At the Winter Meetings following the World Series, major league teams must decide on the 40 players they want to protect in a special draft that is commonly referred to as the Rule Five Draft.
The rule is basically a good idea as it prevents teams from stockpiling players in their farm systems and it gives hope to minor league players who may be languishing behind a all star major leaguer playing the same position. Depending on age when they signed, players become eligible after three or four years
Historically, players such as Roberto Clemente (above) who as we know turned into the steal of the Century for the Pirates, R A Dickey (left), Dan Uggla, and Jose Bautista (below) revitalized their careers after being taken in this draft. Last year, the Rangers caught lightning in a bottle when they selected Delino Deshields who became the Texas Rookie Of The Year. For major league teams, the price of a selection is a mere $50,000…….but there’s a catch……
Posted in 25 man roster, a baseball life, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball commissioner, Baseball Commissioner, baseball history, baseball's young talent, business of baseball, Change, Delano Deshields, farm system, free agency, Free Agents, homegrown talent, Jose Bautista, life as a minor league player, minor league baseball, MLB, MLB Blogs, MLB Free Agents, Pittsburgh Pirates, Reflections On Baseball, Roberto Clemente, Rule 5 Draft, rule changes, Rules, Team building
Tagged baseball, Baseball Blogs, baseball history, Baseball life, baseball young talent, Delano Deshields, Free Agency MLB, life in the minors, minor league baseball, MLB, MLB RULES CHANGE, Reflections On Baseball, Roberto Clemente, Rule 5 Draft
When Terry Collins walked across the field at the conclusion of last night’s contest to shake hands with Dodgers manager Don Mattingly, (right) he had just completed his 1680 th game as a major league manager. The final chapter of a man’s baseball life had been written and you could just sense the relief and gratification that only comes from a long uphill climb that led his team (or family as he calls them) to victory and a chance to compete for a spot in this year’s World Series.
In the 1970’s, Terry Collins was a minor league shortstop playing first in the Pirates organization and then later with the Dodgers. He never had a major league at bat. However, a turning point in his career came when Peter O’Malley, then the owner of the Dodgers offered him a chance to manage.
Back then, the Dodgers were not the mega corporation they are today and O’Malley (left) emphasized the family culture that surrounded his teams. For example, when the Dodgers won the World Series in 1988, he took not only the team but virtually the entire staff, including the groundskeepers, to Hawaii for a vacation. At the time, Collins was on another assignment for the Dodgers. When he returned home, he was welcomed with a trip to Italy replacing the one he missed for his entire family. Terry Collins never forgot the way the Dodgers treated him. More importantly, he picked up on those values and voice as the manager of the New York Mets stressing the nature of team building and family.
No doubt, last night was a bittersweet moment for a man who beat the parents who raised him (so to speak). To a man, the Mets reflect the character of their leader in the dugout. But, this didn’t happen overnight. Actually, it began before the first game of the season when Sandy Alderson, the Mets General Manager, stunned the Mets fanbase by declaring that the Mets would win 90 games this year. With a team of young talent, Collins tried to downplay the whole thing while the media pressured him every day. But inside the clubhouse, Collins was already building the structure of his team – one that would accent a quiet confidence.
Well, we know the end result. The Mets did, in fact, win 90 games. But it was Collins’s leadership that brought them together and through the tough times – like losing their captain David Wright (right) for several months, as well as Lucas Duda – their only bona fide power hitter until Cespedes came along. And then of course, there was the ongoing saga of Matt The Brat Harvey who on more than one occasion caused a disruption off the field as well as in the clubhouse. Collins, known for having a temper, never lost it. More importantly, he never lost his players.
His is one of those stories you only find in baseball. One thousand six hundred and eighty games – and finally he is a winner.
Posted in 2015 Playoffs, a baseball life, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, David Wright, Don Mattingly, Los Angeles Dodgers, Manager of the Year, Matt Harvey, N.Y. Mets, New York Mets, Peter O'MALLEY, Terry Collins
Tagged 2015 Playoffs, baseball, Baseball Blogs, Baseball life, Don Mattingly, los Angeles Dodgers, Manager of the Year, Matt Harvey, Minor League, New York Mets, Peter O'MALLEY, Sandy Alderson, Terry Collins
Every once in a while we get a jolt that reminds us that the men who play the boys game we love so dearly are just that……men…..who like us all have frailties. We may tend to look at (and want to believe in) the caricature we see on the playing field day in and day out as though they were some kind of a wind up toy you send out there until the batteries fade or die out completely. That mirage often coincides with the image of baseball as America’s Pastime and pastoral ambiance. It works well until it doesn’t……..
You might recall, for instance, the piece I wrote about Wilmer Flores who was captured on camera weeping when he thought he was being traded to another team, when in fact all he was doing is expressing his humanity. It is in this same vein that I believe we should look at the events of the past few days pertaining to CC Sabathia.
CC Sabathia is a man who carried the Yankee’s pitching staff on his back from the Championship season of 2009 through last year when a knee injury and resulting surgery virtually left him for dead with many scribes (including myself) wondering if he would ever pitch for the Yankees again. In truth, he probably struggled with his need to to learn how to pitch again without his 95mph fastball as much as the illness that was challenging him. These are the stories we will never know……the why and the how……and have no right to know (Shame on the story in the N.Y. Post today).
All we need to know is that CC is taking care of business for his family and loved ones. Are we shocked and disappointed about the timing of his move forward to rehab with the Playoffs looming? Of course we are, but you can be sure that everyone in that Clubhouse supports his decision to a man because they are the “robots” who go out there to perform for us……….and they get it because they know what it’s like to be on stage in “The Show”. Good luck CC and we look forward to seeing you on the mound next year……….healing and healthy.
Posted in a baseball life, America's Pastime, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, BASEBALL families, baseball playoffs, c.c sabathia, Fans, getting traded, joe girardi, New York Yankees, Playoffs rotation, trade deadline, wilmer Flores, World Championships
Tagged 2015 Playoffs, Alcoholism, Ballplayer human, baseball, Baseball Blogs, CC Sabathia, clubhouse Joe Girardi, drinking, New York Yankees, rehab, Wilmer Flores
My previous post highlighted a side of life we seldom see or think about for the 1,200 players who make it to “The Show”. Now, let’s take a look at the ones who never make it….the ones who are still chasing the dream.
Meet Mike Hessman (right) a veteran of 19 years in baseball’s minor leagues. A few days ago, he hit his 433rd home run as a minor leaguer playing for the Toledo Mud Hens. A grand slam no less. His compelling and complete story is chronicled here.
He’s often likened to Crash Davis, a fictional character in a well known movie. For Mike Hessman, he can only dream of making the money Kevin Costner did in that role.
And you don’t always get the girl like Costner did .Instead, more often than not you get to play along with a amateurs marketing genius and help to conduct a mock funeral on the field (Left) or toss water balloons at teammates. This all makes for family fun at Minor League Ballparks across the country, but a closer look at the economics of minor league baseball reveals a much deeper concern……..
Many players receive less than the minimum wage. A salary of $1100 a month (that’s $6.87/hour) is not uncommon plus they receive this only for the months they are actually playing. There is no compensation during the off season when they are expected to stay in baseball shape. A daily allowance of $20-25 as “meal money” hardly translates into another requirement – that is to eat healthy.
Indeed, It’s A Harsh Life (must read) and once again we need to remember that these are PEOPLE and not robots or wind-up toys. Hat’s off to Mike Hessman………and I hope #500 is on the way…….
Posted in a baseball life, Baseball, Baseball Blogs, business of baseball, life as a minor league player, Mike Hessman, minor league baseball
Tagged bleacher report, chasing the dream, Kevin Costner, life in the minors, Mike Hessman, minor league baseball, Toledo Mud Hens
On any given day, the above percent of the United States population can be classified as Major League ballplayers (40 man roster X 30 teams). In scientific notation, that number would be represented as 3.428 X 10 to the negative seventh power. Trust me, it’s a very small number. Factor in the populations of Latin American countries and the number becomes even smaller.
More than likely, everyone reading this article (including myself) dreamed one day of playing in the “Show”. The allure of playing a boys game before millions of adoring fans, making tons of money, staying in first class hotels……with the possibility of “retiring” at the age of 40…….come on…..who wouldn’t want that?
But something changed in baseball this week – at least for me. Subconsciously, I had realized it before but the sight of seeing Wilmer Flores sobbing with the news he heard from fans in the stands that he had been traded from the Mets (the team that signed him when he was 16) to Milwaukee was enlightening.
It simply reminded me that the men and sometimes boys who play this game we love………..are not robots or wind-up toys. They are human beings who have feelings. They are men who play on teams that log as many as 43,000 miles in the air, often traveling overnight following a night game……..getting five or six hours sleep and it’s back to the ballpark for a day game.
In many ways it’s a lonely life too. Most have wives or significant others, family with children, pets, friends and relatives who remain behind during a extended road trip. And when the well accepted “business” aspect of the game intrudes on this life with a trade to another team…………and suddenly your life is changing and there’s a house to sell, a new house to buy, children uprooted from schools and friends, your newly made friends left behind………the list is endless…….it may be time to pause for a moment to reflect on the dream we had to consider how much the sacrifices these “players” make along the way…….
Which brings us full circle back to Wilmer Flores and the emotions he displayed that night in Queens…………and while his reaction was open and captured on camera……..you have to wonder how many PEOPLE who play this game haven’t felt the same way leaving their bags unpacked and waiting for the call that says…….”Thanks for your service but you need to catch the next flight to Denver”……….
Posted in a baseball life, Baseball, Baseball Blog, Baseball Blogs, baseball travel, business of baseball, getting traded, wilmer Flores
Tagged air miles baseball teams, impact on baseball lives wives family, traded players, Wilmer Flores