May 27, 2016

In Defense of the Minor Leagues

All week rain and thunderstorms were predicted for Thursday midday but, as expected, the weather gods mocked mediocre-performing weathermen. It was sunny and mild and I was glad I brought my sunscreen for the impending Clippers day game.

I did notice a slight flagging of interest in myself for this opportunity, almost surely linked to the fact that I had to go back to work instead of going home like in previous years when the our workplace generously gave us the afternoon off after a lunchtime game. But no-go on that, so work hung like a slight cloud o'er the atmosphere.

The game was lopsided, with the Buffalo team jumping out to an 8-0 lead over an ancient Clippers toiler by name of Grube, a 34-year old who has seen 2/3rds of an inning of MLB ball.

The first Clippers' mop-up guy was Toru Murata, and I eagerly looked up his record and “story” on my iPhone. It's an amazing thing that you can find information on even the most obscure minor league players.

There was a time I was not interested in minor leaguers considering them “beneath me” (notwithstanding the players are god-like compared to my baseball "skills"). I come from near a big league town, Cincinnati, so I had a tendency to look down on Triple A. But if (as Goethe said) “Christianity gave us a reverence for what is below us,” then who am I to look down on these ball yard orchardists? They may be mediocre compared to the big leaguers but then I'm far more mediocre than they.

So I looked up Murata and came across this, from Baseball Prospectus 2016:
“Toru Murata pitched in such exotic locales as Japan, Panama, Venezuela and Akron before getting called up to make his big-league debut as the 26th man in a doubleheader… at the age of 30. He got hit hard and was DFA’ed immediately, but goddammit now the world knows he lived.”

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