By Cory Collins

If Spring Training is the appetizer to Major League Baseball’s entree, the regular season, then let’s be honest; it’s the celery sticks.

There’s just not much to take away. It doesn’t taste like real baseball. It doesn’t fill you up. It looks nice, it sounds nice, but in the end, there isn’t much substance. You’re still hungry for more. And you still have a hot minute or twenty before the steaming plate we call summer arrives at your table.

This post isn’t sponsored by Applebee’s, I promise.

But if you’ll let me extend this metaphor but one graph further…let me help you get your fill. This isn’t like me as resident nutrition-tyrant, but in order to stomach your celery sticks without losing precious calories, you need a little dressing. You need to spice up the bland, add taste to the tasteless.

So as the Cincinnati Reds continue their preseason slate in the land of tires, Goodyear, Arizona, here are five things to watch for that actually matter. Years past have taught us that Spring Training stats mislead, that breakout performances are often followed by disappearances. That what happens in the desert is as likely to be a mirage as it is an oasis in the Spring when hope proves as plentiful as water.

But look closer, dip into some trends, and you can find something. You can turn that appetizer into a model’s meal.

The Brandon Phillips Twitter experience.

Sometimes, the greatest games take place away from the field.

When matchups featuring Curtis Partch and first-base coach Billy Hatcher don’t send sensations down your loins, there is always entertainment to be found in the @DatDudeBP lounge.

He’ll make you laugh. He’ll make you cringe. He’ll help you discover moments like the one above that makes you do both.