Thursday, March 22, 2018

Minor League Baseball Players Deserve Better

It is no secret that most of my favorite baseball players are not superstars. Most of them spent most of their careers in the Minor Leagues. Most of them were on the 2010 Binghamton Mets. Mike Nickeas, Zach Lutz, and Josh Satin are just a few of the players I followed through Binghamton and New Orleans and Buffalo and Las Vegas. In my mind they were superstars, even if they weren't actually top prospects or future MLB stars.

One of the most frustrating parts of growing up is learning all the ways the thing you thought was wonderful and fun and pure is not so wonderful and fun and pure. Minor League Baseball is not exempt from such realizations. I read enough back then to know MiLB life was not glamorous or easy (to say the least) but I didn't realize just how bad it was. It hurts thinking back on some of my most cherished memories and understanding what the people on the field were sacrificing.

The people on Minor League Baseball fields across the country work for less than minimum wage during the season and for absolutely nothing during Spring Training. The people on Minor League Baseball fields live in poverty so Major League Baseball owners can line their own pockets. Those same Major League Baseball owners somehow expect to get peak performance out of people not provided with a living wage for their full-time work. When I made less than minimum wage as a camp counselor and intern I was living at home and it wasn't really necessary for me to be at peak physical fitness. Minor League Baseball players are not teenagers working summer jobs or college students at internships. Minor League Baseball players are professional athletes who are not being provided with the necessary resources for peak productivity.

I wish I knew what I could do to help MiLB players achieve fair wages. (For the record, I also wish interns and really anybody working could make minimum wage.) For now though, I just want to put it out there that MiLB players are awesome. Their families and all of the people rooting for them and supporting them are awesome. It's kind of amazing that anyone chooses to be a baseball player. I know I'm only one person, only one small voice, but I'm incredibly grateful for the MiLB players who I continue to call my favorites and I'm astounded by everything they worked through to play for as long as they did.

Major League Baseball has more than enough money to fairly compensate Minor League Baseball players. It's about time more people joined this fight.

Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Oh For The Love Of David Wright

It is really hard to root for the Mets when ownership uses the face of the franchise as a scapegoat.

Jeff Wilpon did exactly that when he said the INSURANCE POLICY on David Wright's contract was too expensive and one reason why the payroll is so low.

I cannot believe David Wright is being painted as the enemy. The captain. The guy who took a major hometown discount instead of testing the free agent market. The one player who didn't crumble as the team collapsed around him in 2007 and 2008. The forever-Met who is still fighting to play one more season, one more game, one more inning, even though his body has betrayed him in every way possible.

Mets ownership has now essentially joined the chorus of idiots calling for David Wright to retire. Mets ownership wants Wright to call it a career because they could save some cash. It is all but guaranteed that whatever money saved would not be reinvested in the team, but Jeff Wilpon does not care. He wants to pocket as much money as possible, even if it means throwing his franchise player into the trash.

David Wright should retire when he is ready to retire. He has earned the right to fight for his career. It sucks thinking about 2005 and 2006 and how promising his career looked. I can only imagine how I would spiral if it looked like all my dreams were coming to fruition only to have my own body pull them away. I would like to believe I would fight tooth and nail to get back on track. So, it really is not surprising that David wants to play again before he retires. Yeah, he is a professional athlete, but he is also a human being fighting for his career.

The surprising part of this whole situation is that the Wilpons are now holding David Wright's eternal optimism against the team.

I have heard and read about the ways the Wilpons ruin relationships with past players but seeing it play out before my eyes is infuriating and heartbreaking.

David Wright deserves better. Mets fans deserve better.

I'm really just dumbfounded right now. I know this is not the most eloquent collection of thoughts but I had to get this out. I did not want this to pass without adding my flames to the fire.

Monday, January 8, 2018

About Brandon Nimmo

In my last post I basically said I could've talked for hours about Brandon Nimmo but it just wasn't the right time. Well, now it's the right time.

People so often forget one of the most basic facts about baseball -- it is a game. And guess what? Games are supposed to be fun.

Brandon Nimmo seems to remember that baseball is supposed to be fun. He got most of his playing time after the competitive part of the Mets season was over. Yet, he was still very clearly having fun out there. Win or lose he would find a reason to smile while it looked like others were playing out the string. If he made a diving catch or hit a home run, you could feel his excitement and how thrilled he was to be on a Major League Baseball diamond. 

During one September game, on Sunday Night Baseball no less, Nimmo hit two home runs and was beaming as he rounded the bases a second time. It was at that moment I decided Brandon Nimmo would be the reason I watched the rest of the lost season. His pure joy was a welcome reminder of why I spent so much time playing softball as a kid and watching baseball as both a kid and adult. He was once a kid who dreamed about playing in the Major Leagues and now he is one of the lucky few adults whose dream came true.

One of the biggest disappointments in my college experience was finding out how uninterested theatre majors were in actually talking about theatre. We were all in school, working towards our dream careers in a dream industry, but everybody was seemingly too cool to acknowledge the reason we wanted to do any of this in the first place.

So during that trip around the bases, I realized Brandon Nimmo would have been the person who wanted to talk about Broadway. He would have been the person to "fangirl" over the awesome new play or musical. He would be the one to know that we were working on some truly strange plays now because in a year or two or three or seven, we would be creating the shows that made a new generation of kids excited about theatre.

The world needs more people like Brandon Nimmo. The world needs more people who can celebrate reaching a goal or making their dream come true, whether the dream is in sports or literally anything else.

Every single person who has ever liked baseball, be it for a lifetime or just a couple of weeks, should watch Brandon Nimmo play. They should see how happy he is to be doing what he loves. He might remind them why they loved baseball in the first place. He definitely makes it easier to remember this is all for fun.