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Life in the Minors- Chapter 3: Coming Together

by Julian Atienza
A A

WFUV

Somtimes Getting to Know A Person is as Easy as Riding the Same Bus

For the thirteenth consecutive year, WFUV talks to the members of the Brooklyn Cyclones and the Staten Island Yankees in the Short Season Single-A Penn League about the trials and tribulations of being minor league ballplayers. The long bus rides, the low pay, 76 games in 80 days. This is a look into Life in the Minors: How the Other Half Lives.

This week, Matt's Moro and Rosenfeld look at how players from around the country get to know one another and form a cohesive unit.

Hear Life in the Minors every week on WFUV's One on One, Saturday's at 2:50pm.

The Brooklyn Cyclones with Matt Moro:

The campaign at Short-Season A Ball comes together so quickly, that it seems like the players do not have much time to actually get to know each other beforehand. Playing 76 games in 80 days, the get-to-know-each-other stage has to be done on the fly, but it might not take as long as you might think.

Brooklyn Cyclones manager Rich Donnelly views this stage as the coolest part of minor league baseball, because of the fact that players come together from not just all over the country, but all over the world, and by the end of the season two players who would have never otherwise crossed paths can become friends for life. Before the start of the season, Donnelly said that he believed the guys would come together as a team right away, specifically during the first bus trip.

Now a few weeks into the season, some of the Mini Mets themselves have agreed with their skipper in that the transition is in fact a quick one. Pitcher Seth Lugo believes that he’s been able to get to know all the guys on the team well by now, and that playing baseball every day and striving towards the same goals has expedited that transition. Second Baseman LJ Mazzilli also feels that the transition will be quick, but that he will get to know his teammates even better as the season moves along.  

Playing baseball every day and living together has allowed these players to get acclimated with one another quickly, and they will continue to so so as the season moves along.  They won't have many off days over the next few months, but the constant time together will only help them come together as a team.  The 2013 season is still young, and theser Cyclones will be sure to come together even more when it's all said and done.

 

The Staten Island Yankees with Matt Rosenfeld:

Class-A New York Penn League Baseball is unique. Aside from the hectic 76 game schedule packed into 80 days, the teams are made up of a mix of rookies fresh out of college and high school along with other young, up and coming prospects within the Yankees’ farm system. Immediately following the MLB draft, the 2013 Staten Island Yankees roster came together. Less than 48 hours later, players reported from all over the country to Richmond County Bank Ballpark, some to start their professional careers, some to continue their journey to the top.

Putting a roster together so fast may not seem like much, but these players have just two days to acclimate themselves to their new home, and more importantly their new teammates. How are a group of guys who have never met each other expected to come together as a team so quickly?

It turns out it’s not that hard.

Rookie catcher Kale Sumner came all the way from Hawaii Pacific University, well over 3,000 miles to join his team in the Big Apple. And even though he had only one teammate from the east coast in college, he doesn’t find it too hard to adjust. Although the players are professional ball players, they hardly live a glamorous lifestyle. The long bus rides, nights spent in their hotel homes and squeezing in with the few players that do have cars with them provide many opportunities to come together as a team.

No matter how different their backgrounds are, they’ll always have one thing in common: a passion for baseball. That makes everything much, much easier.

 

Listen to this week's episode below.

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Life in the Minors Chapter 3: Coming Together