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Day 196 “You little prick!”

“You have to contact us in advance, we can’t give out Media Passes to just anyone” the guy said this to me from behind the security glass at the Will Call window. He was showing the intern how to handle a situation firmly and with an air of authority.  I had now become annoyed and the young woman had already given me a Media Pass. I could have taken it but it didn’t have my name on it and she looked uncomfortable.  I looked at the guy, gave him my best “whatever you little prick” look and said, “I understand”. I walked away saying, “asshole”, to no one in particular.  I text Roger. He sends me the email from the week before they didn’t respond to. So, back to the Will Call window again to show the “little prick” I had contacted them in advance. His boss sends me to the Administration Offices and I ask for the guy that didn’t respond.  The intern in reception makes a couple of calls, then tells me that ‘my guy’ is busy, but another guy is coming to talk to me.

Sandra, Kiley and Me!
Sandra, Kiley and Me!

This big guy walks out. When I say ‘big’, think “bouncer” big.  “I am Rick Medeiros, Director of Security, what can I help you with”, he says.  “Are you throwing me out of here?” I asked, kinda nervous now. My “I am the Baseball Buddha” arrogance was fading fast. Rick was disarmingly polite and he explained that I can’t get a Media Pass even though I requested one in time.  He explained there was not enough time to look into my website, and further stated, “You can’t be too careful now-a-days.”  Rick tells me that he would get me a ticket; and, if I need access to anything to let him know when I am at the game. I felt it was a win. Rick made me feel welcome. “Pick the ticket up at Will Call, should be there by 4:30.” It is 2:30 p.m. and I now have two hours to kill.  I like to write in the Press Box before the games; but, today I can’t. I see a Mobile Blood Center in the Paw Sox parking lot, so I decide to donate some blood.

Kiley's first pitch!
Kiley’s first pitch!

“Do you know what a Bubbler is?” asks the nurse as she pricks my finger to test my blood. I look at her with a “Of course I know what a bubbler is” expression. “I do”, I said, “I am from Wisconsin”… We had been talking about Rhode Islandism’s, I figured she was switching to Wisconsinism’s.  “It is a water fountain” I said proudly. “YES”, she exclaims and smiles broadly. I was confused as she was. I told her in Wisconsin we call it that. She said, “In Rhode Island, that’s what we call it.” She tells everyone on the bus when they are sticking me with the needle and taking my blood.  Everyone feels good about being from Rhode Island and Wisconsin; now, we are connected in a very small way.

The door opens and a couple of ladies walk in with four kids. One kid says he doesn’t like seeing blood. I tell him, “It isn’t that bad.” His Mom tells me about his sister Kiley, who she is holding, who has Leukemia. The Blood Drive is in Kiley’s honor. My demeanor changes. Kiley, her mom, Sandra and I take a selfie.  Kiley is three years old and she is throwing out the first pitch at the game. I instantly think of my daughter Sami. I try to imagine what Kiley’s family has gone through.  I ask Sandra if I can talk to her when the game starts and she agrees.  ALS, Cerebral Palsy and now Leukemia I think after they leave, I am getting an education.

Autographs seekers!
Autographs seekers!

I walk around the stadium after I pick up my ticket. I don’t want to like this venue; but, I am open to liking it after I spoke to Rick.  I think of Kiley, and think to myself, “Get your ego in check. You are living a charmed life at the moment”.  I see smiles on peoples faces, the place is filling up. The Paw Sox are a big part of the community and the ushers are very pleasant .  The stadium is old but remodeled and I really like what they have done. People are hanging things over the railing into the dugouts for players to sign. I must admit, I have never seen that before. But, what a great tradition.  I read about the history of the place, the longest game ever played happened here in 1981. I let go of the minor blow to the ego and the sternness of the “little prick”.

Kiley's family!
Kiley’s family!

I sent a text to Sandra as I watch Kiley throw out the first pitch. Sandra texts me back and go to meet up with her, and her family, sitting under the Press Box behind home plate.  She tells me how traumatic it is to hear your child has Leukemia. She wants to fix it, but doesn’t know how. Friends ask what they can do for Kiley who needs tons of blood products. Therefore, the many blood drives in Kiley’s honor. Sandra is smiling and she tells me about how the Paw Sox have a night when families can camp in the outfield. The movie “Angels in the Outfield” is shown on the big screen, and all one sees is a “sea of tents” and “they have coffee waiting in the morning”, she tells me. All for free.  I concede to myself that it was all me and my arrogance, my first impression was wrong.  I thank Sandra for sharing her stories. She tells me, “Kiley will survive. All of the Leukemia is gone; but, she still has another year of preventive treatment.”  I think of Mike, my brother-in-law, and thank him in my head. He has donated every eight weeks for decades.

Vinny and Keith!
Vinny and Keith!

I walk around the entire park I talk to Vinny and Keith Morris, who grew up across the street from McCoy Stadium. The two of them tell me stories about being a kid and playing ball in the parking lot and in the streets. They used to collect practice home run balls. If you turned them in you could get a ticket for that night’s game. They spent their entire childhood here.  The place has history and I want to come back sometime. I am glad I was wrong. Thank you Pawtucket Red Sox, you were a lot more forgiving than I was initially. You have a great stadium, wonderful history and beautiful fans. Baseball is happiness…

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Day 195 “Contemplating…”

My eye lids feel heavy, my mind is not structuring my thoughts consistently.  My body is telling me to sleep, “for a week” it shouts, I am not listening.  I focus on tonight’s game, keep the streak going, the clouds are gray, better not rain and the thought repeats.  I want to go for a massage but I will probably just fall asleep and not enjoy it.  My coffee tastes especially good, but it is not clearing the fog.

I drove by Sandy Hook, thoughts of my daughter and hoping she is doing well. I broke the law and text her, “I love you sweetie!” – Sometimes you need to be a rebel.  I was listening to “Everything I Own” by Bread and a tear rolled down my cheek, life is short, they grow up too fast.

The journey is ending, I am going to miss being everywhere, the comfort of the National anthem, “Take me out to the ball game” and the noise of the crowd.  I would do it again I think…

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Day 194 “Can we switch chairs?”

Chris Cotes, Official Scorekeeper of the Connecticut Tigers
Chris Cotes, Official Scorekeeper of the Connecticut Tigers

“Can we switch chairs?”, I looked at the guy asking the question. He looked at me kinda of annoyed (at least, that is how I saw it). I looked at him up and down and processed what he was saying, I said “Excuse me.” He repeated himself, “the chair, can we switch”, he stood looking at me. He had a can of Pepsi and a bag of Ruffles Original potato chips.  It finally registered why he was asking. He was short and he needed the extra height of the chair I had; besides that, he was the official scorekeeper of the Connecticut Tigers.

“I have cerebral palsy on my right side” Chris tells me, “It is a slight physical disability for me.  Its not… it didn’t affect my intelligence, some people have mental capacity difficulties.”  Chris explained all of this before I had a chance to ask. I am sure he sees people’s questioning expressions. I explain to him what I am doing and asked if it is okay to talk while he is focused on the game. He didn’t have a problem with my request. He immediately sets up his area, you could tell that he has done this before. He positions his computer, phone, score book, Pepsi and chips where he wants them.  He makes a couple of calls and fills out his book.

Chris tells me about all the players that came through when the team was the Double-A affiliate of the Giants and Yankees. He told me that he keeps all the score books from previous years and once in awhile he will go through it to see who has made it to “The Show”.  Dustin Pedroia and Coco Crisp come to mind quickly; but, he said that when he saw them he couldn’t tell if they were something special. He smiles and says, “Lots of players come through, hard to remember them all.” There have been nights that Chris has gone home from a game and when asked who won, he has had to consult his score book. “I stay very in the moment”, he said with a smile, his job is to get the play scored correctly.

“I have always loved baseball,” Chris volunteers. I ask if it was frustrating growing up and having a passion for a game that was physically difficult for him to play. He admitted that it was; but, he found some acceptance when in high school. The baseball coach asked if he would do the score keeping for the J.V. baseball team and this made him feel part of the team.  He attended Eastern Connecticut University where he got a degree in Computer Science. Even though, he continued to keep score for the college and during the summer. He worked with a college summer baseball team to create their website in the New England Collegiate Baseball League. He was asked to fill in for the scorekeeper at a Norwich Navigators game in 2001 and he has been doing it ever since. The team has changed MLB affiliations, play levels and names; but, Chris has remained for 13 years.

Coaches call once-in-awhile to ask to change how he scored specific plays which he has 24 hours to change them. Normally he doesn’t unless a coach has compelling evidence; or, he didn’t have a great view.  He has to call the MiLB offices in New York every half inning to report, I recorded one of the calls and it went like this:

“Chris in Connecticut, Meyers line drive triple to left field, ah left center, fielded by the centerfielder. Monge sac fly to right, Meyers scores.  Moore line drive single to center.  Suarez grounded out to 3rd, 5-3, Moore goes to 3rd, yep from 1st to 3rd.  Yep it was a hit and run, he was starting to go on the pitch, since no one was covering 3rd he went over to 3rd and Hudson grounded out to 2nd, 4-3.  Okay, Thank you.”

As I sit and watch the game, Chris repeats this type of conversation through out. He explains, “Most levels are connected directly into the computers in New York and there is no need to call but since this is the Short Season Class A, they won’t be switched over to that for a few more years.”

It seems that everyone in baseball has a dream of getting to the next level, whether it is a player, grounds crew member or the official score keeper and Chris is no different. He told me he would love to score a Red Sox game, his favorite team.  If Pawtucket, or another higher level team, doesn’t come calling; Chris says, “I’m fine where I’m at and will continue to score the Tigers games as long as they will have me.”

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014″, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get

 

 

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Day 192 “Baseball and Happiness”

New Hampshire Fisher Cats!
New Hampshire Fisher Cats!

I’m sitting in another Press Box after driving two hours last night after the game in Delaware; and, driving 4 1/2 hours today. I am extremely happy to report that I have a short drive tomorrow, less than an hour I think!  I need to do my laundry and, also, I can sleep in and not be rushed to get moving.  I am still hitting the wall with my concentrated effort to write. The MLB season will be ending in exactly one month and it’s hard for me to believe that the season is almost over. I have scheduled games through the end of the season.  Obviously the last month will be all MLB games since the Minor League baseball season ends at the beginning of September. The Minor Leagues will have their playoffs and then you begin to hear about all the September call-ups to the Majors. To make the schedule work, I will occasionally be doubling up on games in the different cities. This gives me time to rest between long drives and helps me avoid hitting the “wall” every other day.

April28th 1075

I am happy to report that I am not at all sick of going to baseball games; or, baseball in general.  There is just something that I thoroughly enjoy about being at the ball park. I could use about three days of sleep when the season ends, getting back to Badger CrossFit to get back into shape; and, then start this all over again.  I would love to put a website together that had short video vignettes of the little things that get overlooked at the ball parks. Tonight, I’m at the New Hampshire Fisher Cat game and they have a dog name Ollie that retrieves the bats of the players. I Tweeted a newspaper article out about him.  There are so many great ‘behind the scenes’ stories I have collected that I haven’t had time to write up that could be added to the site.  You are probably wondering why I am bringing this up and why I didn’t do all this? Well, being on the road and at a game every day, you just run out of time.  I had a lot of ambition when this first started this trek; but, realized quickly that time is at a premium.  I have had others reach out to me; so, maybe something will come of those ideas when the season is over. I know that going to a game in all 48 continental states, the 30 MLB parks and a game a day was ambitious.  However, that was always my goal. I am very excited that I will be accomplishing one set goal in the next few days.  Next year I could see it being more business like, taking more time to write up stories and producing cool two minute video spots. After looking over this past spring and summer, I would continue to travel around the states; but, not a game a day. I would stay in an area longer, reporting with a small syndicated column; but, keeping it authentic.  Yeah, yeah I will need to get some sponsors and money. Even though, if you don’t start dreaming and formulating ideas then nothing happens later.

That is all for today, I just finished doing a radio interview. I feel very comfortable talking on ‘live’ radio now compared to earlier in my journey. I have found my ‘comfort zone’ in telling the overall story. I figured out want needs to be said and what doesn’t, and in my writing, too.  This trip has evolved as have I.  I have learned a lot about myself and gained a lot of confidence in many things. I have learned when you have a passion for something, getting up in the morning is a lot easier. My biggest realization that I have learned is that ‘I am the only one’ responsible for my happiness. And, I find a lot of happiness in baseball.

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Day 191″Delaware”

I am in Delaware!  Only game that I will be attending in the State of Delaware.  I am extremely tired and hitting another wall. I want to write and have some great stories in mind; but, I just can’t get them on ‘paper’. I start, then lose my train of thought. It is what it is. I will turn it around; but, just not today.  I have been driving a lot and that isn’t going to change too much.  I was able to get my schedule completed through the end of the MLB season and will be able to get to a game every day!  Plus, I worked in some wiggle room if I need to change it up a little bit.  I was excited that it is working out. There is still one month left and then the playoffs!

I just finished watching the Potomac Nationals beat the Wilmington Blue Rocks, 3-1. I “Geeked the Game”, I haven’t done that in a long time. I needed to pay attention.  I have a 6 1/2 hour drive to Manchester, New Hampshire now.  I hope I can get a few hours behind me tonight so the drive is not so bad in the morning. I have to drive past New York City and over the George Washington Bridge, that always seems busy, doesn’t matter the time of day. So, my goal tonight will be getting into Connecticut.  Thanks for paying attention. I hope to find some energy tomorrow.

 

 

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Day 190 “Lou Gehrig’s Disease”

I am sitting in the Press Box at Dodd Stadium in Norwich, Connecticut.  Attending the Connecticut Tigers game they are taking on the Lowell Spinners.  I drove over from Williamsport, Pennsylvania today about a 6 hour drive.  I had a great weekend attending the Little League World Series, I recommend that all true baseball enthusiasts get to Williamsport at least once.  Little League has been able to keep the experience as authentic as possible.  I also attended the championship game of the American Legion World Series on Tuesday of last week in Shelby, North Carolina.  Mike Douglass a friend from Ashland met me in Shleby.  We hadn’t seen each other in at least 25 plus years.  We had a great time, we did the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, watched a game that was pretty much over before it even started.  New Jersey beat Michigan 18-0.  That didn’t matter as much as seeing Mike and reminiscing about years gone by, catching up on family members and reminding each other of idiotic things we had done!

Me and Mike! Oredocker Nation!

People have been criticizing the Ice Bucket Challenge, that is bound to happen when things go viral, it has raised a lot of money for ALS also known as Lou Gehrig’s Disease.  I personally have been taken to task on some issues regarding why people are doing it, I was presented with statistics on how many people are affected by it and that money raised would be better off going to other causes since not very many people per 100,000 are affected.  I understand the frustrations, I do but to have a rational discussion about an emotional issue is tough.  Someone did actually say to me that the Ice Bucket Challenge has only become “trendy” because a couple of baseball players have it.  I hope that the criticisms calm down, I know people think some are doing the challenge for narcissistic reasons, so be it, it brings attention to this devastating disease, others say why can’t people just donate, I hope people will and continue to do so.  If people choose not to do it for religious or ethical reasons I respect that and I hope people don’t frown upon these people.

Please watch Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech, if after you are not moved to donate to ALS, please donate to a cause of your choosing and remember, I am very patient when roads are closed while you run your 5K’s…  Please be patient with people participating in the Ice Bucket Challenge.

Donate Here!

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Days 186, 187, 188, 189 “Lost Days and Pictures…”

A Little League welcome!
A Little League welcome!

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I think I lost a few days on this trip, seriously!  I blogged about day 185 yesterday, however today is Day 190 of this trip and I should be talking about today, tomorrow when it is Day 191, do you follow.  Anyway, I had a great day today, I only had to drive an hour to Williamsport from the Rest Area I made it to after I left New Jersey.

I am extremely tired however, it was a long day walking around the Little League complex, there was over 20,000 fans at the two games.  I took a lot of pictures and a couple of videos, I think I will post pictures and a video and call it a day.  I changed my schedule for tomorrow so I can stay another day in Williamsport.

I am also going to post a few videos.  Thanks for your understanding, the videos are pretty cool so take the time to watch both of them that are on the bottom of the page.

llpledge

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Day 185 “Grounds Crew Buddha!”

Helping with the tarp!
Helping with the tarp!

So, here I am again sitting in a Press Box.  This time I am in Lakewood, New Jersey on the Jersey Shore.  It took me about nine hours from Princeton, West Virginia.  I was so happy that they got the game in last night. I even helped getting the tarp off the field. That experience gave me more of a perspective of those that handle the tarp.  Not as light and ‘fluffy’ as it may look. I was suppose to be at an Independent Pro game in Montclair, New Jersey; but, decided to go to Trenton instead since it was closer.  When I showed up in Trenton, I realized that I looked at the schedule wrong so I needed to find a game and “here I am.” Very grateful the Director of Media and Public Relations for the Blueclaws was gracious and issued me a pass.  Thanks Greg Giombarrese!  I am very impressed with the experience in Lakewood. The team is a Low-A team. Even though, they are drawing over 6,000 fans. Besides that, they are in last place and are still drawing well!

Jersey Shore!
Jersey Shore!

I will be heading over to Williamsport, Pennsylvania, for the Little League World Series tomorrow and very excited to experience that environment. I was relieved to find out the drive was ‘only’ about a four hours. I have been driving a lot and have a couple of long days coming up. The end of the Minor League season will be here soon, like September 1. I need to get to a few more states to complete my goal of attending a game in all 48 States in the ‘Continental U.S.’ I will need a lot of luck to continue attending a game a day through the end of the season. I have seven MLB stadiums to get to and don’t feel that will be an issue. The playoffs are going to be interesting.  I will be drawing on all my connections to complete this journey.  I am starting to think long and hard about what I need to do when the season ends.  I will need to get an apartment, some kind of job to sustain me in my future. I have gotten so used to driving all over it will be interesting to see how long it will take me to adjust to a stationary life.

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014″, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get

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Day 184 “Rain Delay…”

bbpicToday has been very adventurous!  I drove five hours to Charleston, West Virginia, starting about an hour outside of Richmond, Virginia.  The game I had on the schedule was the West Virginia Power vs the Lakewood Blueclaws.  I needed this day to go right since this is the only day that I am scheduled to be in West Virginia this entire trip.  I needed to get a game in so I can hit all 48 continental states. When I arrived in Charleston, it was raining. I was paying attention most of the day and I was worried.  I drove up mountains in driving rain and it was nerve wracking, I got to Charleston about 3 p.m.. I looked at the forecast and realized it was getting worse. So, I made the decision to back track 100 miles to Princeton, WV, where the Princeton Rays were playing the Greeneville Astros. There was a 30% chance of rain according to my weather app. I cringed since I have to be in New Jersey tomorrow for a game; and now, that extends my drive time to almost ten hours.

Game started at 8:30 but I was happy!
Game started at 8:30 but I was happy!

The weather was terrible and driving down the mountains was scary with semi’s were flying by and I could barely see the car in front of me.  About 20 miles outside of Princeton the rain let up, I was relieved.  When I got to the Princeton baseball field, the storms clouds came in and it started raining! I felt like it was following me. I talked to the GM and he said it was “iffy” that the game was going to be played.  It was still early, so as it rained I checked on another minor league team which plays 12 miles down the road from Princeton. I had another option, the Bluefield Blue Jays were playing the Kingsport Mets. I checked Charleston and the game there was postponed. I spoke with a lady that worked for the Princeton team and she said that she talked to the Heads Grounds Keeper and he told her that he was leaning towards postponing since he didn’t have enough interns to take the tarp off the field. I was disappointed, the rain was letting up.  I decided to drive the 12 miles to Bluefield. I gave the lady my number and asked her to text me if anything changed.  As I drove to Bluefield, up yet another mountain, the rains came down harder. I drove around Bluefield and realized that my streak was going to end because the rain was steady and I didn’t see a break in the clouds. Then, I got a text letting me know the game in Princeton was going to be played. Thankfully, the Astros had too many postponements and couldn’t handle another.

Obviously, I was relieved and I drove back to Princeton.  They needed help taking the tarp off the field and asked a college team that was in attendance to help. And, I graciously volunteered!  Needless to say I am a bit tired, so this is all I am going to write today!

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Day 183 “Things that interest me…”

My view from the Press Box!
My view from the Press Box!

I am sitting in the Press Box at “The Diamond” in Richmond, Virginia.  I am watching the Richmond Flying Squirrels play the New Britain Rock Cats.  This is a Minor League Double-A game of the Eastern League.  Richmond is affiliated with the San Francisco Giants, New Britain is affiliated with the Minnesota Twins.

There are currently three leagues at the Double-A level of baseball.  The Eastern League, Southern League and the Texas League. The majority of teams put their top talent here. If you were like me, you would think that the Triple-A level would get the top talent but the thought process is the top prospects are assigned here to play against each other, rather than veterans of the minor and major league that are usually at Triple-A.  Triple-A is a tough league because there are many guys with Big League experience and others who have just been in the game for a long time. Triple-A usually has more up and down moves to the Major Leagues, meaning it has a lot of “filler” type players for the MLB rosters rather than pure everyday talent.

Double-A baseball players are the most talented, which equates to, also, being the most consistently compared to the players at the lower levels. This is a big deal because you can be a great baseball player; but, if you can never find a groove and be consistent, then you will never make it out of Rookie, or A-ball. Double-A is also a step below the Major Leagues in the sense that most up and coming players will get called up from Double-A. These tend to be more impact players. A lot of foreign professionals start at Double-A since it is expected that they will be at the MLB level before the end of the season. Their salaries are higher than most of the other prospects.  So, if you want to know who are going to be the everyday players for your favorite MLB team in about three years, take a look at their current starting lineup of their Double-A team. Chances are you will see two or three that are good bets!

The above information gave you an overview of some of the thought process that goes into what players get assigned to the Double-A level. I find this stuff interesting and have often wondered what minor league players get paid.  The only time in my life that I really knew what I wanted to be when I grew up was when I was a kid. I dreamed of one day being a professional baseball player.  That dream died in high school when my extreme lack of baseball talent was exposed.  I was probably lucky that the dreamed died then since when you examine the below information you realize that most receive poverty level, or below, pay.

Here is a chart on what players make per level:

Level 1st Year 2nd Year 3rd Year
Rookie $1150 $1200 $1250
Short Season A $1150 $1200 $1250
Low A $1300 $1350 $1400
High A $1500 $1550 $1600
Double A $1700 $1800 $1900
Triple A $2150 $2400 $2700

The incentives include:  $500 bonus after 60 days in Double-A time, $1000 bonus after 60 days Triple-A time, $5000 bonus after 60 days Big League time.  All minor league players receive $20 meal money per day that the team is away from home. Not including the off season.

Minor League Baseball Players do not get paid during Spring Training. They only receive $20 for every meal the team doesn’t provide. Some teams provide all meals which means the players get paid nothing, while some teams don’t provide dinner.

Therefore those players would get $140 a week for meal money. There aren’t many other things to consider when determining how much money Minor League Baseball Players make / get paid besides the signing bonus. But that is just a one time payment and varies very much depending on where a player was drafted.

“Most earn between $3,000 and $7,500 for a five-month season. As a point of comparison, fast food workers typically earn between $15,000 and $18,000 a year, or about two or three times what minor league players make. Some minor leaguers, particularly those with families, hold other jobs during the offseason and occasionally during the season. While the minimum salary in Major League Baseball is $500,000, many minor league players earn less than the federal poverty level, which is $11,490 for a single person and $23,550 for a family of four….” (http://ftw.usatoday.com/2014/03/minor-leaguers-working-poor-lawsuit-mlb-bud-selig)

If you wanted to know what teams were in the different Double A leagues:

The following are the teams in the Eastern League, the MLB team they are affiliated with  are in brackets: Akron RubberDucks (CLE), Altoona Curve (PIT), Binghampton Mets (NYM), Bowie BaySox (BAL), Erie Seawolves (DET), Harrisburg Senators (WAS), New Britain Rock Cats (MIN), New Hampshire Fisher Cats (TOR), Portland Sea Dogs (BOS), Reading Fightin Phils (PHI), Trenton Thunder (NYY), Richmond Flying Squirrels (SF).

The following are the teams in the Southern League, the MLB team they are affiliated with  are in brackets: Tennessee Smokies (CHC), Birmingham Barons (CWS), Chattanooga Lookouts (LAD), Huntsville Stars (MIL), Jackson Generals (SEA), Mobile BayBears (ARI), Jacksonville Suns (MIA), Mississippi Braves (ATL), Montgomery Biscuits (TB), Pensacola Blue Wahoos (CIN).

The following are the teams in the Texas League, the MLB team they are affiliated with  are in brackets: Arkansas Travelers (LAA), NW Arkansas Naturals (KC), Springfield Cardinals (STL), Tulsa Drillers (COL), Frisco Rough Riders (TEX), Corpus Christi Hooks (HOU), San Antonio Missions (SD), Midland Rock Hounds (OAK).

If you enjoy this story and you would like to help me complete the “Baseball in America Tour 2014″, which is roughly 265 days, please click on the following link to see how you can help at www.baseballbuddha.com. Follow me on Twitter and like my Facebook page! Please share this on your Facebook page and Twitter. I appreciate all the help I can get!