The True Journeymen of Baseball
- Updated: March 16, 2017
When a ball player gets drafted out of high school or college, it is one of the greatest achievements of his life as he embarks on a journey that will take him to places he only dreamed of. Part of those dreams are envisioning finally reaching the ultimate plateau in the game of baseball and that is the major leagues.
Along the way he is told by the organization how well he has developed and how he is in their plans for the future. So the young man continues on his journey working hard at his craft with the dream still alive. He is also willing to endure the long hot days in the sun, the ongoing practices, the long bus rides, and low salaries just to continue reaching towards his goals. At the end of each season the organization informs him of a job well done and rewards him with a promotion to the next level. For some it may not be that easy, but they all continue on.
Then as the player looks back on his career, and three to four years have gone by, but he understands that there is a bigger prize. So he continues on, putting his head back down and goes back working towards his dream. Then either a call comes from the front office, or a letter in the mail, that he has been invited to big league camp and that he has been given the opportunity to finally show the big league coaches all that he has learned and all the hard work he has put in.
When the day finally arrives, he is at big league camp and he looks around the room and sees all the guys he has watched on TV and others just like him hoping for a true opportunity.
As that first spring season comes to a close, he has shown the organization that they made a great signing, so they promote him to the next level and each season is the same; pats on the back, promises of what’s to come and more future invites to big league camp. But after each camp or at times before camp is even over, it’s the same old story. He is told that he has continued to get better and receives a thank you for the work he has put in, but that is it. Nothing more is said and he returns to the farm system and continues on his journey.
Adversity and hard work are what keeps the dream alive.
At this point in his career, he is seven years with the same organization and he has not reached any higher than the highest level in the system, but he is continuously told that he is a valuable asset to the organization and that he has done a great job in his development, but there still isn’t an opportunity for him to be called up to the big league squad.
So he sits alone in his room, or the dugout or even the clubhouse and looks back on a career that either started at 18 years old or possibly even at 21. He realizes that he has put his heart and soul into one organization and all he has to show for it are broken promises and questions in his head, Does he still want to pursue the journey? Is there is even a true opportunity to be had? He knows he has proven time after time that he has the stuff to play with the big boys, but to no avail, as he still sits there pondering his next step.
This is reality of the ball players that are not the top prospects, are not the guys everyone is talking about, but they are the guys that have given everything to the organization, only to have their dreams put on hold for the business side of baseball.
What is next for them? They keep their heads held high, they play their hearts out and they only hope that someone else is noticing and will give them a true opportunity without the false promises.
Minor league season is soon to begin, so when you’re out there rooting for these great and talented young men, just remember that they are putting their heart and soul into the game without the knowledge of where the future will take them. Yet, the love of the game keeps them moving forward on their journey.
Today I stand and applaud them, because they are the ones that make this game so great to watch and love.
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