I’m at that age, 33, and at that point in life, (having two school-aged kids), where I am always looking back at my life and the society I used to know, and comparing it to times present. I grew up in the 90’s, with VCR’s, phones with cords, desktop computers that weighed fifty pounds, etc. It was a simpler time. Kids still watched cartoons in their Pj’s on Saturday mornings, and did this thing called “playing” outside. Technological advancements have disintegrated many fond memories of my childhood and adolescence, but one thing that I’m actually glad has entered my life, and that I never truly realized existed back in those days, was minor league baseball.
Growing up a die-hard Mets fan, only the occasional blue-chip prospect would enter my consciousness, and usually not until they were knocking on the door of the big leagues. Before the internet fully developed to what it is now, even the die-hards didn’t really know Jose Reyes and David Wright were coming until they were nearly in Flushing. Nobody really knew, cared or talked about the various rules in the governing Collective Bargaining Agreements that determined how front offices went about building major league rosters. But in this new age of baseball fandom, where millions of fans across the country have insider access to online publications, which provide insight and analysis of the inner workings of decision makers in baseball, MLB has enjoyed a newfound following in all things minor leagues.
After all, if my team is now not operating in their win-now window, back in the 90’s or early 2000’s, the season only consisted of hoping for progress from the 25 man MLB roster. Now, with unprecedented access to the personal stories, differing organizational game plans, and even live video of the numerous minor league affiliates, any fan can start to familiarize themselves with things like, “Where does my team’s farm system rank now?” and “What new names are going to join the fold in this June’s draft?”. Fans can literally start following the top amateur players from before they get drafted, and follow their development through multiple minor league levels, until they finally don the MLB uniform. Just as for any minor leaguer trying to live the dream of playing Major League Baseball for a living, the journey is non-stop for the fan experience as well.
Happy Minor League Opening Day to everyone!