After the final out of the 2010 ALCS all my attention, along with the rest of Yankees Universe, was focused on what changes Brian Cashman would make for the New York Yankees. When the story broke in early December, that the San Diego Padres would be trading Adrian Gonzales to the Boston Red Sox for Casey Kelly, Anthony Rizzo, Reymond Fuentes, and a player to be named later, I was intrigued. Seeing that our arch rivals, the Boston Red Sox, were trading away four of their top prospects in exchange for one player, and the fact the it was likely one if not all of the four players may spend some time in San Antonio, I wanted to know more.
I began to follow the San Diego Padres player transactions and acquisitions. When the San Antonio Missions kicked off their 2011 season, in early April I was ready for baseball in the
The Missions have yet to disappoint. The team tops the
There in lies the triumph and the tragedy of becoming invested in a minor league team. One of the coolest things for a true, passionate fan like myself is that when you go to Wolff Stadium to see the Missions, the intimacy of the park is like nothing in the Majors. With first row ticket prices maxing out at $10.50 I can sit behind home plate, without having to take out a loan, which is what would be required if I wanted to sit right behind home at my beloved Yankees Stadium. The tragedy of Minor League baseball is that the players are playing their hearts out, so they can get that call, "You're ready for the big Show"; and most games the seats are empty. I am sure that Cody Decker (11 HR) or Sawyer Carroll (OPS .819) are not too concerned with playing the game they love to more empty seats then full ones. But even so it's a disservice to the players. Minor League teams have a hard time getting butts in seats because there is not always a "big name player" on the field. Unless a Josh Hamilton, Francisco Cervelli, or Stephen Strasburg are rehabbing, you will not see a Major Leaguer at the game.
If you believe that, then you would be wrong. Every single player on the field is a major leaguer. Orel Hershiser, Fernando Valenzuela, Joe Morgan, Mike Piazza, Paul Konerko, Pedro Martinez, Felix Hernandez, played on Minor League teams. Not just any Minor League team either; they ALL played for the San Antonio Missions in their careers.
When you come to a San Antonio Missions game you may not be able to rattle off each player's number, ERA, OPS, yet. But when they get “The Call” you can say, "Hey I saw that kid pitch when he was in double - A. I told ya'll he would be a Hall of Famer."
You know what, you'd be right.