Monday, September 17, 2012
Chasing a Dream
Imagine a person willingly choosing a life of constant bus travel, insufficient pay, and constant discouragement. You ask yourself “Why would someone put themselves through such a thing?” The answer to that question is very simple; it is because this person is a minor league baseball player who has an unrelenting desire to fulfill his lifelong dream of being a major league baseball player. There are countless baseball players in this country, as well as many other parts of the planet who continue to encounter pathetic paychecks, un-Godly amounts of travel, time away from family and continuing disappointment every summer but continue to come back. These people have a love for the game that is incomparable, and have known nothing but baseball for the majority of their lives, so to withstand some of the negative aspects of the game is not an issue for many of them because they have been blessed with the ability to play baseball at the professional level and not everyone is so fortunate.
There are many different levels of minor league baseball all around the world, ranging from the worst, most financially unstable independent league in the country up to AAA affiliated baseball which is one step away from being in the major leagues. There is also a great range in the type of players in each of these leagues; for instance in affiliated baseball, of those who get drafted, 20% will receive a signing bonus of $100,000 or more. (Davis, 2012) As for the rest, a signing bonus could be anywhere from $99,000 to the minimum of $1,000, with the majority being much closer to the lower mark. Many players will sign what is called a free agent deal which entails no signing bonus whatsoever, just a chance to play professional baseball. In this situation, the thought process of a major league organization is that each player is an investment, and the more they invest in a player, the more chances that player will receive to succeed. This is somewhat unfair to those players who have signed free agent or for $1,000 because while they may have better statistics than another player, the other player has signed for a large amount of money and organizations are concerned with seeing their large investments come to fruition. This situation is even more prevalent in the independent levels of baseball. When major league organizations sign a player from an independent league, it is often times someone who has been in affiliated baseball before. Those who have no previous affiliated experience still have a chance, but the facts are still there; less than 4 percent of independent players make it to affiliated ball. (Longenecker, 2012).
With these humbling facts still in the back of each player’s mind, they go out each and every day to continue to work as hard as they can to hone their craft; not because they are waiting on a huge paycheck, but because they love the game of baseball and would do anything in their power to make their dream of playing in the major leagues a reality.
Davis, W. (2012, Feb.). Baseball reference. Retrieved from http://baseballreference.com
Longenecker, C. (2012, Aug 15). Indy ball players arent doing it for the money. Retrieved from http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/minors/independent-audit/2012/2613891.html