How Are You Getting Your Baseball Fix?

 

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Photo by Vlad Chețan on Pexels.com

These are extraordinary times in our country.  The pandemic that is the coronavirus is minute-by-minute altering how we all go about our daily lives.  Social distancing and self-quarantine are becoming the norm.

All major professional and collegiate sports are on postponement and many of us are looking to fill the void.  As a blogger who writes about Minor League Baseball, my writing is on a bit of a hiatus; I have to search for topics away from the baseball diamond to write about.

The point of this is not to solicit sympathy for me but rather to start a discussion of what baseball fans are doing to fill the void.  I posted this question on another site’s message board and quickly realized I am a dinosaur.  The responses I got centered on computer games and binge watching TV.

I started by stating that I was planning on reading Billy Ripken’s book, State Of Play in the hopes of see what others may be reading.  I also plan to search the web in order to find more baseball cards and such of my favorite Baltimore Orioles Minor League prospects.

What are you doing?  Are you reading a baseball book and if so, what book?  Are you watching past games on You Tube or MLB TV?

It is my hope that by sharing and discussing we can help each other, as baseball fans, get through this together.

Where Has Courtesy Gone?

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As many of you are aware, I have been blogging and writing about the Baltimore Orioles Minor Leagues for about four years now.  I started by answering a request for writers for a site called Baby Birdland and did that for two years before the owner had to shut it down due to work and personal reasons.

I was fortunate enough to move over to Birds Watcher where I continued my writing.  I have enjoyed writing there for well over a year now.  I found out a few days ago in an email from the Fansided company that the site expert had stepped down and was moving on to other things.

This recent event leads me to the question in the title: “where has courtesy gone?”.  When Baby Birdland closed down, the owner emailed me well in advance and informed me of his decision and reasoning.  I was very grateful that he wrote what was probably a difficult email to write.

I did not, however, have any advanced warning of what was coming for Birds Watcher.  This is the third instance in my brief, amateur writing career that I have not been personally informed of a decision or non-decision about my work.

The first instance was when I answered a call for a guest columnist for a local sports website.  I submitted the piece, it was posted and that was the end of it.  That owner either stopped the search or found someone else but never followed up with me.  No “your piece wasn’t what I am looking for”, no “it was lousy”, not even an “I changed my mind about what I want on my website”.  It was frustrating to say the least.

The second instance was when I was approached by someone to write for them and submitted a sample piece and waited.  I waited for a response and it never came; again, no notice of if it was what was wanted or not.

This week was the third instance which begs the question, what is wrong with people?  If you solicit my efforts why do I not at least deserve being told what is going on and why.  Is it that hard to tell someone plans have changed?  If you ask someone to do something don’t they at the very least deserve to know what you thought, your decision and why you made that decision?

The bottom line is that I will continue to write and I hope to find a new home soon.  I just wish people would simply tell you what is going on, no matter if it is good or bad.  The courtesy of a notification is necessary.

Please excuse my rant and thanks for reading it.

Baseball And A Homeland In Crisis

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The effects of current events in Venezuela are being felt in the Baltimore Orioles minor league system.

Today marks the first Spring Training game for the Baltimore Orioles; the team is playing the Atlanta Braves in CoolToday Park in Venice, Florida.  Baseball is back and it is exciting.

For some players, especially several minor league players in the Orioles system, the excitement is overshadowed by events back at home.  Instability in Valenzuela weighs heavy on the minds of P Victor Romero, C Daniel Fajardo, C Alfredo Gonzalez, P Cristian Alvarado and non-roster invitee Jose Rondon.

Simply put, the crisis centers on the fact that two men, Juan Guaido and Nicolas Maduro, both claim that they are the legitimate president.  Maduro has the support of the military and the state apparatus while Guaido controls the National Assembly and has a higher approval rating among Venezuelans.  Caught in the middle of this stand-off are the citizens of Venezuela.

The current situation is considered a humanitarian crisis; corruption and an economic meltdown rule the day.  Everyday essentials, food and water, are either outrageously expensive or hard to obtain.

Venezuelans are fleeing the country in massive numbers as the country suffers from an unstable currency, rampant disease, violence and hyperinflation.  Many who remain are suffering from starvation and malnutrition.  The once wealthy nation sees 90% of its population living in poverty.

Knowing this is occurring back home while being over 1,700 miles away from loved ones cannot be easy for the Orioles Venezuelan farmhands.  Breaking into the major leagues is difficult enough under “normal” conditions; it has to be exponentially more difficult when your mind wanders to your loved ones who may be suffering.  The situation is so bad that the players really can’t go home during the off season, adding additional pressures to them.

An example of the difficulties these players face if they return home is the 2018 deaths of Luis Valbuena and Jose Castillo in a car crash while avoiding a highway robbery.

I am certain that this piece is an over-simplification of the Venezuelan crisis and lacks political perspective (sports are my forte after all); it is meant to draw attention to the situation and point out what it could be doing to some of our minor league players, however.  My intent is to shine a light on the issue while informing fans of what goes on with some of the Orioles prospects.  Should you interact with any of these players during the season, keep in mind what they are going through and simply offer them support and compassion.