What advantage does minor league baseball have? At Arkansas, you have better facilities, better coaching, better competition, better medical support, better food, and better pay.
With the abysmal treatment in the minors, why leave if you don’t have to?
In traveling around eastern North Carolina for my job, I frequently pass through Kinston (hometown of Vandy hoops coach Jerry Stackhouse), population 21,000. The highway goes right past Grainger Stadium. I had no idea what Grainger Stadium was or who played there, but I have learned that it is the home of the Down East Wood Ducks, a Low-A affiliate of the Texas Rangers (the team is actually owned by the Rangers).
So you can be playing in Baum Walker and Dudy Noble and the new ballpark in Gainesville, getting an education and making some NIL money, or you can be playing in Grainger (capacity 3,410), getting paid $500 per week (up from $290 last year) and living in podunk Kinston. Or even worse places, like Zebulon, NC (pop. 6,000), which is in the same league as the Wood Ducks.
Easy choice for me.
I think basically college baseball has replaced the minors. I can remember three AAA leagues and one higher and large crowds attending AA and AAA games. But in my youth, there were only 16 major league teams and the minors drew big crowds and the baseball was much better than the present minor league play. Things change.
At one time there were four Triple-A leagues: the American Association, the Pacific Coast League, the International League and the Mexican League. The AA shut down in 1997 and its teams were distributed to the PCL and IL. The Mexican League remained Triple-A until the minor league reorganization in 2021; it’s now an independent league.
The Travelers in LR spent three years as a Triple-A team – one in the IL, two in the PCL. They returned to Double A in 1967 and have been there ever since.
Class. Some kids just don’t like school.
I’m not sure a high-end player is going to get the NIL equivalent of a draft signing bonus.
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