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SPRING TRAINING 2004:  EPILOGUE

Bears end pre-season with a 2-2-1 record

Full spring training coverage

May 4, 2004:  Newark Bears Fan felt privileged to bring you coverage from the Bears' 2004 spring training in Homestead, Florida -- coverage you couldn't find anywhere else.  We thank you all for visiting our site and for all the new e-mail subscriptions we received from our coverage.  And a special thank you to www.BrickCityBruins.com and www.patriotsbaseball.com for linking to our site's spring training coverage!

We also wish to thank the teams and representatives of the Atlantic League for being friendly and welcoming to us.  It was a relaxed atmosphere, and everyone was approachable.  We saw scouts from the Milwaukee Brewers and the Kansas City Royals, and the few press people around seemed to be enjoying themselves.  Kevin Baxter of the Miami Herald was there for a few days and wrote an interesting piece on the Atlantic League that appeared in the May 2 edition.

2-2-1?  You mean there are ties in baseball?

On rare occasions, yes (remember the 2002 MLB All Star Game?).  In the case of the Atlantic League's spring training, however, the reason is that baseball's rules are treated very flexibly.  The games do not count, and the main purposes of spring training are to get the players and coaches back into their regular season form, and to evaluate players in order to set the opening day rosters.  So, we observed many things we would never see during the regular season:

  • Games were extended past nine innings even if there was already a winner.  This was done several times in order to give coaches an opportunity to see more pitchers.  We saw a few cases where the bottom of the ninth was played even though the home team led after eight and a half innings -- for the same reason.

  • In one of the games we saw, one of the teams had ten batters in the lineup!  Again this was to give the coaches the opportunity to see more guys in action.

  • On occasion, after a player had been taken out of the game, he was put back in.  (Actually, we saw this happen once in the regular season last year.)

  • In the last game of spring training, by mutual agreement, the Bears and Road Warriors played only eight innings, apparently so everyone could get going back North.  As it happened, that game ended with a  score of 3-3 and nobody saw the point of playing "extra" innings.

What's the score?

This was perhaps the hardest question to get answered at spring training!  Again, because the games did not count, nobody was keeping accurate track of the games' progress.  The scores you see on www.NewarkBearsFan.com for the Bears games are accurate, as we kept meticulous track of each play at the games; but for the other games we relied on people involved in those games to report the scores, and for every single game we got multiple answers!  Click here for the full list of game results from spring training.

Bears Roster

The roster remained quite stable during spring training -- you can see a list of everyone who worked out with the team here.  The only person who arrived on the scene after the start of camp was Tim Garland, who was with the Pride last year and had just been released from the Cubs organization.  And of course, the day after spring training ended, the Bears announced that Rickey Henderson would be back with the team for opening day, though he was not present in Homestead.  By our count, including Henderson on the roster, at least three of the players at spring training will have to be cut to bring the roster down to 25.  The Bears have not yet announced the opening day roster.

 

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