Every February, Major League Baseball players arrive at Spring Training in the hope of being their best selves. They show up to camp having lost weight, gained muscle and they claim to be in “the best shape of their lives”.
It’s the most time-honoured Spring Training cliche. Everyone knows it’s just a trope, but at least one player on the Blue Jays roster is in the best shape of their life every Spring. This year is no different, which can make it difficult to keep track of which players are their best selves.
Introducing the Toronto Blue Jays “Best Shape of Their Life” Tracker; a tool to keep tabs on which Blue Jays players are healthier than ever. They may be slimmer or bulkier (in a good way) heading into the 2018 season.
The Blue Jays "Best Shape of Their Life" Tracker
|Russell Martin||Feb 15||Put on muscle||Sportsnet|
|Joe Biagini||Feb 17||Lost 10 pounds||Toronto Sun|
|Kevin Pillar||Feb 22||Lost 15 pounds||Sportsnet|
|Devon Travis||Feb 22||"He looks bigger and stronger" - John Gibbons||MLB Video|
|Randal Grichuk||Feb 22||Took a vision training course||Sportsnet|
|Kendrys Morales||Feb 23||Lost 12 pounds||Toronto Sun|
|Steve Pearce||Feb 26||"I'm going into the year healthy" - Steve Pearce||Toronto Sun|
This table will be updated periodically as more “best shape of their life” stories are reported. By my count, there are five Blue Jays players who came to Spring Training in better shape: Russell Martin, Joe Biagini, Kevin Pillar, Devon Travis and Kendrys Morales.
It’s funny to think that Spring Training is a place where MLB players used Spring Training as a means to get in shape for the upcoming regular season. These days, most players train throughout the offseason and are already in peak physical condition once they report to camp.
I, on the other hand, prefer to take the Joey Votto approach and typically reach Spring Training in progressively worse shape each year. As someone who hasn’t been in the best shape of their life for about 20 years, I salute any athlete who has made strides to improve their health.