Spring Training Mindset is Harrowing for Some
I was always in the 20% pool for spring training, so it was not always a win-win situation.
The spring training mindset for most major league players is such a no lose time of year, as long as they stay healthy. Approximately 80% of the major league players know they have made the team going into spring training, so there is little pressure this time of year. Their main objective is to build up their in-game physical and mental readiness. No matter how they perform statistic wise, it is a win-win situation.
For players, who have a good spring training, they feel like they have won because their confidence is sky high and all their off-season work paid off. For players, who have a rough spring, they mark it off as, “It is simply the time to get back into baseball shape and results are not important,” so they feel like they also won, and accomplished their goal of getting ready. Additionally, because sports success is streaky, those players actually feel better knowing a good stretch is due, based on their experiences, and stored confidence from years past.
Of course, for the players who are battling for a job, results often mean everything and it is a much more harrowing time, especially the last week to ten days. The end of spring training for many of those “Twenty Percenters” means a demotion to the minor leagues, or sometimes worse, a release. Suddenly, spring training is not a win-win situation, and disappointment sets in, at least for a spell.
Of course, on some major league teams only 10% of job openings exist, making it even more difficult for the competing players. However, as most ballplayers are of the optimistic sort, they believe in the “Hope springs eternal” saying, and that they will get another chance.