With the minor league season being cancelled for 2020, the MiLB crew here at Talking Chop are not surprised, but we are still sad. Every day during the season, we have recapped every minor league game that has happened for the better part of five years now. Sure, that type of commitment is a grind, but in a lot of ways, baseball is a lot more....empty without having that level of information each day.
As a result, we are in reflective moods and decided to get together for a roundtable discussion on our thoughts on a variety of topics related to minor league baseball. We hope you enjoy them. The first question we posed was “what does no minor league season mean to you?” and everyone’s responses are below. Enjoy!
Eric: My first thoughts were of all of the staff that work at the affiliates. While a lot of them were seasonal employees, they depended on the income that came from minor league baseball actually happening and my heart hurts for them. Other than that, I just feel like there is a void in my days. I am so used to going through a lot of minor leagues coverage/information each and every day and for it to just not be there now...well, it sucks. Covering the minor leagues afforded me opportunities that I never thought would come my way and I have never lost my affection for minor league baseball. We will find things to talk about at the end of the day, but I am not going to pretend that my baseball experience won’t be lessened due to the lack of minor league baseball.
Wayne: The minors are a different beast. It’s a community where everyone you meet — whether it’s an usher, announcers, an AGM, the players or other writers — wants to talk. They want to hear what you think and love to tell you what they think. But that’s what makes it great. Sure, you get to watch some interesting baseball, but it’s the people you meet. Hell, I met Eric and Kris at Rome Braves’ games. I wouldn’t be here typing this right now if it weren’t for Minor League Baseball. Personally, the minors are everything to me. I have had so many opportunities as a sports writer because of starting out covering minor league baseball. Today’s announcement really hurts because of those people I’ve met, there are so many besides players that lost their 2020 season.
Gaurav: Pain. It means pain. I’ve learned so much about the game, met amazing individuals, and learned about the culture of an entire city in just hours. I’ve met some of the most dedicated, hard working individuals that just want to grow the game. I’ve created strong relationships with prospects and watched them grow into incredible major league caliber players. But what’s truly the worst is watching these kids have a year of their development taken away from them and thus one year further away from realizing their dreams. While I do not fault the decision at all, as player and fan health are by far the most important things, it will suck not being able to catch an “education day” special where you witness three top-100 MLB prospects on one field at 11 AM ET with 90 kids in attendance screaming after every pop up.
Aaron: I started to really get into prospects in 2015 with the rebuild. Over the past three years, I’ve been writing about it. I’ve watched some of these guys play in college. I’ve watched them get drafted. You want to keep watching them progress as a player and through the minor leagues. Not being able to see that hurts in so many ways. Who was going jump two or more levels this season? Who were the breakout guys no one saw coming? How many home runs would Backstrom and Ball put up?
Matt: If Gaurav says pain, I’ll say numbness. We don’t get to see the future Braves play. These guys who we’ve gotten to know and enjoy watching play the game the last few years won’t get a chance to play official pro games this year. Sure they’ll get their work in development wise, but these guys want to compete, in games, with their teammates, in front of fans who support them. A full year of their lives was taken from them, and this is more than a game to them- they’ve worked their whole lives to get here and already sacrificed so much to get here(hard work, time away from friends and family, giving up the college experience for some). So while this news was a foregone conclusion for the last 2 months, this official announcement still hurts.
Garrett: The season is just going to be boring to me without it. I love big league baseball but getting to watch players move through different levels and fight for their dreams of making it to the major leagues is a joy and a pleasure every year and it’s a shame we won’t get that opportunity this season. Minor League Baseball has opened the door for a lot of people to do great things and for me it opened the door to getting to know the guys I’m writing with right now and to expand mine and others knowledge of the game and players they may not otherwise hear about. Hopefully we can get things back to normal next season because I’m just not going to have as much fun not getting to do minor league recap and all the other jazz that goes along with minor league baseball.