Got a call from our son on Saturday. His first roommate in professional baseball, and one of his best friends, was on his way to the park for Saturday's game. Answered his cell and found out he had been traded...to the opposing team. Went in and cleaned out his locker. The next night he came in and pitched...against the guys he was teammates with yesterday. The game finished about 10pm. He packed his belongings, said goodbye to a lot of very good friends, hugged most of them, and he and his new wife climbed in his car around 11pm to follow the team bus for a 6 hour bus ride to another visiting city where they would play a 4 game series before ever getting to the city where he will be home based. Very tough life this minor league baseball. If you ever think a baseball player in MLB gets paid too much money, think of this story and what many of them have done to get there. Then applaud them for whatever money they are finally getting paid. They have "earned" it.

'You don't have to be a great player to play in the major leagues, you've got to be a good one every day.'

Original Post
There are many MUCH worse jobs out there and not many with multi million dollar payoffs at the end of the rainbow. Do I think they get paid too much money? Yes. But I don't resent them for it. It's what the game has become. It's what the baseball owners and collective bargaining have made it. It's not the players' fault. But to say that Manny or A-Rod or anyone in the game making 8 figures or so per year have "earned" their salaries by living that tough tough lifestyle in the minor leagues is silly.
Almost none of the kids playing for green stamps and leftovers in the minors will ever cash even one big league check. Mark Texiera recently said the main reason he went to college turing down 1st round money out of high school was to avoid minor league baseball. Nothing easy about it except for a chosen few.
quote:
There are many MUCH worse jobs out there

PopTime, with all due respect, I wonder how much you know about life in the minor leagues. Quite clearly my comments were not directed toward those players who are set from the time they sign their contract and receive the draft bonus. It focused, as Dad04 confirmed, on the other 90% of those in minor leauge baseball. Playing professional baseball, even in the minors, is the dream of so many. What you, at some point, find out is what you thought of as a game is really a business. The business is both physically and mentally demanding as well mentally and emotionally exhausting. Minor league players are not protected the collective bargainning agreement. Again, with all due respect, confusing the "riches" of those at the major league level with the process in the minor leagues that "might" get a player to that level isn't reality, but it might be a bit "silly."
I wonder which jobs you think are MUCH worse. Through A ball, the minor league players get paid either $1,150 or $1,350 per month. They play 29 days per month. With bus travel, which is extensive, they average a 12 hour work day. That ends up around $4.50 per hour for their work. From that, they pay room/board etc to live, they pay the locker room attendant, fines, etc. What is a job that, just from a pay perspective, is MUCH worse than that? Better stop typing, this is making me upset. Wink
Last edited by infielddad
quote:
Playing professional baseball, even in the minors, is the dream of so many. What you, at some point, find out is what you thought of as a game is really a business.


An overused phrase comes to mind here. It is what it is. Certainly, if no one were willing to play at minor league salaries and inconveniences, then it would not exist as a going concern. The dream and an abundant supply of players willing to chase those dreams keeps the costs down.

It is similar to the starving rock band. They sign a contract for peanuts and they are upset when someone else profits from them. Many do not consider the expense and the risk associated with developing talent that millions would pay to see. For every star (insert entertainment profession here), there are thousands of wannabe's. I see it as the capitalist system at work. If you don't like it, there are plenty of other jobs to pursue.
quote:
PopTime, with all due respect, I wonder how much you know about life in the minor leagues.

infielddad, with all due respect, I wonder how much you felt like you HAD to throw out a condescending statement like that to start your reply? Typical lawyer I suppose. No, I don't have first person experience about life in the minors. But there have been books written, movies made, human interest stories broadcast ad nauseam Counselor, about how tough it is playing in the minors. I get it, ok? I also have two personal friends who went through every level of minor league ball up to Triple A in the 80's, so I've heard the horror stories. I'd venture to guess that all these minor league players living this tough life are all doing it by choice, right? Are you complaining on their behalf or do you hear lots of complaints from these minor leaguers? All I ever hear from the previous sources I mentioned are statements to the effect of, "Yeah, it's tough, but I wouldn't trade it for anything", or, "There's nothing else I'd rather be doing". I don't think there's anything more you can say except if the player hates what he's doing he should just give it up. The friends I spoke of told me the horror stories but when all was said and done they got out not because they didn't love it, it was because they no longer saw a future in it for them. And Counselor, do you really want me to answer the question about what jobs are worse, or would you like to withdraw it?
That is a great example of the joke about being loyal to a team or organization.

Players should be loyal to themselves first and then to the team of the uniform they have on that day.

Life in the minors is tough. Life in the majors is only slightly better but the pay makes up for the travel, being away from family and the stresses of the game itself.

Many players hang it up because they get married only to find that they cannot support a family on minor league money. They get a regular job with a little bit surer future.

This may be another reason that there are more foreign born players in the minors each year.
Kids struggling in the minors do it by choice--nobody puts a gun to their head to sign the contract--they have a dream and they are pursuing it and they do not look at it as a job--they see it as a means to their dream--playing in the "BIGS"

Why do kids go miles away from home to play college baseball? Because they are pursuing their dream

Why do kids eliminate the normal social life while playing baseball? Because they are pursuing their dream

You know what I say---God Bless them--it is a tough road but I will tell becoming a doctor is even tougher and more expensive when it comes to loan payback time

Just my nickel--two cents dont work any more
It's annoying all the side stuff, but who doesn't want to play 29 games a month? I would love to do it. Hopefully, I will- one day.
I must say, I am not shedding tears for any of these guys for their "tough" life, although I wish all of them great success. In fact, I think every one of them is extraordinarily lucky and when the day comes when they can no longer play, nearly every one of them will greatly miss it. There are lots of things much, much tougher. PopTime put it well.
quote:
Players should be loyal to themselves first and then to the team of the uniform they have on that day.


I suggest they start looking out for #1 around freshman year in high school, if not sooner with the amount of pitch count ignorance out there.
Last edited by Dad04
Thanks InfieldDad,
I appreciate your perspective and it is definitely the most accurate of all the different perspectives presented here in this post. Today I’m sitting in a hotel room in my son’s team’s hometown waiting to watch another minor league game. I try to visualize what these men are going through as they chase their dream ---- for the players, the brutal reality of minor league baseball is clouded by the rainbow that pop time speaks of. But the rainbow is not real! It is nothing more than a self induced ignorance that is a necessary part of their make-up at this level. We all know this “rainbow” will disappear for most of the players and they will come crashing into reality. I don’t talk about the odds of making it and they don’t talk about it. This is what they want to do but I can tell you it has NOTHING to do with money. You have to listen to what the players talk about. They talk about baseball and the human emotions involved in the game. They talk about the cheers and the boos from the fans. They talk about the loss of a teammate and the new kid on the block. They don’t talk about how much money they don’t make or how much money anyone else makes. Financial status is NOT the discussion of these players.
Infield dad needs no help in making his points but let me add that is difficult for the average “fan” to truly understand the toughness of minor league baseball. I hope that someday all parents will be able to look into their son’s eyes and listen to his conversations when he talks about the great time he’s having playing a very tough job ---- minor league baseball.
Fungo
PopTime,
Nothing in my post came from the training I have as a lawyer. It came from the perspective of a parent and a friend.
It came as a parent who is watching from a very long distance and trying to emotionally support a son who is doing his very best to play with a baseball injury that is physically debilitating. He is battling the emotions of feeling, at times, he does not belong as the injury and its impact affects his ability to perform and prove himself, when performing and proving yourself is the only measuring stick of your employer. Playing injured, as one manager told him, is not considered, and should not be an "excuse."
My comments came as a friend of the player who got the call of his trade. I watched the player and his wife climb into his 1990's something pickup, with all their wordly belongings that they had packed overnight, and head off into the dark on a 6 hour busride they were beginning at 11pm. I felt deeply for him and his family.
My comments came with the anticipation that learning the "rigors" of minor league ball, on the business side would be helpful to some. I didn't view the comments as "silly" and don't see the issue as "silly" either.
I am probably a bit overly sensitive right now and am sorry if my post seemed biting. Not intended that way.
Fungo, As usual, fabulous post.
Jason told us you were coming to town.(Even the players know when Fungo is arriving. Smile) We were there only for the game Sunday night after moving things from Fla and racing back home to attend to business demands. I hope you have a great time in Lansing. Bring them some hits/runs/no errors and great pitching.
CD, as is the norm, I agree with almost every point and observation. I do think we have a difference though on the capitalism. MLB has an antitrust exemption that permits them to do things every other business is not permitted to do in a capitalist economy. I wonder how that impacts. Sure wouldn't change all the players who dream and chase the dream. It is definitely a "sellers" market and MLB uses that plus the exemption quite effectively as one would anticipate a billion dollar industry might.
Last edited by infielddad
quote:
CD, as is the norm, I agree with almost every point and observation. I do think we have a difference though on the capitalism.


No disagreement at all Smile I am just thankful you did not call me a lawyer Big Grin
You get a hall pass from me, parent to parent. I should have recognized that it must be very hard to have a son playing so far away and dealing with issues. I know he's still the kid you used to throw the tennis ball underhand to. Some people reading this know that I understand what it feels like to have a kid in a tough situation. In our case it was the ultimate life-or-death medical situation and having gone through that I should be more sensitive to parental emotions.
Having said that, a couple of things come to mind with regard to the player who was traded. Number one is that at least that phone call wasn't about him being released! He's still wanted somewhere. A lot of kids get that "see you later" phone call and that's the end of the road. I feel bad that his wife is having to experience the same lack of comfort as the player but again, isn't that a matter of personal choice? Do most minor league wives follow their husbands around on the road? Maybe the choice should have been made way earlier, something to the effect of: "Maybe we ought to wait and get married after we see if this baseball thing is going to pan out or not." Just my thoughts.
quote:
Originally posted by ClevelandDad:
I am just thankful you did not call me a lawyer Big Grin

Yeah, Man, I was way out of line with that one.
Poptime - you and infielddad have both come back with some very nice posts on this subject and it is nice when people can step back and see things from the other person's perspective. I hope all is going well for your son and your family Smile
quote:
Number one is that at least that phone call wasn't about him being released! He's still wanted somewhere. A lot of kids get that "see you later" phone call and that's the end of the road.


Poptime,
I think that is exactly right.
I talked with the player and his parents on Sunday night and they expressed the same point of view...now that they were through the intial reactions.
I read an article on Milb last week that drastically reshaped my thinking on professional baseball. The commentator was summarizing an interview of a player who is a very top prospect but is lacking defensively. The player was pretty down because he is in an organization loaded with young prospects in the outfield and already on the major league team. What really opened my eyes was the comment about reminding the player that when you play minor league baseball, you play for 30 teams, not one.
It is a philosphy so foreign to everything we experience in baseball below the professional level.
The more I have thought about it, it seems to be the right mental approach for professional baseball. The trade of a minor leaguer is a reflection of the fact that there are 30 teams, anyone can trade for you, anyone can pick you in the Rule 5 draft if you are not protected, any one can sign you if you are released, and if that occurs, you are going where somebody wants you and thinks they have a need you might fill.
This is a great thread. Enjoy reading the different perspectives, including those of the dads of minor league players.

I think baseball always requires sacrifice as TR suggests. It's just that in the minors, it requires a greater amount. For those of us who have son's looking in, they'd be happy to have the opportunity to face those challenges. Is it an easy road - of course not. Is it a blessed opportunity - most of us would say yes.

I'm sure they have their days where they may question what they're doing there. However, I have a feeling that Fungo and Infieldad's sons will look back 30 years from now and regardless of where either end up, will remember these days with much fondness. The "emotion" of their days.... not the endless bus rides, trades, and lack of pay.
Being a "newbie" at this level, I am still learning, but so far, what infielddad and fungo have posted is right on.

Pro baseball (minors included) is a HUGE $$ business and unfortunately the kids are pretty much nothing more than pawns in the grand scheme of things. It's definitely a numbers game and I'd like to think, nothing personal. I've known this for a long time, but with a "pawn" of my own in the mix, it's sinking in. Not to say that it's right or wrong, it's just the way it is.

At any rate, knowing players who have been there, they keep saying they would trade anything to still be playing.
Fungo - I should have included in my post - Happy Belated Birthday to Josh! Hope y'all took the boy a big cake up there!

As well as to Cleveland Dad's son!
I've spent a lot of years around minor-league players, especially low-end minor leaguers, the guys who aren't going to and/or didn't realize the big payoff.

It is a dream. Maybe a pipe dream, but a dream nonetheless. A gamble. A longshot. Many of them knew it when they signed and most of the others figure it out soon enough.

The mind game is numbing for them. They are admired, even worshipped, yet the kid flipping burgers at Mickey D's is doing better in the wallet than they are.

That said, having played in the old men's league with a lot of guys who played in the minors, the overwhelming majority would do it again in a heartbeat.

What does that tell you?
My dad spent a long time in the minor leagues - albeit quite some time ago. If you think they make nothing now - you wouldnt believe what they made (or didnt make) - LOL - back then. Basically - nothing.

He didnt go on to a fabulous career after baseball was over for him. LOL

Same thing for my uncle - although not as long in the minors as my dad.

50 years later - they still do nothing but talk enthusiastically about their experiences in pro ball. In fact - they still wont shut up. LOL

In their case - I am sure it was worth it.

Just a different perspective I guess.
Last edited by itsinthegame
i would think most everyone here started with the varsity goal for their son's. then college, most likley the dream of the majors.for most it's a dream that keeps them working towards a goal.not even realizing it at times.
the eye opener for us was filling out a w-4 and insurance papers.it is a job,a dream job but a job none the less.when the signing scout got done with his advice we realized at that point you are playing for you.that is the first time in our kids life they play the game for themselves,not the team.a rude awakening at best.i'm sure it gets more difficult as you climb the ladder,start a family etc.
after 2 weeks son had contract voided,he needs tj surgery.invited back when he's healthy.he'll tell you it was a great 2 weeks.and a new goal is born.

a big business disguised as a boyhood dream
I love this thread.

20dad,
Sorry to hear about your son, but this is a perfect example how the dream can end suddenly. Need to take care of that arm folks!

iitg,
I do hear that players who played minor league never let go, good times through bad times, it is something that stays with you forever.

As told to son, compare it to a doctor's internship, long hours, ****** pay, you either stick with it or you don't.

My daughter knows of a few players who are strictly organizational guys, make decent money, college degrees. Will never be anything but that, and they know it, they know it can end anyday. They leave their wives with the kids, go off to play ball for 6 months, loving every minute of it.

But I do understnad why infielddad made this post. It's something to think twice about if giving up the college scholarhip, or expecting it to be like your college baseball years. It's a dose of reality and we all need to know about so we can help our son's decide which direction to take, or not to take.

We all know there is a trend for playres to opt for college first and I think, as we see bonus payouts get lower and lower, a trend will emerge for college juniors to remain a year longer. And now, as I have read, they can't "quit" without giving up the bonus (if the bonus amounts to anything), another reason to think seriously about the dream.

My son is a HUGE team player, if what 20dad says is true, I often wonder if he would survive, if he makes it to the next level.
Last edited by TPM
After reading all the posts, I think most of us would still give up our current day jobs to play. The bus would stink, but i always remind my sister who traveled all over the country for 12 years that she has covered more places than I will in my lifetime. She played amateur golf the pay wasn't too good either :P

I do not know if many of you saw the interview of Kurt Warner talking about his salary which was the minimum during his superbowl bid. I think it was 300-400k then. A reporter wanted to know how it felt to make so little and being the star quarterback. He said in so many words, "do you know how much money that is?" He was thrilled just to play pro ball (he previously played arena football) I really love his attitude even when the chips aren't falling his way.

Lastly, IMO I figure all of our kids or us even, would love to grace the field in the bigs with fans chanting their name even if it was just for one day.
RUDY RUDY RUDY RUDY (Sorry saw Rudy the other day, love that flick :P )
I have been reading this thread and I realize what I say will angier most of you,butI can't stop myself. My 22 yr old nephew is a Sgt. in the Marines and just returned from Iraq he would have loved to continue baseball after high school. My son is 18 and hopefully will be able to continue playing. Every time My son or I think how tough it might be all I have to do is think of my nephew. Thats tough
Josh,
I would bet I am speaking for everyone who posted on this thread when I say that none of us, nor our sons, confuses what they are doing in minor league baseball with the efforts, sacrifices, courage and fears that every young soldier in Iraq/Afghanistan experiences nearly every minute.
I am really sorry if my post came across that way or is even subject to that interpretation. I have always tried to communicate on the site that baseball is a game, nothing more. It is also a business at the professional level. Nothing more.
The war in Iraq is never to be mentioned in the same vein. Thank you to your nephew for the efforts he displays every single day. He is a real hero.
Josh07,

I try to tell every service man and service woman I run into a BIG THANK YOU for all their dedication to our country. If it wasn't for our armed forces, this country wouldn't be as great as it is. Tell your nephew THANK YOU and be careful!
josh,
our prayers go out to your nephew and the servicemen who defend our freedom.because of them we can sleep at night.
thank's
I know minor league baseball must be tuff, but to asy there arn't much worse jobs is rediculous. My dad delivers newspapers for a living. I'd bet whatever I had that he'd do anything he could to play professional baseball instead of doing what he does. I know baseball is a business, but it's also a game, and you can never forget that. The memories of playing catch with your dad, turning into pick up games with friends, little league, high school ball, hitting the weight room, batting practice, it's all for the chance to play as a professional. For the chance to make a living doing what you love to do, play baseball.
Excellent thread, thank you all for a very interesting and informative read.

Josh07, thank you most of all to your nephew and all of his fellow service men and women!
Bill and Fungo......great posts. Many think that the kids playing in the minor leagues are lucky to be there, but most worked very hard for 10-12 years to get the opportunity to make about $5000 per year. Many could be starting good jobs and making good money, but love playing and will give everything they have got to try and make the big leagues even though the odds are very strong that they won't make it.

The young couple got married because they love each other and putting it off would be the same as not grinding in the minor leagues because the odds are against you ever making the big leagues. The gal will be stronger for it and probaly a a better wife and parent too. She could have stayed home with mom and dad and waited for her man to fail so that he could then get a job and support her like mom and dad did. Instead she showed what she is made of and stuck with her guy while driving down the highway at 2am.

All jobs can be muti million dollar jobs, not just baseball. garbage man.....own a big garbage company......lawyer.......own a big law firm........the odds of it happening are not good. The life of a minor league player is not easy, and they are not blessed......they are grinding like crazy trying to be the best they can be which is not something that can be said about most people in most jobs.
Last edited by bbscout
njbb...Saw that Eric Cordier is now pitching for the Burlington Bees.

Good reason for me to go and see a couple of Midwest League games...your son and Eric are teammates.

When are you going to be in the Midwest to see some games?

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