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
Longenecker, C. (2012, Aug 15). Indy ball players arent doing it for the money. Retrieved from

1 comment:

  1. Childhood dreams often fade away as adult life takes over. With the necessity to provide solely for one’s self or for a family, obstacles arise that prevent one from continuing to chase childhood dreams. I know that many male athletes, specifically baseball players, dream of reaching the Big Leagues of Major League Baseball. Although this is highly unlikely, the competitive fire in a man’s heart may burn from the time he is a young boy to the time he is in his sixty’s or later. To satisfy their competitive nature there are ways for individuals both on the uphill and downhill slopes of their life to fuel their passion for playing baseball competitively.
    Ideally, young baseball players wish to be drafted out of high school to a farm system, associated with a major league club, with a chance to move up as high as the Big Leagues as performance improves. This is a rare case because most new professional ball players (getting paid to play the game) at any level come from collegiate teams. This is much like the reason one may travel to Wal-Mart to pick up groceries rather than a convenience store though some convenience stores offer a wide variety of food themselves. There are simply better pickings because of the quantity to choose from at Wal-Mart.
    Other ways of making a childhood dream come true are from various Independent professional organizations. These are located locally in the U.S. as well as internationally. International professional leagues, though not all listed, range from Holland to Japan and even to Australia. Through personal experience I have come to the realization that the old adage “It’s not what you know, but who you know” stands true, even in baseball. I say this because if my efforts in chasing my childhood dream ultimately fall short, i.e. I do not get drafted and do not get signed by a minor league club, I may have the opportunity to pursue a professional career in Australia. By making as many connections as possible, as early and as often as possible in the field of baseball, the possibilities of catching your childhood dream increase exponentially via your “networked” web.
    If you are an older male, leagues are readily available in the following age groups 25+, 35+, and 45+. These adult leagues are located arbitrarily around each state but tend to be nearer large cities. These leagues provide opportunities to dust off and show off your “ballin’” skills even if you are out of college and are not associated with a professional organization and you still have a burning desire to compete.
    In conclusion, do not let your age become a hindrance to chasing and catching your childhood dream of playing baseball as long as possible. There are many options and routes that one may take in achieving their ultimate goals on the field. Remember, if you have a big enough “Why?” you can find a “How!”