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National and Global, United States

Thursday, April 1, 2010

MLB Spring Training: What I Learned After Six Weeks in The Trenches

I'm the third guy from the left in the picture.

Well, after six weeks of working MLB Spring Training in Arizona, I learned a few things and made personal observations about others. I attended numerous games among a variety of good and not so good baseball teams. I worked the Press Box, tickets, bag checks, the stands, the practice fields. Everything I guess, but food service, which I refused to do. I came across mostly wonderful people in the stands; some decent, down-to-earth professional baseball players, some owners, coaches, scouts, tv/radio announcers, media types, players' wives and girlfriends.

Here's what I think I learned:
1) Most baseball players, for some strange reason, drive black Cadillac Escalades.
2) Some baseball players wives/girlfriends need to go to charm school. Or at least, understand the game of baseball. Left field is from 'left' from home plate, NOT "left" from the ladies room in center field. That would be 'right field'. DAH!
3) Some baseball players wives/girlfriends need to understand 'dress code' at ballgames. This ain't the prom. Dress accordingly please.
4) Most baseball players who don't earn a million bucks are decent, friendly people.
5) Some baseball players who earn over a million bucks need to go to charm school with their wives/girlfriends
6) Most baseball players are not much bigger in person, as when you watch them on tv.
7) Press/media people have higher opinions of themselves then the general public does. They also tend to be a bit overweight.
8) Baseball Management types take the game too seriously. It's not brain surgery. They think it is however. And that presents a need for a reality check.
9) Most baseball players willingly sign autographs for young kids. Some ignore them entirely.
10) Spring Training uniforms are really ugly.
11) Some baseball players are really ugly.
12) If you are a baseball player and have a #89 uniform, and your name is not printed on the back of the uniform, you are not going to play in the major leagues this year.
13) If you come out of the club house wearing cleats you will play. If you are wearing sneakers.... you will not.
14) The best players only play 4 or 5 innings. Then they go home. The AAA players play 3 or 4 innings, towards the end of the game.
15) Baseball players don't smile often. Management never smiles. It's a game after all.
16) Star baseball players don't walk from the clubhouse to the field. They are driven in a golf cart.
17) Too many fans have too many baseballs/bats for autographs. I still don't understand fighting to get these autographs. I don't even know the names of most players, let alone having them sign something, like my shirt. Why waste a good shirt?
18) Most star players don't want to show credentials at the entrance gates, and they cannot tell me what their favorite baseball movie is!
19) If you get a message on your phone that the toilets in left field have overflowed, move quickly and decisively to right field.
20) I have a better appreciation for the word "NO" and it's definition. Most people at baseball games do not. And I was there to help them better understand just what "NO" means.

Overall, it was a great experience for me to spend these six weeks in the sunshine in Arizona, watching baseball. I could understand what it meant to so many kids to see players stretching, calisthenics, batting practice, running, jumping...all in the name of the game. And that's really all it is. A bunch of young kids wanting to just play. That's how I'd like to remember it. Not the money, the fame, the fortune. Nope. Just the game...for all it's worth...
Play ball!

Some Thinkers