Diary of a Summer League Ballplayer
June 23, 2011 9:48 PM   Subscribe

70 games in 75 days in the Northwoods League. Andrew Barna, a varsity baseball player at Davidson College during the school year, is spending the summer playing first base for the Madison Mallards. The Mallards are currently a half game back of the Eau Claire Express in the Northwoods League, a summer developmental league where NCAA athletes play for room, board, the adulation of devoted Upper Midwest fans, and the slim hope of making it to the bigs. (Northwoods alums in the majors include Ian Kinsler (Mallards), Ben Zobrist (Wisconsin Woodchucks), and Juan Pierre (Manitowoc Skunks.) Barna's blog offers a look inside the real life of very-minor-league baseball: The best way to sleep on the team bus. Getting caught picking your nose on the field. Welcome back Jumpy Garcia. Signing your first breast.
posted by escabeche (16 comments total) 6 users marked this as a favorite

 
Signing the man boob. I guess it counts for something.
posted by JohnnyGunn at 10:46 PM on June 23, 2011


If our world was just and good, it would be the scientists who sign breasts.
posted by troll at 10:54 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


As a scientist, I'm OK with athletes signing man boobs.
posted by dirigibleman at 11:49 PM on June 23, 2011 [1 favorite]


Day 1: we won! Day 2: we lost. Day 3: it rained. Day 4: we won! ...
posted by nicwolff at 12:39 AM on June 24, 2011


the writing is really charming and sweet, though
posted by PinkMoose at 12:40 AM on June 24, 2011


Jumpy Garcia (Texas A&M-Corpus Christi) is a fan favorite in Madison 1) because his name is Jumpy and 2) because he drops bombs.
posted by Judith Butlerian Jihad at 2:59 AM on June 24, 2011


Minor league baseball is baseball the way it ought to be, played for the sake of the game. The players may be good, they may be not so good, but none of them are ever just going through the motions.
posted by tommasz at 5:07 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'll bet he looks back on this in 50 years as a wonderful golden time in his life. It sounds pretty great to me right now, actually. And he's got some good photos in there. Even if he doesn't end up in the major (or minor) leagues, this guy will do OK.
posted by Kangaroo at 6:04 AM on June 24, 2011


Minor league baseball is baseball the way it ought to be, played for the sake of the game. The players may be good, they may be not so good, but none of them are ever just going through the motions.

Well, this is true, sort of. but they're not just "going through the motions" out of some Pure Love of the Game. They're auditioning for the Show. They're desperate to make the Show. They're not sleeping on buses and making (almost literally) peanuts just because they really, really love baseball. They're not playing just for the sake of the game; they want to get signed, and to never go back to the minors again.

Major league players aren't just craven money-grubbers. I'm pretty sure that most of them love the game too. If you watch a lot of baseball, you can usually tell who's going through the motions, and those players aren't generally liked by their fans or their managers. Or, I imagine, by their teammates.
posted by rtha at 6:25 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


If our world was just and good, it would be the scientists who sign breasts.

You mean you don't?
posted by atrazine at 6:34 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


I was at a Mallards game last week and saw Barna play. Of course, I didn't know who he was at the time, but he was an impressive player who was obviously loved by the crowd. I'm going again next week with extended family and will be on the lookout for signed man boob.
posted by altopower at 7:08 AM on June 24, 2011


Meant to add in the post that the Mallards are drawing 6,000 fans per home date, which is about as much as an average AAA club gets; pretty good for amateur ball, and evidently a huge thrill for small-college players like Barna. The Duck Pond just underwent a $1.8m renovation, replacing bench seating with stadium seats discarded from Oriole Park at Camden Yards. Also, you can eat chicken-fried bacon on a stick there.
posted by escabeche at 7:52 AM on June 24, 2011 [1 favorite]


chicken-fried bacon on a stick

There really is no limit to the wonders our species can devise.
posted by dirtdirt at 8:31 AM on June 24, 2011


We have a similar (though smaller, I suspect) league that plays in SE Wyoming and NE Colorado.

I felt really bad when I noticed that the kids not only play but are also expected to put on the tarp when it starts raining. They seem to take it in stride though, which is admirable.
posted by elder18 at 9:43 AM on June 24, 2011


OK, when I get home I'm going to a game again. Blogs and bacon-on-a-stick? Sold.
posted by Mngo at 11:47 AM on June 24, 2011


It's called "chicken-fried pigsicle" and you get it at Maynard's Slide-In.
posted by escabeche at 12:45 PM on June 24, 2011


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