I couldn’t tell you the exact moment that baseball was introduced into my life, but the moment the flip switched and became my life is one of the most vivid memories from my early childhood.
Somewhere between the 2005 and 2006 MLB seasons, I pushed the toy trucks and coloring books aside and refused to pull myself away from the television when baseball was on. My earliest forays into the world of the internet were spent Googling and YouTubing and printing black-and-white photos of anything and everything baseball.
I like to say that as a young kid, I was attracted to anything that moved fast. Growing up in the middle of New York City, it’s probably in my DNA. That especially bore itself out when it came to my first favorite players. As a Mets fan, I never took my eyes off the screen when José Reyes was at the plate or (especially) on base. Hanley Ramírez and Jimmy Rollins were fierce NL East rivals but absolutely electric players to watch. Ichiro, Carl Crawford, Jacoby Ellsbury… if you could swipe a bag, chances are I’d be tuned in.
When it came time to attend my first game in person — June 4, 2006, at Shea Stadium, also known as the Lastings Milledge game—the excitement was impossible to contain. But the anticipation I had built up was quickly tempered by what is still one of the most breathtaking yet simple views I’ve ever taken in.
It’s hard to describe, but if you know, you know. As my dad and I walked up to the seats, it began to hit me. I’m here! It’s real! My first sight of the expansive field, as the green (oh man, was it green) outfield slowly peered out over the edge of the upper deck, was humbling. I can’t remember if I smiled or stood there with my mouth open or some combination of both, but the image has been burned into my brain ever since. I’m lucky that it’s stayed there. That's when I knew my life wouldn’t go down any other path.
I find it slightly ironic that I fell in love with the game because of the literal field itself and my interests now lie off it.
Don’t get me wrong. Nothing is more exciting to me than watching the elite players of the sport do what they do best. I’ll watch as many games as I can, pore over highlights for hours, and attend as many games in New York City as I can. The spirit of that six-year-old still lives inside of me.
But as the years went on, I came to realize that baseball is so much more than what happens inside the chalk lines. And that’s what this blog is about.
Over the next four weeks at this spot, I’ll cover a wide range of “inside baseball” topics, designed to provide a comprehensive look at why the game works the way it does.
I know what you’re thinking. Jacob, you’re a 21-year-old college student who left the house with mismatched socks this morning. Who are you to tell me anything about the sport I’ve followed for [insert number of years greater than my age].
I’m far from the most knowledgeable person on the topic. If I was, I’d be at the head of the table in an MLB front office right now (maybe one day). But what I do pride myself on is dedicating my time to constantly learning, whether it be reading the (soon-to-expire) Collective Bargaining Agreement and Major League Rules cover to cover, researching previous works on these topics, and putting my thought processes into articles like these.
We’ll talk about things like…
MLB Roster Rules
Options, service time, waivers (I knew the title of this blog sounded familiar)… These words get used in news reports every day but few understand the rules and applications behind them. We’ll get into detail about the factors like these and others that influence team personnel decisions and how players can leverage them to their advantage.
The Rule 5 Draft
This could be swept under the roster rules umbrella, but I’ll give it its own article because of the nuances and pertinence (the deadline to protect players from selection in the R5 Draft falls during this week. More on what that means when we get there).
The CBA, Concerns, and the Future of Baseball
Dec. 1 is a massive date on the calendar. That’s when the current Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA) is scheduled to expire. Will the league’s owners and the Players Association hammer out a deal before the clock strikes midnight or will boiling tensions lead to the first MLB lockout since 1990? Recent trends would suggest the latter, but I’ll look at what it all means for the future of the sport in this article.
Minor League Baseball
I already know this’ll be my favorite article to write. MiLB is such a multi-faceted operation that tends to get tossed aside by even serious baseball fans. I’ll look at how teams utilize their minor league systems, recent advancements in player development strategies, and how proponents for change have began pressuring organizations into improving their players’ quality of life.
I’m super excited to start sharing my thoughts next week. I’d love to hear feedback and spark a conversation, so don’t hesitate to drop a comment or shoot me a tweet at @Jacob_Resnick. Until next time!