Monday, January 10, 2011

MiLB LIFE: A Typical Game Day [Part One]

The daily life of a minor leaguer is far from exciting. Over the course of the 140-game season, each player will develop some type of routine that he will hardly modify or stray from during the entire 7-month stretch. Days are repetitive, you lose all grasp of current events in the outside world, and the concept of days of the week or dates becomes a lost cause- you find yourself trapped inside the bubble that is Minor League life.

From time to time you’ll try to mix it up in an effort to keep from going insane- wake up early for a round of golf, switch up your breakfast order, find a new lunch spot- but ultimately you end up back on your old routine. Your old, boring routine.

Here’s a look at a typical Minor Leaguer’s game day:

10:00 AM- Wake up
Wake-up time varies more than any other time on this list. Depending on the player, this 10 o’clock awakening is likely on the early side. The previous night’s bed-time and social activities are directly proportional to every morning’s start time. After working a desk job for five months, I gotta admit I’m looking forward to not having to set an alarm clock every night. (Although you’d be surprised how often kids sleep through 2 PM meetings or 3 PM stretches. Yep, that actually happens.)

10:30 AM- Breakfast

Most guys on the team find a particular breakfast place and stick with it. For me, it was IHOP. Almost every morning- if I was awake and if I didn’t have the great idea of ‘cooking breakfast to save money’ that hits me every few weeks- I would head to the International House of Pancakes with the regular breakfast club. We’d have our regular waitress, sit in our regular booth, and order our regular meals. It was borderline embarrassing how predictable it all was, but hey, it’s the routine.

We’d become friendly with the entire staff within a matter of days and we’d be putting them on the ticket list for free admission to games after about a week. We were there so often that they could tell when we were on a road trip and when our home stands were simply based on breakfast attendance. The food got old, but Cheers was definitely onto something: we all wanted to go where everybody knew our names.

11:30 AM- Downtime
This time window is what will make or break you in terms of your ability to live the Minor League life. For the next three hours, you have nothing to do. Nothing. No commitments, no meetings, no deadlines- you’re a blank canvas. Your ability to fill this time will literally define how you look back on the season- statistics aside, of course. Here are the usual activities for this time frame.

Nap: A classic option. The late nights can be draining and you can never be too rested, right? Ehh, you quickly learn that you can.

Watch a Movie/ Go to the Movies: A great way to pass time with friends. This hobby can get expensive however, so it’s important to find that guy on the team who can download any movie ever made for free on his computer and send it to you in an instant message. These kids are essential to any team.

Surf the Web: Facebook,, checking up on your Alma Mater's season, studying your stats on and calculating how many hits you need over your next 20 at-bats to get back to .300, and any of the other countless time-sucks that can be found in cyberspace are maintstays during these hours.

Grocery Shopping: A combination of boredom, hunger, and bare cupboards results in this 2-hour excursion to Wal-Mart.

Catch up with Family & Friends: I try to call one new person every day and get caught up with everything going on back home. It’s a great way to stay connected and remind the people you're close to of your existence, but repeating the same updates about your own life to a different person on a daily basis gets pretty old- you end up developing certain catch phrases that you end up using in almost every conversation.

Write a Blog: This window of downtime is 90% of the reason behind my starting Minor League University. The other 10% is getting discovered by ESPN and becoming their next TV personality, obviously.

2:30 PM – Lunch
Just like with breakfast, every guy finds one or two lunch spots that they frequent more than others. Due mostly to convenience and financial reasons, plus a certain respect for Jared Fogle, Subway is my sandwich shop of choice. I try to mix up my meats, toppings, and condiments on a regular basis to keep it new and exciting, but usually after a month or so, they all end up tasting the same. I have successfully not “Eaten Fresh” since getting home in September, knowing full well that I’ll come face to face with at least 150 Subway sangies starting in early March.

Check out the rest of a typical day in the Minors- everything from when you arrive at the stadium to when your head hits the pillow later that night- MiLB LIFE: A Typical Game Day [Part Two]

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