Last week MLB Network’s NY Met beat writer (and a very good one I might add) @AnthonyDiComo posted on Twitter that after a Met spring training victory:
The Mets beat the Cardinals this afternoon, 8–5. They are now 8–7–1 in Grapefruit League play, which does not matter because these games don’t count.
It was clearly tongue-in-cheek with a twinkle of the eye because, well he’s entirely correct. In reply, I posed this question as a Tweet:
Which always begs the question why publish practice game records in the first place? And for those that bet the games (that there are betting lines on games that don’t count between teams that are not necessarily trying to win) it is a little nuts, no?
Anthony did reply:
Because it seems to get people all up in arms. (And yes, it is absolutely bananas to me that people would want to bet money on games that are usually decided by the 65th-best player in one organization pitching to the 73rd-best in another.)
He’s so right. I am not a sports bettor, but I know there are many people who enjoy betting on any number of sporting events. The Super Bowl is the most-wagered-upon sporting event year after year. Some of the bets one can place on the Super Bowl are rather obscure, even esoteric. Like what color the liquid will be that gets poured over the head of the winning coach. I kid you not.
Every morning during Baseball Spring Training betting lines are provided for that day’s Spring Training contests in the Grapefruit and Cactus Leagues. The oddsmakers that create the betting lines are remarkably accurate which is important because millions of dollars are at stake. Yet when it comes to betting on the outcome of a Spring Training game, I can’t think of a sillier thing on which to bet. Mainly because in Spring Training, winning the game is not the point.
How can you bet on an outcome if winning that game is not paramount to either team? Here’s the thing, if the oddsmakers are as good as they normally are, even with the idea that winning is not the #1 goal (as opposed to a regular season game), there’s a very good chance that betting the game one way or the other will result in winning half the time and losing half the time.
Can one really expect to have a feel for which team is going to win a practice game in which the purpose is to ready the players for the coming season and determine which players on the margin will either make or not make the team?
There’s so much on which to wager in the sporting world, we could use a little less and betting on practice games would be a good place to start!