When Does One See The Writing On The Wall?

I searched past topics and didn't see this one addressed.  Let's assume that a player participates in baseball because it is fun, love for the game, something to do, exercise, girl magnet, etc.  There is another reason though -  baseball at the next level.  Aside from the previous assumptions, a player plays high school baseball to try to get a college scholarship.  The reward time period is defined by hs graduation and enrollment into college at a discounted rate.  Besides the assumptions, college player plays due to the financial obligation towards a possible degree, and the possibility of going to the next level.  A college player gets drafted to play in the minors, and their reward is to make it to the show, with no definite time period.  Thus, my question is how long does a player stay in the minors until they realize it will never happen?  Injuries are unfortunately pretty straight forward in forcing the dream ending.  Is it when he no longer loves the game? Or when he is broke living on $1200/mt salary?  Or when the parents for various reasons stop with their financial help?  Or is it something else or a combination?   Then looking back do you feel "if I gave it another year or two I could have made it" regret?  As I mentioned in other topics my son is in the minors.  Barring any career ending injury he is "projected" to hit the show as early as 2019.  In a tiny part of my mind though it would be difficult to swallow if he never makes it.  I count my blessing every day he is healthy, playing and producing.  He is at a level that has been only in my dreams.  Of course he is of the mindset he will make it sooner than later which is normal for a player.  I am just curious what to look out for in those who have gone through it.  Love this site!!

Original Post

Interesting post.  This is hypothetical for me.  If your son's passion and dream is to play in the MLB then why not pursue that with abandon, and not doubt it.  If your son is healthy that is a lot of it.  I have a neighbor's son who played in the MLB and AAA (back and forth)  for a few years after a great college career.   This year he wasn't re-signed by that MLB team, so he's headed overseas to play in Asia because he wants to continue that professional dream.   Instead of asking why, it should be why not if that is what he wants to do.  After talking to him over a few beers a couple years ago, he told me there is a lot of luck involved as well.   I understood that to be that you have to be healthy, put yourself in a position to be lucky, then be lucky to play baseball professionally.

As always, JMO. 

Mine was told to stop playing for about 6 months to allow a small labrum tear to heal, in which time he returned back to Clemson for his degree and was the student assistant for the pitching coach and decided that coaching was what he wanted to pursue.  Being the assistant is a lot easier than being in charge of 15-17 young men but he loves  college baseball, and loves teaching the guys how to compete. It's worked out well for him in 2 short years. I think he is wondering why he didn't do it sooner but 9 years in professional ball gave back a lot to him in relationships that have and will help his career.  He has NO regrets and I guess if he did he wouldn't tell anyone anyway. He has friends still playing, some on the ML team ,some still in the milb system some playing internationally some in independent ball. Many have families to support others have made a lot of money in the game in a short period of time.  Its what they love doing and not ready to hang it up, probably because no one ever told them to stop. 

With that being said, I am curious why you are bringing this up, obviously If he is "projected"  it takes awhile ( first has to be protected on the 40 man than battle for a 25 man roster spot). There is a process in everything and that includes professional ball.

Why not just enjoy these moments and let him take care of business and when and if the time comes he will decide his future.

JMO

fenwaysouth posted:

Interesting post.  This is hypothetical for me.  If your son's passion and dream is to play in the MLB then why not pursue that with abandon, and not doubt it.  If your son is healthy that is a lot of it.  I have a neighbor's son who played in the MLB and AAA (back and forth)  for a few years after a great college career.   This year he wasn't re-signed by that MLB team, so he's headed overseas to play in Asia because he wants to continue that professional dream.   Instead of asking why, it should be why not if that is what he wants to do.  After talking to him over a few beers a couple years ago, he told me there is a lot of luck involved as well.   I understood that to be that you have to be healthy, put yourself in a position to be lucky, then be lucky to play baseball professionally.

As always, JMO. 

Thanks for the input.  Maybe I came across the wrong way.  I and wife fully support him, am excited with the ride thus far, enjoying the publicity and support from his MLB team, and all.  I was interested in the advice what signs to look out for since son will probably go on until physically he is unable to.   Interested in how other parents handled their son's careers, if they saw signs maybe it's time,  if they left it all up to son to make the decision even if that meant a few additional years of hardship/disappointment.  Both Keewart and you brought up valid points, thanks.  If you ever talk to your neighbor it would be interesting how his son decided to give it up after bouncing between AAA/MLB.

Ok, I am gonna be the bad guy in the room.

There are so many parents that have passed through here that were disappointed their players never even got the call. And for those that have, never asked about how they "handled" their sons careers.

This is your sons career you dont have to handle anything. They will figure it out just like everyone else does.

Enjoy the moments. Don't worry.

For the OP, TPM has good advice.  Besides, this is so much more complicated than people think.  I have had approximately 20 players play professionally with 5 having a cup of coffee in MLB.  The vast majority didn't have a choice to stop.  However, there were other things that happened as well.  One player felt that he was the next in line to MLB and he was 24.  Another player was promoted and it took the wind out of his sails.  I think he has regrets.  One had his wife threaten to leave him if he continued chasing the dream.  One quit because the game was no longer fun with the long bus rides, low pay, promotions that they were required to do but for little money, ...  I think he still loved the game itself.  When a MLB team gives some type of timeline, I've never seen that set in stone.  

Both Keewart and you brought up valid points, thanks.  If you ever talk to your neighbor it would be interesting how his son decided to give it up after bouncing between AAA/MLB.
 

Fenway noted in his post above "he wasn't resigned by his team."   He had quite a following around these parts.  Thanks for the update, Fenway.

Trust In Him..." Thus, my question is how long does a player stay in the minors until they realize it will never happen?"

Well, MLB controls the player for 7 yrs...Players need to be progressing at least 1 level a yr...VERY few  make 2 levels in a season...It all depends on team needs during the season...who will contribute to the W...who's hurt & for how long?...who's "lucky star"  is shining brightest at the moment?...Who's the leader vs who's just kicking dirt on the plate or backtalking or throwing a hissy-pissy? Who is learning the "game within the game"? Who has the Team invested more $$$'s in??? Those dollars speak volumns & give the player a bit of an advantage...

Can the kid cope with the moves up & down several times during a season & still be mentally & emotionally at his best? How long can he accept his teamates "getting the call"...Can he stay humble until it's "his turn", then perform well enough to keep the new assignment?

See, it's just way too complicated to be fretting, wondering, thinking or even considering any of these  crappy  parts of pro ball! 

So, my advise...follow your handle...Trust In Him!

keewart posted:
Both Keewart and you brought up valid points, thanks.  If you ever talk to your neighbor it would be interesting how his son decided to give it up after bouncing between AAA/MLB.
 

Fenway noted in his post above "he wasn't resigned by his team."   He had quite a following around these parts.  Thanks for the update, Fenway.

Correct keewart.  He was not re-signed by the MLB team he was previously under contract.  He was offered by the Chicago Cubs and offered by another professional team over in Asia.   He chose the Asian team for many reasons.   

By coincidence, I ran into his Dad last night on a walk.  His son and daughter-in-law love it over there.   From what I'm being told the Spring training expectations are very different, the game is managed & played differently, and the fans are absolutely crazy at regular season games.   He really likes the atmosphere alot.   I'm trying to find out when he is scheduled to pitchs next as I'd like to see a game via Internet if it isn't past my bedtime.  

I wanted to add a little more food for thought...

1. Ya'll are all still in the "honeymoon phase"  It's new & exciting, you want to pinch yourself! "!!! this really happening??"....    

2. By year 2-3-4, he has hopefully learned to cope with this crazy lifestyle change, always being broke, learning the ins & outs of finding a place to "share" with 2-3-4 other players, traveling hours on a bus in kind of cramped conditions, poor nutrition mostly...then getting workouts in & 3+ hr games...to be repeated for up to 10 day road trips every other week...for 6 months...      

3. Time...slowly changes ones perspective...This profession is now a job...This is hard, hard, hard work....especially when he thinks he is on the cusp...Does he still have that burn in his gut?...that mental fortitude to keep putting in effort, maybe MORE effort than in the "honeymoon phase"...Is he still as healthy?...have the setbacks   "set-in"? 

Our only part in our sons' career is to appreciate them, respect them, intercede in prayer on their behalf...

I always wondered what the end game would be for our pro son.   Most players don't want to just make it to the Big Leagues. They want to stay there.  For him, going back and forth between AAA and MLB, mostly due to injuries, took a toll on him and he was ready to move on to a more stable life.  However, he had friends that stuck with it for years after he left. Everyone is different and it's hard to predict how you'll feel about a situation until you're in it.  

Many people, including MLB managers, encouraged him to continue the fight. However, he knew he was done.  The injuries, travel, time away from his family, performance expectations, public life, etc. just weren't worth it anymore.  When he didn't get an invite to Big League Spring Training as a free agent, after another season ending injury, he knew it was time.  He had given it everything and was drained, physically and emotionally. Again, he had friends that went through the same thing and hung in there to go on to extended MLB careers.  It just wasn't for him.  

He's much happier now and more like himself.  He genuinely loved the game and the guys, but the rest of the MLB world was very hard for him, especially the entertainment side.  The guys that hung in there loved performing in front of huge crowds, media interviews, fan attention, travel, adventure, etc. and were willing to do anything to keep it going.  He just wasn't wired that way.  He gave it his very best for years and has no regrets.   It took as much strength of character to leave as it did to stay.   I'm glad he was able to find the courage to follow his heart.  

I think everyone's situation is different....and can depend on a lot of things.  A friends son is in his 4th year in the minors.  He had struggled at the plate (and behind it, he's a catcher) the previous 3....and hadn't gotten above single A. Throw in the fact that his dad ( who was also his best friend/trainer/coach/etc) passed away in the fall of 2016 and it's been a real struggle for him.  Nobody could blame him if this whole baseball thing doesn't work out. 

He told people last fall that this year was going to be his last if things don't change. He was giving it one more season then if it didn't work, he was going back to his original plan of being  pharmacist.   Guess what...... he worked out last winter....more/harder than he ever had with the intention of making sure that if he was going to make this his last year he'd know that he'd given hit his absolute best shot.

As of today he's one of 2 catchers on a AAA roster and has spent some time with the big boys.  Needless to say his thoughts on this "baseball thing" have changed a bit since last fall   

In general, people who truly love the game stay in it until there is literally nowhere left to play.  Whether that be as a career minor leaguer or even in the Indy Leagues or playing in Australia or Japan.

Reality sets in when dealing with injuries and multiple recoveries from surgery etc... Also if you are married & have kids the reality of money and needing to provide sets in...

I wouldn't be shocked if my Kid becomes a Baseball lifer.  He'll play until nobody wants him and then get into coaching.  I also know though, from having an older son, that a ton of things change between 15 and 25!

My 13U son's middle school team was short players for the past weekend game. I sent in my 10U son to fill in as he goes to the same school and plays on the 5th grade team. He was already half-way to leaving baseball before entering this game and he complained he was afraid and really did not want to play. I managed to convince him and he half-heartily agreed probably just to shut me up as I emptied the archives of  using opportunities like this over come fear, playing with big bro, helping others out, even stroked his ego about he could "brag" to his 5th grade team he is playing big field baseball with teenagers etc..  Now, the middle school baseball is around rec level so I figure it should be fine and of course the opposing starting pitcher that day happens to be a kid that plays on the local travel circuit and had above average velo. My youngest from the dugout is carefully examining his warm up like a scout that briefly excited me until he turned around and scanned the outfield to look for me and worded "heck no!"  I could have had a great parenting moment and gave him a expression of confidence, but instead I took advantage of my myopia and pretended not to see him. He batted 9th in the line up (his big brother bats first) and I think that really helped him step to the plate. In his first at bat he manage to foul off 2 balls and eventually whiffed on a half attempt to swing, a huge victory. On his second plate appearance, another K off 4 pitches,  had 1 foul off and I did not see fear so I am beaming at that point. As fate would have it at the 3rd and his final at bat, the pitcher loses control, he tries to step back but he ends up wearing one right above the evoshield elbow guard.  Now his reaction was more fear than pain, but the scene was if his arm was amputated, hysterical tears, drooling and flopping on the batter's box like a trout on a line.  Luckily the ump permitted him to be taken out of the game so he could ice his arm (and calm down).  To my surprise, he did muster up the courage and played the field (LF).  I was pretty sure this was his baseball swan song season. The next day at his 5th grade game he hits 2 ITP HRs (very large outfield). After the game he told me he bragged to his team how he hit like that at the 8th grade game and the pitcher plunked him. I hope this will keep baseball around another year. Thanks all for the Monday morning vent.

 

 

 

Our travel coaches "accidentally" signed our 10 year olds up for a 12 year old tournament two years in a row (same tournament). It was a kick to see our scrawny little guys next to the "big" kids. I think it built their confidence to know they could hang with those guys — felt sorry for the one team we managed to beat — although our coaches took some ribbing for apparently not knowing how old the boys were!!

2022NYC posted:

My 13U son's middle school team was short players for the past weekend game. I sent in my 10U son to fill in as he goes to the same school and plays on the 5th grade team. He was already half-way to leaving baseball before entering this game and he complained he was afraid and really did not want to play. I managed to convince him and he half-heartily agreed probably just to shut me up as I emptied the archives of  using opportunities like this over come fear, playing with big bro, helping others out, even stroked his ego about he could "brag" to his 5th grade team he is playing big field baseball with teenagers etc..  Now, the middle school baseball is around rec level so I figure it should be fine and of course the opposing starting pitcher that day happens to be a kid that plays on the local travel circuit and had above average velo. My youngest from the dugout is carefully examining his warm up like a scout that briefly excited me until he turned around and scanned the outfield to look for me and worded "heck no!"  I could have had a great parenting moment and gave him a expression of confidence, but instead I took advantage of my myopia and pretended not to see him. He batted 9th in the line up (his big brother bats first) and I think that really helped him step to the plate. In his first at bat he manage to foul off 2 balls and eventually whiffed on a half attempt to swing, a huge victory. On his second plate appearance, another K off 4 pitches,  had 1 foul off and I did not see fear so I am beaming at that point. As fate would have it at the 3rd and his final at bat, the pitcher loses control, he tries to step back but he ends up wearing one right above the evoshield elbow guard.  Now his reaction was more fear than pain, but the scene was if his arm was amputated, hysterical tears, drooling and flopping on the batter's box like a trout on a line.  Luckily the ump permitted him to be taken out of the game so he could ice his arm (and calm down).  To my surprise, he did muster up the courage and played the field (LF).  I was pretty sure this was his baseball swan song season. The next day at his 5th grade game he hits 2 ITP HRs (very large outfield). After the game he told me he bragged to his team how he hit like that at the 8th grade game and the pitcher plunked him. I hope this will keep baseball around another year. Thanks all for the Monday morning vent.

 

 

 

2022NYC:

Your story made me think of my sons. My older one was really into baseball, playing as early as 3 yrs old at a YMCA. He currently plays MI for a D1 school. My younger son "retired" from baseball when kids started pitching and were more "wild then coach-pitch" (though a coach hit him once by mistake). His current interests are chess, theatre, theology and gaming. Despite their differences and three year age gap they are quite close, which is all a dad could ask for. 

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