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Tuesday, November 25, 2014         

Life in the Minors

During a 100-game season, consistency is very important. Good teams perform at a high level most nights and are able to avoid losing streaks. Each year, the goal is to win each series, one series at a time.

As I seem to mention each season at some point, superstitions are a big part of baseball. At some point early in every ballplayer's career, it becomes ingrained in them that trivial things, things that might have no apparent relation to a player's success on the field, do indeed have an impact on his or her performance.

This past Wednesday would have given the members of the Winnipeg Goldeyes a rare opportunity to get some rest. During the course of our first 49 games, we had only been afforded five days off.

So far, things have gone quite well for the Winnipeg Goldeyes. At 27-18, we are a game out of first place in the North Division standings, and have the third-best overall record in the 14-team American Association.

Forty games into our 100-game season, and things with the Winnipeg Goldeyes are going fine. At 23-17, we are only a half-game off the American Association North Division pace, and lead the wild-card race.

You will never hear me complain much about what I do for a living. Getting paid to coach professional baseball is a privilege, and I have been fortunate to be in the game for as long as I have.

The life of a minor league baseball coach involves a lot of variables. Besides being in different cities every few days, we have to deal with playing in a variety of climates.

It seems like we're a lot farther away from the beginning of May than we actually are. It's hard for me to imagine that it has only been four months since we opened our spring training on Maui.

Closing out our long series in the heat of Yuma, Ariz., this past week, we knew that the remainder of our regular-season schedule would be a challenge.

Waking up just in time to catch the Waipio All-Stars take on Georgia in the U.S. semifinals of the Little League World Series, it already seemed as though this would be a better day than yesterday.

I awoke in my hotel room at the Best Western in Chico, Calif., in as normal a fashion as could be. After spending an hour or so hanging out and watching the Little League World Series, I realized a little after noon that someone in the room next to me was snoring really, really loudly.

Having won the first half in the Golden Baseball League's South Division, our postseason spot is already secured, but the desire to win the second half title is still strong. It would help us secure home-field advantage for the playoffs.

Becoming a professional takes some time in this line of work. The variables involved for each player to become a pro are hard to predict. For some, it takes 150 pro at-bats.

There are several certainties each minor league season. There will be lots of games, there will be bus rides and every team will lose some players. Not in the sense of losing one's wallet, but losing players in the manner of players getting traded to other teams, released due to poor performance, or season-ending injuries.

From Little League to the big leagues, good bullpen arms are hard to come by. From power arms to lefty specialists to long relief guys to setup guys to closers, every good professional team wants a reliable guy for each role.

It was almost exactly a week ago that we here with Na Koa Ikaika Maui were playing for our postseason lives. We were down mere percentage points to the Yuma Scorpions in the Golden Baseball League's South Division standings -- with two games left before the end of the first half of our season.

As is common after most of our home games, I'm sitting in the living room of my summer apartment watching DVDs, trying to decompress after another long day of work at the ballpark.

We're just about a week and a half away from the midpoint of our season, and one thing is for certain -- competing in the Golden Baseball League has proven to be quite an adventure.


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