Spring Training Goes a Little Greener on St. Patrick’s Day

For those of you living under a rock, or perhaps more appropriately under a blarney stone, yesterday was St. Patrick’s Day.

St. Patrick’s Day is named after Saint Patrick, one of the patron saints of Ireland. The actual origin story and legends surrounding St. Patrick are varied and tend to depend greatly on the source material one looks at.

There is of course the legend about St. Patrick driving all of the snakes out of Ireland.  However, most scholars and scientists agree that there is no evidence in the historic or fossil record of snakes ever being in Ireland to begin with so the likelihood of a single man driving them all off of the island is highly improbable.

I guess now is also a good time to mention that despite Walt Disney’s assurances and “documentary” techniques King Brian and Darby O’Gill also didn’t really exist.

What is agreed upon is that St. Patrick was born in England in the late 4th century A.D. and was kidnapped as a child and brought to Ireland.

He escaped his captors after six years and returned to Ireland as a missionary combining Irish pagan beliefs with Christian sacrament while devising the Celtic Cross.

Tis the season for all things green, including green felt hats. Photo R Anderson

Tis the season for all things green, including green felt hats.
Photo R Anderson

In the centuries that have followed St. Patrick’s Day has been less about the man and more about green clothes, green beer, green hats and pretty much anything else green.

Over the past couple of years the green movement has moved to the fields of Major League Baseball as well.

No, I am not talking about the grass on the fields.

I am not even talking about the number of teams who are now encouraging recycling and other “green initiatives” inside their ballparks.

What I am talking about is the green that is popping up on the players.

For the past few years the Spring Training games on St. Patrick’s Day have included teams wearing green uniforms and hats.

The first team that I recall, going green was the Boston Red Sox. The green uniforms and hats seemed an obvious choice based on the amount of Irish American fans in the Boston area.

Other teams followed the green trend and soon it became a league wide tradition as part of the day where everyone can claim to be a little Irish.

The teams that go green each year vary with some teams forgoing the green for their more traditional colors.

The Houston Astros joined the St. Patrick's Day green movement this season. Photo R Anderson

The Houston Astros joined the St. Patrick’s Day green movement this season.
Photo R Anderson

The first time I saw a televised game with the Red Sox wearing the green uniforms I actually thought there was something wrong with my televisions set since the sight of teams in colors other than their normal ones can take some getting used to.

This year the Baltimore Orioles took the green movement a step further with a charity auction of autographed game worn green cartoon bird caps.

Don’t feel like bidding on green Orioles hats? Don’t worry you can still get into the green swing as well with various green items available for purchase for all 30 teams.

The full circle marketing of St. Patrick’s Day to include green items for the fans was just a matter of time since Major League Baseball, like most successful businesses,  has made a habit of capitalizing on every opportunity to make money.

Don Zimmer (far right) is a special adviser to Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays and is not to be mistaken for a leprechaun despite what one might think from seeing the Zim Bear giveaway item last year. Photo R Anderson

Don Zimmer (far right) is a special adviser to Joe Maddon and the Tampa Bay Rays and is not to be mistaken for a leprechaun despite what one might think from seeing the Zim Bear giveaway item last year.
Photo R Anderson

While the green gear is popular with the fans it also allows the players to try something new in Spring Training. There are special uniform nights throughout the season but green uniform day is the only one that falls during Spring Training.

So as a public service announcement next time March 17th rolls around do not adjust your set when you are watching that Spring Training game. Your eyes are not playing tricks on you and the players really are wearing green.

Now if you see a leprechaun at the ballpark and ask to see his pot of gold odds are it is just Don Zimmer.

Now if you’ll excuse me all of this talk about green things has me in the mood for some green eggs and ham.

 Copyright 2013 R Anderson

 

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