This comment was posted under MiLB LIFE: A Typical Game Day [Part Two]
Ha, ha! The part about the base running drills made me laugh so hard. I'm actually going to say that to my coach this spring. I'll let you know if he laughs or I wind up running wind sprints. Here are some questions: do you get free equipment and why don't players get to keep their uniform shirts? Does the team let you buy it if you want to? Do you get to pick your number?
Owen, thanks for reading and I appreciate the comment. As far as my feelings about base-running drills go, I'd keep those to yourself- unless you have a hankering for your coach's favorite form of punishment, of course.
As for equipment- I was given a free glove on my first day of Rookie Ball. It was the weirdest thing. I walked into the equipment room, got my uniform, team shorts and shirt, and at the end they asked my position. 'Outfield.' Here you go- they handed me a brand new black glove still in the packaging. I didn't have any say or get to pick- there it was. I looked down at some Wilson model I'd never seen before- for all I know it was a test model. I could barely get my hand into the thing- it now serves as decoration on a shelf in my bedroom. A teammate of mine made the point that they likely gave us these gloves simply so they can say they gave us a glove- I wonder how many actually see any action.
The bat situation is a little better, but not much. The team supplies as many bats as you need- there are stacks and stacks of boxes, filled with bats of different brands and model numbers in the clubhouse equipment room. You would think this would be an ideal situation but Minor League wood is far from top grade and you find yourself limited to whatever bats are in stock at the moment- popular models tend to fly off the shelves. Most guys bite the bullet and order a higher grade bat in bulk, using the freebies for batting practice. This is obviously more expensive than 'free', but if the good wood gets you 10 more points on your batting average it's worth it, right?
Players don't get to keep their jerseys because of the expense as well as the ever-changing nature of minor league rosters. To buy new jerseys after every season would be pricey, and no organization would want to undergo that expense for all six or seven of their minor league affiliates- never mind having to replace a jersey every time someone got moved, release, or traded.
There is one set of uniforms for every team, and that set is to remain together and unchanged until the entire set is updated as a whole- I don't even think you could buy your jersey if you wanted to- to replace one particular jersey and number seems like a pain no team would want to deal with. (I actually inadvertently stole a uniform top once when I was moved up while on a road trip. I totally forgot the jersey was buried in my bag and I headed off to my next team with it in my possession. The team never mentioned the missing uniform, and so of course, neither did I- it is now hanging on the wall in my apartment at home- our little secret.)
You do get to pick your number, to an extent. When you show up on day one, you're asked which number you'd like out of the remaining numbers that have not yet been chosen. If there are veterans returning to a team they may expect the same number they've worn in the past- although I have seen cases where a player has gotten moved up and then sent back down to his old team later in the season and his old number had already been re-assigned, forcing him to wear a different number. Kinda funny to see. Not much emphasis is put on what number you wear, however- at least from what I've seen. Baseball is a sport where people can see your face- in football and hockey, the game is fast and you wear a helmet so your number is your identity. In baseball, you're standin' around and your mug is out there for all to see.
Thanks to Owen for the questions.
Got any questions? Post them in the comment section- or on Facebook or Twitter- and I will address them in a later post.