Maybe I have this idealized vision of what MiLB is supposed to be, based on my life and experience in watching both the leagues and Bull Durham about a thousand times. But whatever they are supposed to be, they are, at the end of the day, a weeding out process. A massive try out, if you will, for the Major Leagues. I get that most Minor League players aren’t going to make it. But they have a dream and they have a desire to try. And they have a passion for a game that they believe will be rewarded once they pay their dues and earn the respect of the game. Even players who never make the Big Leagues almost always receive something back from the game to which they have given so much of themselves.
So I was a little surprised when I came across the story of Garret Broshuis, a one-time Giants prospect and currently Baseball America writer, who spent six seasons in MiLB making it to AAA. He didn’t have Big League Stuff, and so he got his law degree and went to work for a law firm, stronger for the experience and probably with some great stories to tell. Now, as a lawyer, he has decided to make his bones with a class action lawsuit claiming that he – along with 30 other Minor Leaguers from every teams system – were victims as MLB was in violation of wage and overtime laws. Read the rest of this entry
Mr. Cub, Ernie Banks, retired from baseball long before I started watching the game. Over nineteen seasons, he hit 512 Home Runs and won the MVP Award just two years before he hung up his cleats. Although I never saw him play the game, his influence on it, and me, cannot be missed by even the casual fan. His biggest record is a testament to how dedicated he was to the game, and how much the game has changed.
Yesterday, Ryan Vogelsong re-signed with the San Francisco Giants. He had been “very close” to a deal with Houston, but when he went to visit the Astros, he said that he “didn’t feel comfortable.” I don’t for certain what that means, for e the humidity n Houston is unbearable, but maybe it meant that he just didn’t know anybody and it made him feel a little lost. In any case, he quickly re-signed with the Giants.
Ernie Banks never experienced that process. Fans never wondered what team he would sign with over the off season, and no GM ever thought to themselves, “I should trade him to a competitive team for four prospects.” Mr. Cub was a Cub for life. I am equally sure that he wanted it that way, but you have to wonder if today’s system of free agency and lack of team loyalty is better or worse for the game? Where would Ernie Banks have gone if the opportunity had been available to him?
For whatever its worth, I hated Free Agency as it originally impacted the game. And the 1981 Strike just drove home how divisive the issue was at the time. But as years passed, and new and different teams began to become competitive, I think that the issued softened for fans. Yes, we missed the loyalty of some players, but at the same time it was replaced by the excitement of the off season and getting to see who your team went after, or if you’re a Mariners fan, what they didn’t do to improve the team.
Ernie Banks was one of the last of the Golden Age players, certainly of the Hall of Famers from that era of the 50’s and 60’s. He spent his whole career in Chicago with the Cubs and never tasted the post-season, even if he did sniff it a time or two. But one man can’t win a pennant, it takes a team. And for all of that time, the Cubs just never really had that team. Okay, maybe in 69, but then again, they’re the Cubs. And since Steve Bartman wasn’t around yet, they had to find a way to fall down on their own.
Cubs fans and Baseball fans everywhere mourn the passing of a man whose enthusiasm for the game was such that even while playing for the Cubs, he always wanted to play two. His laugh and smile were infectious, and even if you like me, never saw him play, you could watch his interviews and meet him in person and know that he had no regrets and that he played baseball for the love of the game.
Adieu, Ernie Banks.
I watched the Giants win the World Series last night, and I have to say that I am sad.
Not because the Giants won. Truth is as a Northern Californian I am okay with it, especially considering the economic impact that a World Series can have on an area. No, I am sad because it’s all over for the year.
Or… is it???
For the first time ever I am interested in and following the Arizona Fall League. Most because my favorite Ports player, Max Stassi, is playing there along with several other Ports.
So count me in as a Phoenix Desert Dogs fan for the next couple of months. Let the baseball continue!