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”……….