Like the man said, “We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel. We’re just trying to do it better.”

The man is manager Terry Francona, going through his first spring training with the Indians. When he talked about “doing it better,” he wasn’t referring to training camp, rather the conduct of a baseball season in general. But the same words apply to the seven weeks the Tribe is spending in the desert to prep for a 162-game schedule.

Has spring training been different under the oversight of Francona?

The team played no intrasquad games for the first time in more than 20 years, and pitchers have thrown batting practice without protective “L” screens in front of them. Catchers are giving signs to pitchers throwing BP to batters for the first time in my memory [rather than pitchers indicating to catchers what pitch he will throw with a hand signal].

In other words, no big deal. The same old wheel is safe to roll on for another millennium.

It already has become clear that Francona came as advertised. That is, he’s a player’s manager. One small example is the removal of the protective screens, because pitchers find them uncomfortable when they cut loose.