Monday, July 18, 2016

Lamb's Demotion Proves Sticking in the Bigs is Tough


by: Jack Ward
Staff Writer

It’s July 18th and the Reds are 2-1 in the second half. Great pitching on Friday and Sunday. John Lamb was awful on Saturday and got sent down to AAA Louisville. The Reds called up outfielder Kyle Waldrop. I hate that for John Lamb, but in any business if you don’t produce, the business has options. They can put you some place where you can be successful or get rid of you altogether. That’s life. And baseball life can seem to be so cruel sometimes. A player is thrilled to be in the major leagues after such a long hard climb through the minors, and then due to the tremendous pressure to succeed and stay in the big leagues, they just can’t put together any success. It’s the same for a young player either a hitter or pitcher. Sometimes it’s best for them to get a little taste of the big time and then to back to the minors and work on their shortcomings. Hopefully they will eventually make it back to the bright lights, but sadly many never do. Again that’s baseball life.

This just re-emphasizes again and put’s into perspective just how hard it is to get to the big leagues. Just getting there is extremely difficult but staying there is even harder. I used to feel sorry for these journeyman players who went from team to team as bullpen pitchers or utility infielders and then I realized hey, not only are they still major league baseball players, but they are still good enough to stay there and that in any case is extremely difficult. Do you realize how hard it has to be that with every month that comes around there are new prospects waiting to take your job? To hang around the major leagues just ten seasons is very rare indeed.

There have been 18,996 players to play at least one game in major league baseball since 1876. Did you know that approximately 3,700 played only one season? The average career lasts just five seasons. I don’t know how many have played ten seasons. But it can’t be more than 6,000 give or take a few.

Pete Rose who played 23 seasons and in more big league games than anybody, 3,562, said for him it was easier to play in the big leagues than anywhere else. That goes against every rational thought but after he explained it, it made perfect sense. Why did Pete Rose find it easier to hit and play in the majors? The pitchers had better control and threw more strikes. The lighting was better. The umpires were better. The grass was faster and the playing fields were consistent. Teammates were better and could give you great advice. Information about opposing pitchers and hitters was better. The coaching was better therefore practice was better. The equipment was better. Technology was better. The atmosphere was better. The stakes were higher. Yet in spite of all that most ball players in the word fail to make to the majors and most fail to play very long when they get there.

Before 1947 players didn’t have a pension. Now you get a pension and insurance for life at age 62 after just 43 days in the big leagues and you are vested after ONE game! So even if you played just one game in the big leagues you have something to be very excited and happy about the rest of your life and anything after that is just a bonus!

Until next time,

Photo Credit: MLB.com

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