Thursday, January 18th, 2018

Minor league survival kit (Part 2)

June 22, 2012 by  
Filed under Misc

My parents said “You will not be ‘friends’ with everyone but you should be ‘friendly’ to everyone.”  That being said, we all know that some friends have a little more value than others.  Below are people every minor league player needs to befriend and why.  I don’t mean to befriend them in a manipulative way either.  Be friendly to everyone in minor-league ball but maybe spend a little more time befriending these people:

People to make friends with



The bus driver

Simple.  He has the wheels and knows where everything is.  Malls, restaurants, bars, etc.  Make friends with this guy and the world on the road is yours.  Ignore this guy and you’re stuck in a one mile radius of any hotel your team stays in.



Front office interns

No, not for the reasons you’re thinking of.  Well, sort of.  They are young and poor like you but they have the benefit of “town knowledge.”  They know the hot spots, who to hang with and more importantly who to avoid.  They also know when your MLB team front-office people are coming to town and what the gossip is.  They’ll hook you up with tickets and many other freebies your team’s front office gets.



The team owner

In small-town, minor league America, this person knows everybody.  They probably own half the town too.  They’ll hook up your parents with a good hotel when they come to visit.  They’ll get you on the best golf courses in the area for free.  In some small towns, getting tight with this person is better than befriending Tony Soprano.



The trainer

This is the guy on every minor league team that knows everything and is usually willing to share it away from the field.  He’s a pipeline into what the coaches and front office people think and do.  He knows the comings and goings of all players before the players know it.  Some players treat the trainer like a second-class citizen and not worth their time.  Big mistake.



Two players with a car

Otherwise you are locked to your house.  Read “bus driver” again.


The kids whose parents own the best restaurant in town

This one’s a no brainer.  Get tight with these kids with autographs and an occasional broken bat and it’s all the spaghetti and meatballs you can eat.


One local police officer

Or his kid(s).  Kind of like an insurance policy away from home.


Your elderly neighbor(s)

If you stay in an apartment, there will undoubtedly be an elderly couple or two in your vicinity.  Get to know them.  Often, they will feel sorry for you and send some meals your way.  Just throw their grandkids an autograph or two in return.  Also, elderly neighbors are the best security system known to man.  When you are on the road, your apartment and everything in it are much safer.



The bat guy

In the lower levels, the trainer often is in charge of the keeping track of and ordering the bats.  A new shipment of bats is like Christmas morning for hitters.  Being friends with the bat guy can help you get tips when the shipment is arriving (you make it a point to get to the park early that day) and/or nudge him to order more of the bat model you like.



The head grounds crew guy

I was a former infielder so the guy who is in charge of smoothing out the bad hops was a guy I wanted to get to know.


The grounds crew’s assistant(s)

And not only for the reason just stated above.  The grounds crew assistant(s) are usually local guys your age.  Local guys your age are generally not too fond of 25 high testosterone, athletic looking guys from all over the country/world coming into their town for the summer.  Their girlfriends tend to get “wondering eye” syndrome if you know what I mean.  Befriending a few local guys your age can’t hurt.  They can put in a good word for you “in times of trouble.”




All Clubbies

Why any player would disrespect or disregard the clubhouse guy is beyond me.  This guy washes your uniform, shines your spikes, sneaks you a hotdog between innings, gives an autographed ball (and your phone number) to that hot one in the second row, and generally takes care of all player needs.  Treat this guy like a king.  You will be repaid accordingly.  Tip and tip well.  He’s also likely to be a local kid and I already explained the advantages to that.


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