One of my favorite things in the world to do is go to Spring Training. For those of you not baseball-inclined, Spring Training is, obviously, baseball’s pre-season. When I was a kid, back before sports was 24/7/365 and before athletes made Central American GDP’s as salaries, Spring Training was a time to shake the rust off the winter, work the fat off, and get back into game shape. And to do so, they play games.
Just like the regular season, they play a game a day, but the games don’t matter - they might be using a game to work on hitting to the opposite field, a pitcher might be working out a new pitch, whatever - so they’re played at a really low intensity level, the tickets are cheap, and the games are all in Arizona or Florida, which makes for a great vacation for those of us in northern climes who want some sun after a long dark winter.
Arsenal’s preseason, sadly, isn’t this. But it is a time for guys to get their timing back a bit, and work on their game with any new players that have arrived - they may not play a game a day, the words “split squad” probably don’t exist, and in general soccer’s preseason is much more behind the scenes than baseball’s, but it is still a thing.
And, happily for those of us who are indifferent to international soccer, it is a thing that is happening now! Arsenal started their preseason on Monday, and while of course the Ozils, Ramseys, Alexises, Girouds and the like are either still playing or on a Wenger-prescribed break, most of the team has been at Colney all week, finding their lockers, setting out cones, figuring out who gets to park where, and all that sort of first-week-at-work sort of stuff.
Arsenal’s first preseason game is against
Boreham Wood oh wait no traditions are meaningless any more Lens on the 22nd; then Arsenal get on a plane and fly to the west coast for the MLS All Star Game on the 28th and a friendly against Chivas de Guadalajara in LA on the 31st.