MiLB Life Chat: Sept. 21

I along with fellow MiLB sports reporters Jessica Quiroli, for Minor League Ball and High Heels On The Field, and Stephanie Metzger, for The Morning Journal, had a Twitter chat talking about life in the minors as well as players we’ve seen this season. Here is a transcript from today’s chat and what we talked about.

 

Q1: What was your earliest experience covering/working in the minors like?

Wright: First experience was as a media relations intern in Frisco. Definitely ran into some challenges. Biggest ones were getting access for interviews and being treated as an equal.

Metzger: I started covering MiLB for Indians Baseball Insider in 2012. As a college kid, it was definitely an eye-opening experience.

Quiroli: I covered a R-Phils game and it was like a movie: guys in press box ignored me and manager thought I was just some chick in the dugout. I just kept acting like I belonged. I kept my sense of humor about attitudes towards me and that helped. I was surprised anyone questioned access but I often didn’t speak up. Now I confront it straight on.

Wright: I kept my head down and worked hard. Having experience as a softball umpire gave me thick skin.

Metzger: I did the same. I knew I belonged and I knew I could hang with the boys. Though there were still challenges.

 

Q2: For girls aspiring to this, what helped you in the tough moments in the lions’ den: the clubhouse?

Wright: For me, it was staying professional but keeping a sense of humor. Don’t take heart to the negative comments. Just work hard and let that do the talking for you. Eventually, they learn you are there to do a job and will stop. Just takes time.

Metzger: Exactly. Act like you belong and eventually you will. For me, it was as simple as keeping my cool. Ignore the remarks and snickers and learn to laugh ’em off later.

Quiroli: Being prepared before going in the clubhouse helped: knowing player I needed to talk to, basic idea of Q’s, connecting with manager. Now, I walk in the clubhouse and I don’t care. My confidence and comfort grew by, as baseball players say, getting reps. Ignoring sexual or rude comments is important. Players opinion of me (us) doesn’t matter. When girls ask me what they can do to be taken more seriously, I say ‘Nothing.’ Work hard. That’s it.

Wright: Reacting makes it worse. Because you’re the girl, they expect you to be emotional and know nothing. Prove ’em wrong.

Quiroli: Players have actually defended me, but reporters, no. I don’t think they know what to do, and that’s ok.

 

Q3: What’s the most fun part of the job for you? The most challenging?

Metzger: The most fun part of covering MiLB is seeing how these prospects pan out, tracking their careers, and seeing them develop. The most challenging part? Keeping track of all the prospects. And of course, asserting myself and gaining respect.

Quiroli: I just mentioned this: I love sitting in the dugout and watching BP. I watch both teams. I relax, I have fun. Favorite part. Also fun is the reason I got into this and that’s watching players put it all together. I never stop being fascinated by this. Most challenging is the hours. I don’t have much of a life during the season. Yoga helps! 🙂

Wright: I love getting to know players/coaches and tell their stories. There are some cool people out there. It’s also fun to track their careers. Most challenging: covering a team every day for five months and coming up with fresh/unique stories. My fav story was connecting teams to Kevin Bacon.

Metzger: Some of the stories one finds are astounding, the good and the bad.

Quiroli: Yeah, then there’s the stories we DON’T tell. Stuff you turn your head to or can’t believe happen.

Metzger: The stories I DON’T tell are being saved for my autobiography someday (:

Quiroli: Actually makes me think of one other thing: dealing with players we don’t like. That is also not fun.

Wright: I count my blessings that I’ve only worked with one player that I didn’t like. Most have been great.

Quiroli: Oh…I wish there was only one MiLBer that I didn’t like.  :0 All part of the job though.

 

Q4: Ok, name a couple of standout prospects for you this year.

Wright: Rangers: Joey Gallo, Roughned Odor, and Nick Martinez. Royals: Ryan O’Hearn, Torey Deshazier.

Metzger: In the Indians org it’s always Lindor. But a few under-radar guys I liked this year: Ben Heller, Eric Haase, Nellie Rodriguez, Shawn Armstrong. In all of MiLB, I’m all about the Joey Gallo show. Also very impressed by the arsenal of Kane County arms (Cubs).

Quiroli: Brandon Nimmo (Mets). I covered him in NYPL and he was so solid even at 18. He developed a bit more power and patience this year. Also, Mikie Mahtook (Rays). He was consistent throughout the season, producing runs, finding ways to hurt opposition.

 

Q5: Any player whose career trajectory surprised you, good or bad?

Metzger: Doryss Paulino is concerning. He was shifted to OF after a disastrous SS attempt. Swing is still sweet though. I’m also interested to see how Stryker Trahan fares. Was shifted to OF, but is now catching again. Also loved Adam Plutko. Scouts apparently aren’t high on him, but he racked up the Ks. Ceiling may be low though.

Quiroli: For me, Jesus Montero. He had issues early on, but I couldn’t imagine that things would go so off course for him. On the good side, Chris Colabello (Twins). I covered him in indy ball and most guys give up. Seeing him get a shot was awesome.

Wright: Jurickson Profar because he was touted as such a high prospect. Injuries may keep him out of 2015. Also Jeremy Barfield being moved to pitch and back to the outfield. Solid arm and a decent bat. I was excited Guilder Rodriguez was given a shot. Definitely a baseball lifer. Hard-worker with a good attitude.

 

Q6: Any player a respective team’s fans should pay attention to? Under the radar, but impressed you.

Metzger: Was crazy impressed by Justin Brantley (NDFA) this year. (Cousin of Michael) Guy throws some heat, is a really sharp reliever.

Quiroli: I’ll go Rays and Bowling Green’s pitching. Jacob Faria and Chris Kirsch were awesome for BG. Both deserve a shot at Double-A in 2015.

Wright: Royals system: Brandon Downes. The kid has a gun for an arm, fast bat speed, and runs like a cheetah.

Quiroli: Gotta love cheetah legs!

Wright: Rangers system: Always impressed with Brett Nicholas. Can catch and play 1st. Power at the plate.

 

That concludes today’s Twitter chat. I had a blast talking minor league baseball with these lovely ladies and hope to do another one soon. You can follow me at @jarahwright, Jessica Quiroli at @heelsonthefield, and Stephanie Metzger at @7thInningSteph.

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Pioneer League Attendance

According to Minor League Baseball, the number of fans who attended minor league baseball games in 2014 exceeded 41 million with the third highest attendance number ever. I decided to look at the Pioneer League’s numbers to see how they stacked up this year. (Note: These numbers do not include playoff games.)

North Division:

Idaho Falls Chukars

Total attendance: 79,895

Largest crowd: July 4th at 3,584

Smallest crowd: August 20th at 574

 

Orem Owlz

Total attendance: 83,179

Largest crowd: July 24th at 5,875

Smallest crowd: August 17th at 921

 

Ogden Raptors

Total attendance: 108,504

Largest crowd: August 29th at 5,166

Smallest crowd: August 24th at 1,643

 

Grand Junction Rockies

Total attendance: 81,382

Largest crowd: July 4th at 6,402

Smallest crowd: August 26th at 1,525

 

South Division

Billings Mustangs

Total attendance: 105,358

Largest crowd: June 16th at 3,824

Smallest crowd: July 13th at 2,094

 

Great Falls Voyagers

Total attendance: 49,520

Largest crowd: July 4th at 2,772

Smallest crowd: September 3rd at 749

 

Missoula Osprey

Total attendance: 84,429

Largest crowd: July 3rd at 4,307

Smallest crowd: July 4th at 1,495

 

Helena Brewers

Total attendance: 30,764

Largest crowd: August 25th at 1,968

Smallest crowd: July 27th at 309