After their winter hiatus, the MLB players, starting with pitchers and catchers have reported to work, followed in a few days by position players. Actually, some guys have already been working out at their spring training camps. Today’s well paid players are a far cry from those of 55 years ago. They have the luxury of doing what they want during the winter, without financial worries.
I remember a picture of Dodger backup catcher Joe Pignatano in the 1958 yearbook, carrying big pipe wrenches up against his shoulders as if he were carrying baseball bats. Back then, most players had a job in the winter to make ends meet. Pignatano was the original Joe the Plumber. In the Home Run Derby show, filmed in 1960 at Wrigley Field in Los Angeles, future Hall of Fame players competed for a prize of $2000 for the winner, $1000 for the loser, and $500 for hitting three homers in a row. You could tell that the money was enough to really make a difference for those guys.
DODGERS’ KEY SPRING DATES
(All times Pacific)
Tuesday – Pitchers and catchers report
Saturday – First full-squad workout
Sat., Feb. 23 – Cactus League opener vs. White Sox at Camelback Ranch, 12 p.m.
Thu., Feb. 28 – Vs. Angels at Camelback Ranch, 12 p.m.
Fri., March 1 – Split-squad vs. Angels at Tempe Diablo Stadium, 12 p.m.
Sat., March 2 – World Baseball Classic begins in Japan and Taiwan
Wed., March 6 – Split-squad vs. WBC Team Mexico at Camelback Ranch, 12 p.m.
March 17-19 – WBC championship round in San Francisco
Thu., March 21 – Christina-Taylor Green Memorial Foundation benefit game vs. Cubs in Tucson, 1 p.m.
Thu., March 28 – Freeway Series vs. Angels at Angel Stadium, 7 p.m.; Split-squad exhibition in Rancho Cucamonga, 6 p.m.
Fri., March 29 – Freeway Series vs. Angels at Dodger Stadium, 7:10 p.m.
Sat., March 30 – Freeway Series vs. Angels at Angel Stadium, 6 p.m.
Mon., April 1 – Opening Day: vs. Giants at Dodger Stadium, 1:10 p.m. PT, ESPN