Tuesday, June 12, 2012

The Age-Old Question

It's not everybody else's fault. How can I (we as a collective group of ballplayers) expect people to know how frustrating of a question it really is. It seems so straight forward. So simple. The truth is, however, it isn't simple at all.

"So, when do you think you're gonna get moved up?"

The problem with this question doesn't lie in the sentiment behind it. When most people ask, it comes out of pure (even encouraging) motives.  If the ultimate goal is to make it to the big leagues, then it would seem a logical assumption that we would have some sort of time table laid out for us. The unfortunate reality is that there is no said time table. It's not a video game where levels are passed once a certain amount of points are amassed. There are no shortcuts. There's no certainty that we will even make it. Therefore the question, asked out of a pure heart, brings to mind the reality of the odds against us. 

We hear rumblings. The tremors that shake through an organization can be heard and felt through a few different channels. First, and most reliable, is through the players themselves. We don't always hear that a guy is getting moved right away, but usually within a few hours the phone tree has made it's way to our clubhouse/cell phones. That's usually followed by some educated guesses of the trickle down effect caused by the move. Who's coming up? Who's going down? Did someone get cut? The second, and less reliable, is the internet. Twitter, Facebook, and blogs pontificate about moves all the time. People have adopted it as their job to make millions of assumptions and/or guesses, then claim internet dominance once one of them inevitably comes true. While fans can listen to the these claims and enjoy the drama of the minor league soap operas, the players cannot (for our own sanity) get caught up in it. If we gave validity to every claim that was made about our careers, most of us would cry ourselves to sleep at night from the brutality of people's words. The rest of us would be eternally bitter at our stagnate progress. Either way it ends up hindering our careers. 

What never happens (I use never because of the serious infrequency of it's happening) is that the administration/front office/coaching staff tells us what we should and can expect. It's hush-hush not out of spite, but out of self preservation. If the organization told every player what they thought would happen with each of their careers, it would be very hard to manage our expectations well. The nature of our job is volatile and to predict where a certain player will end up is next to impossible, even for the decision makers. Injuries, transactions, and personal development can't be divined. Careers can't be placed on train tracks. Honestly, it's more like a tight rope. You try to stay balanced and hope for the best. 

All of this to say, we don't know when we're getting moved up. We never will. Don't ask. Let me offer a different inquiry for you...

"You enjoying yourself? Good. Keep working hard."