WEDNESDAY, FEBRUARY 01, 2012
Life of a minor league baseball player-Part 1
My name is Tony Ross Maddi. I am former career minor league player that played in the Houston Astros organization for 6 years. I also played in Italy professionally for a few years. Many times I have been asked by people outside of professional baseball what it was like to play professional baseball in the minor leagues. I have wanted to write about the life of a minor league baseball player for a long time. The only reason I haven't written about it was because I didn't think anyone would want to read about it. I have realized that some people are very interested in the life of a pro minor league baseball player and I think that I have something interesting to share. I am going to cover a few categories of interest. Pay, work schedule, travel, days off in the minor leagues for part 1. If readers show interest I can go into social life, workout routines, baseball politics, supplements, etc in future articles.
Pay of a minor league baseball player
The pay in the minors usually goes by a set schedule set by each MLB team. For example, a Rookie/first year player will make a certain amount of money. A second year player willl make a little more, so on and so forth. The pay is usually just enough to feed the player and be able to rent an apartment with a few teammates. Nothing high end either. Just enough to eat and get by. If you watch your budget enough then some of the players would be able to send a few bucks home to there Mom or girlfriend. This is just a normal salary contract for all the minor league players during the year. This is separate from a signing bonus that a player might of signed in the year they were drafted or signed as a free agent. The only exception where a player in the minors makes a little more money is if he has been playing over 5 years and has made it to higher levels like Double A or Triple A. The salary schedule goes up by level and years service in the minors. The higher the level and more years service equals more pay but its not even close to a Major League Baseball salary.
Bonus Baby term
The term bonus baby in the minor leagues refers to a minor league player that received a large signing bonus to sign with a particular MLB team. In 2012, Bubba Starling would be called a bonus baby. Its not a bad term to be called a bonus baby. Its good if you live up to the potential and money that was given. It could be perceived as bad if the bonus baby is struggling. It basically just means you got paid a lot to sign.
Minor League Work Schedule
The overrall work schedule for a minor league player is pretty much year round especially if you want to stay in professional baseball for as long as possible. For position players, an off-season conditioning program is pretty much mandatory to stay up with the competition. Working on hitting at least 5 days a week is ideal for a pro baseball player during the off-season. Core training, lifting weights, and working on baseball specific movements is really the only way to improve. The daily work schedule during the season is about 8 hours or more a day. I think this is suprising to most people because I think many people think pro ballplayers show up around 6 pm for 7:15 game. Most of the time players show up around 3 pm for 7:15 pm game. Many times earlier than that to get treatment on various injuries. Most teams do a 4pm or 415 pm stretch, followed by some fundamentals (during early season), batting practice, pitchers run and do bands, and throw bullpens if needed. Most games are 3 hours or more on some occasions. So most of time players don't get out of the baseball complex until around 11pm if they aren't getting worked on in the training room. Some players like to lift weights after games so it might be another 30 minutes to an hour before the last player is gone. This makes for at the very least an 8 hour day. On many occasions its a lot longer than 8 hours.
The travel in the minor leagues varies from league to league. Some leagues have some brutally long road trips. I remember a 16 hour trip from Jackson, Mississippi to Wichita, Kansas in the Texas League. The Florida State League doesn't have terribly long road trips. The Midwest League and New York Penn League wasn't that bad either. I have heard some horror stories from other players playing in different leagues. Most organizations provide meal money for road trips for the players and coaches. I think the average person would think "wow" the players get money to eat out while they travel around the country and play baseball. Yes, its fun playing ball and minor league players are fortunate to be paid to play even if its not a lot. The meal money is very low and basically most minor leaguers diet is fast food. The four food groups for most minor league players is McDonalds, Pizza, Taco Bell, Subway, etc. You get the idea. Some of the bonus babies are eating this food. :) It doesn't make sense for the team to spend so much on signing a player then have them eat a diet of fast food. This happens all the time. It makes me scratch my head.
Days off during the season
Days off during the season average about twice a month. It's okay that the baseball schedule is this way until about July because most guys can handle it. The heat starts setting in during the summer and the temperatures get over 100 degrees. During the middle of July it hits some players. Some players production goes down and they struggle in the last quarter of the season. But its not every player. Some players actually play better in the heat for whatever reason. I peronally liked to play in the early season weather but I grew up playing in a colder state of Missouri. Its a grind for everyone the last 3 or 4 weeks of the season. Playing over a 100 games in a short period of time in the heat. A lot of pitches have been thrown and many swings have been taken during the season. Its survival of the fittest.
I have enjoyed writing about the experience I have had in the minors. I would love to write a lot more but I will see what the interest is before I continue to write about the life of a minor league baseball player. Please give me feedback.
Posted At 05:02 PMby Tony Ross Maddi (Rico Sports, LLC)
1) Great stuff man! I hope you decide to write part 2 and post it up in the internet.
Comment By Jose - February 1, 2012 11:14 PM
2) Ha - one of my Twitter pals posted a blog lceentry about her experience at a minor league game - their game experience was a little more lively because the manager, some players and even some fans were thrown out of the game! Actual quote from her blog: "The scene turned into the manager actually trying to physically attack the umpire/official/whatever. And then the fans started throwing bouncy balls at the players." That might have made your experience a little more exciting. ;) I personally like minor league games, but that's because I'm a little sports obsessed.
Comment By Alya - March 2, 2012 9:40 PM
3) What are the work out routines and supplements?
Comment By Henry - June 8, 2012 11:47 PM
4) I found this very interesting. I would kill to play professional baseball. Please write more!!
Comment By Riley - June 27, 2012 12:57 PM
5) I loved your baseball writing expirience and hope to read the next one. I want to know how you felt about getting released about spending five long years in the minors. Also, want to know how high you went on the baseball level (class A, Double A, Triple A ect). What factors kept you from going to the majors, was it another player in the big, meaning a franchize player,was it lack motivations, injuries, ect. Come on, man you expirienced something that thousands of people around the globe wish they had expierence. Spill the beans Tony cause we are waiting for the next blog. thank you.
Comment By TC - December 18, 2012 9:52 AM
6) Great summary and very informative. Thank you for the information and good luck Tony.
Comment By El Club - January 15, 2013 9:03 AM
7) Really enjoyed your comments... Hope to read more....like...
What is the road of a minor league player that gets released? Do they typically get back to a team or is it a difficult road back?
Comment By Al - March 25, 2013 8:08 PM