Wednesday, April 13, 2011

MiLB LIFE: Extended Spring Training



I find myself in Baseball Purgatory. It's not Spring Training. It's not the regular season. It's not even a plane ticket back into the real world job market. Nope, it's Extended Spring Training - and both the length of my stay and my next destination are unknown.

When Spring Training ended last week and team rosters were published, my name was nowhere to be found. As teammates and friends began to pack their bags for greener pastures, I stayed put. I was a man without a team - and Spring Training was far from over.

There were about twenty of us left behind. A few days later, forty more guys who hadn't been invited to Spring Training showed up.

Suddenly, it was day one all over again - the introductions, the meetings, the drills. As my friends prepared for the start of a 140-game season, I was beginning Spring Training all over again.

As discouraging as it is to be in Extended, I do take comfort in a simple phrase that has served as consolation to millions before me: "It could be worse." It's true. I'm healthy, I didn't get released, and I'm living in a city that is far nicer than any town I'd be playing in had I made a roster. It could be worse.


The truth is, I thought I had done everything to make a team during Spring Training. I swung the bat well, I played great defense, and I really believed I had impressed the coaches and earned my spot. Little did I know, nothing would be enough.

I was caught in a numbers game, and I had been slotted for Extended even before I had reported to camp last month. Our organization is simply overloaded at the Outfield position. The team I was playing on all Spring Training broke camp with five outfielders, all of whom were drafted a year or more before me. They're the older guys - they get the first wack at it. If they do well, they'll move up. If they struggle, they'll be on the hunt for a new job.

And me? Well, I wait. I'll stay here in Extended, work every day to get better, and play hard during games with the hope of getting called up.

And if that call doesn't come before early June, well then I'll try my luck as a member of one of our short-season teams. Again.

I'm optimistic, however - something will happen. An injury, a hit streak, a slump, a release - any of these events sets off a domino effect that restructures the rosters of every level.

And knowing the control that other players have on my future, I find myself checking the box scores almost every night. Who's hot? - who's off to a slow start? - who's on the chopping block? - how old is that guy? All of these questions have answers that may affect my career.

But there are 60 guys here in Extended checking those scores every night. We all want out of this holding cell.

Our time here may seem insignificant, but every day is a competition. You can't afford an off-day in Extended. Opportunities are few and far between, but that phone will eventually ring - and when it does, it's up to me to make sure I'm the guy they're asking for.

MiLB LIFE Series
Big League Picture Day

"The Manager Wants to See You"
First Day of Spring Training [Part One]
First Day of Spring Training [Part Two]
Packing for Spring Training
The Dip Police
Do You Have an Agent?
Housing
How Long Until You're in the Bigs?
Being a Senior Sign
Universal Big League Dreams
Explaining My Profession to Non-Baseball Minds
Bus Rides
Wasted Hat Collection
Draft Day
Dealing with Heckling Fans
Clubhouse Rules
Drug Testing
Being the New Guy
Fat Camp
My First Call-Up
A Typical Game Day [Part One]
A Typical Game Day [Part Two]
Being the 'K-Man'
A Taste of the Minor League Off-Season
New Helmets Issued, Players Respond: "Are You Joking?"
The Fines of Kangaroo Court
Kangaroo Court

11 comments:

  1. Scotty, hang in there. Just keep doing what you're doing -- going out there every day and working your ass off. Back home, we're rooting for you. Good guys can finish first.

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  2. I'm sorry that hear that you didn't get picked up immediately but like I always say "everything happens for a reason" and I truly believe it.

    I didn't know that's how a player got on the short season team either. I was wondering where those players came from. Now I know and knowing is half the battle.

    Now, can you get picked up by any team if they find that they need you or are by the team you were drafted by?

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  3. do your best to avoid rooting for guys to fail. negative energy

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  4. thanks for posting again, welcome back, your readers missed you! keep your head up, we are all cheering for you!!!

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  5. who cares! we believe in you! get get em scotty!

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  6. Maybe because you're doing so well you'll be traded to a team that you could move up faster in. Somebody just explained to me that it's better to be drafted by an organization that's not so good because there is more opportunity to move up. Dig in kid. Something is going to happen and you're going to get a shot. Work harder and smarter than anybody else in extended ST. I don't think you'll be going back to short A.

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  7. Best of luck. Sometimes these things happen for a reason - trying to tell us something. Just gotta listen. Keep working hard, so at the end of the day you always know you've given your best.

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  8. Thanks for your honesty throughout this process. We are all pulling for you, keep working hard and great things will happen.

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  9. Scotty, I have no doubt that you will be called up soon. Continue to work hard, stay positive, and be a leader in all drills and workouts. Get an 'A' in effort and the results will take care of itself. Good luck!

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