Aug
16

Investing In The Future

By

Based on the number of questions I get related to the topic in our weekly chats, there’s a ton of people out there interested in minor league economics. I can’t answer those questions, but thankfully Mike Ashmore did in his latest and truly greatest. Speaking with players and execs, Mike hit on everything from how much these guys make to what the Yankees provide for them to housing and healthy food and off-season jobs, the whole nine. It’s a great, great read, and even though it’s long as hell, I give it my absolute highest recommendation. Make sure you check it out.

Categories : Asides, Minors

46 Comments»

  1. Beamish says:

    Caught the Tweet of that article link late last night. Ended up staying up late to read the whole thing. Excellent article.

    I particularly liked the explanation about how the little things a big club can do for its minor-league players: gear bags, shorts, t-shirts, bat subsidies, can make a huge difference in a player’s focus on improving his game over worrying about the color of his t-shirt or if he broke a bat.

    The emphasis (or lack thereof) on nutrition was also a great point. These are kids training as professional athletes and some have to subsist on McDonalds since it is cheap and available on the road.

    • Mike Axisa says:

      I thought the stuff about equipment and playing conditions in general was interesting. If you’re an international free agent with a few teams after you offering similar money, wouldn’t you sign with the team that gave you the greatest accommodations during your 4-5 year minor league career?

      • Coñaso ju pinchy bastard no fitin español translator chinky grabador putamadre not fair no Bay Rufe

        /OzzieGuillen’d

      • Steve O. says:

        I too found it interesting. I really enjoyed the part where George Steinbrenner made it his business to ensure every player is treated with the same respect and accommodations.

        This quote from Richie Robnett really stuck out for me:

        “Other teams, like the Cubs, if you’re in Double-A, you’re a Tennessee Smokie, that’s what you are. If you’re in Double-A with the A’s, you’re a Midland Rockhound, that’s what you are. When you’re in Double-A with the Yankees, you’re a Yankee. You’re not a Trenton Thunder, you’re a Yankee. If you’re in Triple-A, you’re a Yankee. If you’re in A-Ball, you’re a Yankee. That’s what I like. You’re a part of the organization, and they always want to make it known to you that you represent us.”

      • 28 this year says:

        I hear what you’re saying. I just wonder how much this information is known to international free agents. I feel like this information might be known but what everyone hears is the conetract dollar figure, not the other clauses in the contract.

        • I bet a lot of these IFA’s make decisions on how well they think the org they sign with will treat them based on the quality of their facilities in the DR (or in whatever country they live in).

          Teams aren’t just investing in good international scouts, they’re building baseball academies in these Latin American countries. If the Yankees, Pirates, Mariners, and Red Sox have excellent, state-of-the-art facilities and the Mets, Orioles, Cubs, and Giants lag behind, that’s something a 15 year old kid would notice.

          (I’m not saying those specific teams have those issues, just using names as an example of some teams who have done well/poorly in the IFA game recently. I’m not up on the Dominican scene enough to know who’s the best and who’s the worst in terms of facilities.)

        • Ed says:

          I would think the Yankees would do their best to make sure the players know it. Joining the Yankees minor league system comes with the reality that the Yankees major league roster is probably the hardest roster in baseball to earn a spot on. Players know that, and I’m sure a lot choose to sign elsewhere to get an easier path to the majors. Stressing the benefits of being in the Yankee system over another team’s should help win over more players.

  2. Andy In Sunny Daytona says:

    Next time I go to a minor league game, I’m bring the guys a crate of fruit to snack on.

  3. bexarama says:

    I read this last night but I just wanted to second those who are recommending it. Fantastic, fantastic read.

  4. T-Dubs says:

    Read this earlier in the morning. Fantastic. Anyone who loves baseball needs to read this.

  5. T-Dubs says:

    A guy in the comments on the MAshmore posed an interesting question: what would be the economic impact of paying minor leaguers over a full year? And would that entice more medium/high leveraged draft picks to sign, or convince more international free agents to choose the Yankees over their counterparts?

    Assuming that the Yankees were the only team doing it.

    • Chris says:

      I don’t know that it would entice more prospects to sign – typically the only guys you’re signing that have a change to make the majors are draft picks.

      Where I think it could help is in allowing players to train year round. I would think that being able to work out in nice facilities and getting good instruction for those 6 months would put players ahead of the curve.

  6. Speaking with players and execs, Mike hit on everything from how much these guys make to what the Yankees provide for them to housing and healthy food and off-season jobs, the whole nine.

    (fighting the urge to make a “these bums don’t deserve the cushy treatment after that loss” Jersey Johnny joke)

    • Steve O. says:

      (fighting the urge to make a “these bums don’t deserve the cushy treatment after that passionless loss” King of the Troglodytes joke)

  7. I’m determined, when I have the family, money and space to do so, to be a host family for someone.

  8. Wow. Great article. It’s crazy how many of these guys continue to pursue their dreams knowing full well the vast majority of them won’t make it. Kudos to them.

  9. Jorge says:

    Fantastic article. Thanks for sharing, and thanks to Mike Ashmore for taking the time on it.

  10. feasor says:

    The food/dietary stuff just blew me away. It struck me as an anachronism from the 80′s or something, before organic foods were mainstream. The spread? Dear lord, it sounds appalling. Most of these guys don’t have wives to cook for them. I cannot believe the Yanks let these guys eat fast food at all, let alone as subsistence.

    For the huge dollars the Yankees invest in many of these kids, it seems like shelling out a hundred grand per level to get some proper catering would be a sound investment. Or do it at the lowest levels so the players get used to wholesome food and feeling good.

  11. Not Tank the Frank says:

    So basically, use any and all leverage you have to get all the money you possibly can in the draft, because after that you’re not guaranteed to make shit.

  12. j_Yankees says:

    Read it late last night. A great piece. It was pretty long but well worth it.

  13. Steve H says:

    I remember doing a paper in High School about Livan Hernandez and how when he came over he was eating McDonald’s for every meal. It wasn’t even a money thing with him, but he was alone and didn’t speak English. He would literally go to McDonald’s and just point at the menu for what he wanted. It’s amazing sometimes when you hear about how much is invested in paying these guys, but not always in taking care of them. It’s like buying a new car and not worrying about changing the oil.

    • There’s a good scene in “Sugar” like that in which the players all go to Denny’s ’cause of the picture menu. The protagonist goes alone one night, wants to order something different, can’t read it, and says whatever they were having (I think it was french toast) each day. The waitress then brings out a bunch of different stuff and teaches him how to say it.

      Anyway, it’s gotta be scary as fuck to be in a place and not know the language at all. Hell, even knowing a bit of it isn’t enough. I know a good amount of Spanish but if I had to go live in a Spanish speaking country right now, I’d be the loneliest mother fucker on the planet.

      • AndrewYF says:

        Nah, English is a pretty universal language. Most people won’t really be fluent, but there will be enough people who kind of understand it that you won’t be lost. Plus, spanish is a really easy language to learn.

        I went to Italy, and didn’t really know the language at all, and got along just fine. Sure, I got a couple of pitying, or “stupid foreigner” looks, and yeah, I know what most of the food is called already, but it’s not so tough. It’s not like you’re living with animals.

  14. Not Tank the Frank says:

    …players can receive cash and gift cards to local restaurants, most often “On The Border.”

    On The Border is a badass restaurant. Really good Tex/Mex!

  15. This article was a good reminder that those minor leaguers are real people with real problems. We as fans often forget that when we tread them as assets.

    Sure, baseball is a business and all, but we all are often quick to say things like “he is useless” or “I don’t care if he is released”. I know it is directed at the quality of the player or his value as a prospect, but it often feels we don’t pay these guys the respect they deserve.

  16. Januz says:

    This is the line that blew me away. Other teams, like the Cubs, if you’re in Double-A, you’re a Tennessee Smokie, that’s what you are. If you’re in Double-A with the A’s, you’re a Midland Rockhound, that’s what you are. When you’re in Double-A with the Yankees, you’re a Yankee. You’re not a Trenton Thunder, you’re a Yankee. If you’re in Triple-A, you’re a Yankee. If you’re in A-Ball, you’re a Yankee. That’s what I like. You’re a part of the organization, and they always want to make it known to you that you represent us.”
    There is little doubt that players are very aware of how players are treated from top to bottom, and it plays a role as far as securing talent is concerned. This kind of stuff will help the Yankees continue to be successful (Some “Evil Empire”)……….. Cubs……… 100 years of futility and counting.

  17. Mike Ashmore says:

    Thanks for the kind words, guys. Very much so appreciated.

  18. Joey says:

    Awesome read, can honestly say I knew very little about how minor leaguers lived, only that they weren’t payed as well as big leaguers. Man was I off a little

  19. Brian in NH says:

    definitely an awesome read…i had no idea what life was like in the minors outside of watching Bull Durham so i can’t say i knew much of anything

Leave a Reply

You may use <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong> in your comment.

If this is your first time commenting on River Ave. Blues, please review the RAB Commenter Guidelines. Login for commenting features. Register for RAB.