The Glass is Always Full
Let's not be too sad about John Buck

Baseball is a tough business.  It is not a business that your average working man, with a 401(k), a union rep, FMLA and some semblance of job security can relate to.  Other than the owners, press, and peanut vendors, each person who is employed in baseball, including the general manager, his coaches, scouts, trainers, analysts and players, all operate under the same directive:  You live in baseball only so long as you find work, and you work only so long as your labor improves winning at the major league level.  In this place, you have to run as fast as you can just to stay where you are.


Brian Cashman, the General Manager of the New York Yankees, is famous for never hanging any pictures on his wall.  Why?  He has prepared for the inevitable day of his firing from the hottest seat in baseball.  Uneasy lies the head that wears the crown.


All of this is longhand for saying: Players come and go and its a bittersweet part of the business.  Consider Buck's DFA and how it has impacted the  Rick Roll in space-time:

On John Buck's birthday, Jesus Sucre got a call into Manager Daren Brown's office.  He wondered if he was in trouble.  Brown smiled, stood up, shook his hand, and told him that he was being promoted to the Mariners.  Sucre grinned from ear to ear, said something in Spanish, hugged his coach, was congratulated by his cheering team mates, and then got on his cell phone.  He called his wife/girlfriend.  She started crying.  A half hour later, she figured out the difference between his 40 man roster salary of approximately $81,000 and the major league minimum of nearly a half a million dollars.  She has already thought about what she wants to buy with the money.  This call up is the talk of Sucre's town in Venezuela.  His parents are bursting with pride.

Elsewhere, John Hicks got a similar call.  He was going to AAA ball.  With triple A catching experience, he had a chance to make more than $30,000 per year.  He was going to get exposure to players near the major leagues.  Scouts from all over the PCL would see him.  He might get traded.  There could be an injury.  John Hicks is ready.  He was blocked by Zunino, and Montero and Quintero and Sucre but now he had hope.  Maybe this baseball career thing might work out after all.  

Mike Dowd got a primary catcher job in the high minors.  Marcus Littlewood got a job in AA, and so on down the Rick Roll.  This DFA was great news for the 8 people below Humberto Quintero on the depth chart.

At least that is what I think happened, or will happen.  Since reading Larry Stone's story about Vinnie Catricala, I've began to feel sorry for the plight of minor league baseball players.  They have the same problems as major league baseball players, except they are very poor, they ride the bus a lot, and they oftentimes do not have much hope that they will ever get a call up.

 Contrast these guys with Buck, who has had eleven years of glory, and it is probably safe to say that the DFA decision has caused a net gain of happiness.  There could be other benefits for a call up for Sucre (speculative benefits different than the many many benefits SSI has already listed) These include:

  • Maybe it sends a message to everyone in the orgainization that there are no sacred cows.  This might be especially important for instilling hope in minor league players.  If farm players believe that the Mariners' organization is a rigged game or is anything but the strictest meritocracy, then they may be disinclined to do their best,  especially if there are racial overtones.  If a white American players gets a longer leash than a foreigner, it could create division in the organization.
  • Going out on a limb here but maybe there were important Latin pitchers on the team, such as Elias, Medina, and Rodney that don't speak much English and were having trouble communicating with Buck.  Not everyone is as bilingual as Felix and Erasmo are.  Could be wrong about that.  Maybe Buck speaks Spanish very fluently.
  • The team may not have been as sad as Shannon drayer stated it was.  One of Mike Zunino's many, many baseball virtues is that he always says the exact right thing to the press.  He states several times what a good team mate Buck was, but that is what he was supposed to say, according to Article 1 § 3 of the good team mate sport manual.

Another thing.  I'm not emotionally invested in Buck.  His play wasn't making us wax poetic.   You know who I really miss?





The money from a single international signing would move every one of those $30,000 kids up to $50,000, or the MLBPA could simply negotiate that in a snap.  But you get the distinct impression that they're *glad* to see the minor leaguers "pay their dues."  Them having so little sympathy for their fellow (younger) ballplayers, how much can we have for them?
Once you're in the club of 25, the quality of your shower sandals is a matter of grave importance, but until then .... :: sigh ::
Zduriencik is responsible for those not on the 25 also, and we shouldn't under-weight the responsibility he has to them.  No doubt Z's attitude is, "the 25 are always going to be jealous for their own.  I can't worry too much about it."  Well argued, counselor.
The lead pic was better, though.  Is that John Quincy Adams?


It makes you wonder what great ball players the minor leagues would produce if the pay rate were closer to a living wage.  As it is, the guys who are drafted high get a double advantage.  First, they get a long leash, second, they have less financial pressure to leave the sport and go get a real job because they can live off their signing bonuses combined with their salary.


It does depend on where you live, but minor leaguers get 30k or 60k per year depending on service time and roster position (it can go higher). They are not McDonalds poor. I make about what they's a living wage in OK.


I'd post more but I struggle with the whole content thing. I'm not sure how Doc and Spectator crank out 8 posts a week and keep it fresh. That's why I keep coming back.

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