefruit League standings. In fact, there is almost no relationship between teams' performance in these pre-season contests and their regular season records. This is understandable since Managers will give extensive playing time to substitutes, rookies and minor-leaguers during these games, at the expense of starters. This is especially true of pitchers, who are often on strict pitch counts and are limited to a few innings as they work their way into shape for opening day; conversely, pitchers who are being roughed up will tend to stay in games for much longer than they would in a meaningful context, so that they can get their work in. Extra-inning games tend to be called as ties once one team has used all of the pitchers it had planned to use that day. As a result, keeping a scorecard for a Grapefruit League game can be a real challenge.

[edit] Further Reading

  • Josh Pahigian: Spring Training Handbook: A Comprehensive Guide to the Ballparks of the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues, McFarland, Jefferson, NC, 2013 (originally published in 2005). ISBN 978-0-7864-7195-9
  • Ozzie Sweet: The Boys of Spring: Iconic Images from the Grapefruit League 1948-2004, SportClassic Books, 2005.
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