Life of a minor leaguer: “drugs, booze and cheap motels”

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That’s how Australia’s news.com.au describes life for baseball’s minor leaguers to its readers who are, presumably, not terribly familiar with baseball. Thing is, they cite the “drugs, booze and cheap motels” in an effort to paint the life of minor leaguers as a bad thing. Hell, compared to the fact that they’re not paid a living wage and are treated like heads of cattle, the drugs, booze and cheap motels are the best part!

But really, the story isn’t wrong. It’s just kinda funny to read about things we think of as common described by outsiders. Especially when they use phrases like “as foreign as a Frenchman,” which I am TOTALLY gonna steal from this guy and use again sometime soon.

Anyway, prepare yourself for the worst

Booze

Baseball players drink, partly because they don’t always need to be the most athletic specimens in the world of pro sports, but also to pass the time. These guys play up to 160 Games in a season in the Majors or 140 games at minor league level. That’s six games a week for six months. Each night, win or lose, their adrenalin is pumping. A beer or two or seven or eight helps.

No team spirit

Baseball, like cricket, is a team sport that is largely about the sum of individual performances rather than a bunch of guys working together as in the football codes. But it’s off the field that you really feel that lack of spirit, especially at minor league level. Guys in the minors would trample their best mate to get a promotion to the Majors.

Most players in a minor league club barely know each other’s names, let alone hang out together. There are exceptions, but for the most part it is a lonely, selfish mini-universe where the ethos of “one for all, all for one” is as foreign as a Frenchman.

This, right here, is the sport’s secret shame.

Cheap soulless hotels

All those games means a whole bunch of road trips. And road trips mean seedy hotels. At minor league level, a Holiday Inn is like the Hilton. More likely you’ll end up staying in some three star dump on a highway between Crapsville Illinois and Dumpsburg, Arkansas.

I am tired of seeing Crapsville, Illinois dumped on like this. Sure, it was a pretty bad scene in Crapsville 10-15 years ago, but since then they opened up Crapsville Brewery, which makes a great IPA and they turned the old Crapsville Metalworks factory into loft apartments. Really, Crapsville is now like the Brooklyn of the greater Armpit City, Illinois metro area.

Dumpsburg, Arkansas is awful, though. Just a wretched place.

Noah Syndergaard to disabled list due to hand, foot, and mouth disease

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MLB.com’s Anthony DiComo reports that Mets starter Noah Syndergaard will be placed on the 10-day disabled list because he contracted hand, foot, and mouth disease. The ailment is more common in children than adults and is caused by Coxsackievirus A16 or Enterovirus 71. According to James Wagner of the New York Times, it is believed that Syndergaard picked up hand, foot, and mouth disease working at a youth camp during the All-Star break.

Syndergaard, 25, started on Friday. He pitched well but lasted only five innings, throwing 84 pitches, because he had diminished velocity and felt tired. He yielded a run on eight hits with no walks and four strikeouts. It was his second start since returning from a DL stint (strained ligament in right index finger) that kept him out between May 26 and July 12.

The Mets expect Syndergaard to need only the minimum 10 days to recover. Corey Oswalt will temporarily take Syndergaard’s spot in the rotation.

In 13 starts this season, Syndergaard owns a 2.89 ERA with 83 strikeouts and 15 walks in 74 2/3 innings.