Hardest Part of Minor League Baseball

I recently received an email from a 13-year-old Watertown Wizards and LA Angels fan.  Marcus saw me play during the summers of 2004 and 2006, when I played with the Watertown Wizards of the New York Collegiate Baseball League.  Marcus wrote me inquiring as to what the toughest thing is about playing minor league baseball.

The easy answer to this question is to say that everything is tough about playing minor league baseball.  This is not the glamorous life that most perceive it to be, and most people only truly understand if they take the time to learn, have been through it themselves, or know someone who has been through it.  There are many long hours away from home making an unlivable salary (in most cases).  However, we are voluntarily putting ourselves through the rigors of the minor league system with the hopes that one day, we will be able to achieve the dream of playing Major League Baseball.  This is what drives most players: the hopes and determination of ultimately playing in the Majors. 

Now, the complex answer to Marcus’s question.  The hardest part about minor league baseball is that there are no guarantees.  What I mean by this, is that tomorrow is never guaranteed; you never know if you will have a job tomorrow, nor can you even be certain where you will be and who will be around you.  I alluded to these shortcomings in a post last June, “Comings and Goings,” where I discussed how the relationships you develop with players, staff, and fans could be short-lived.  In an attempt to reduce the impact of sudden changes, you try to keep these relationships at a professional level and minimize any emotional attachment.      

It is unfathomably hard to invest so much time and energy into something that can be gone without warning.  Playing baseball is such a fickle profession where knowing the right people and being in the right place at the right time can be just as important as performing well on the field.  However, the love of the game keeps most going during the long bus rides, minimal pay, unjust personnel decisions, and time away from home.  It is the dream that most of us have had since we were young of playing in the Big Leagues that gets us through the setbacks to face another day.

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2 Responses to “Hardest Part of Minor League Baseball”

  1. Marcus's Dad Says:

    Chris you need not respond to me directly, sufice to say Marcus was quite excited that you responded to him in your blog. Marcus loves baseball and the Wizard team of 2004 was fun to watch…Anyway thanks again for making his day. Best of luck in continuing your quest to make it to the bigs. Marcus and I will be watching and praying for your health and success.

    Warren Shelmidine

  2. Jimmy Scott Says:

    It doesn’t change at the MLB level either. I talked to 2x All Star Shea Hillenbrand last night and he’s trying to get back in. He’s having some difficulty, as you can see here:

    http://www.jimmyscottshighandtight.com/node/468

    Great blog, Chris. You hit the nail on the head.

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