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Wednesday, June 06, 2012

Silva: Draft Day Glamour Short-Lived

Hence (Samuel),...STOP THE DRAFT!

The point is I liked the draft coverage when it was more a Baseball America niche. I think the league is sending the wrong message to its fans and players by hyping them at an early age. The Mets selected a kid shortstop by the name of Gavin Cecchini, out of high school in Louisiana.  We will see him in Brooklyn, where he will get more than enough press, but Citi Field is at least five seasons away, if at all. The Yankees went for upside and took a hard-throwing RHP out of Santa Fe by the name of Ty Hensley. Even though many consider him a “steal” at 30, the Bombers track record of pitching development makes you wonder if he will make it to Double-A Trenton, much less the House That Ruth Built.

It’s important to put this draft and kids into perspective. You can rate value, signability and upside all you want. It now is up to the kid to embrace minor league life, and physically and mentally develop as a baseball player. The league doesn’t show you the lousy road trips, crappy pre and post game meals or $1,200 monthly salaries (before taxes) that are part of the low-minors. I haven’t even mentioned the politics and bad coaching that are part of the journey. Some of those first round picks will get nice signing bonuses, but there is a chance they may need that to actually pursue their dream. Imagine that, using your own money so you can work for someone else. How many of you would do that upon graduation?

The league glamorizes the draft and makes the kids feel like stars. Many will report to minor league outposts in a couple of weeks and realize that was their last five-star treatment by the league for a while, maybe ever.

Repoz Posted: June 06, 2012 at 09:32 AM | 13 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: draft, history

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   1. Mayor Blomberg Posted: June 06, 2012 at 10:22 AM (#4149659)
Some of those first round picks will get nice signing bonuses, but there is a chance they may need that to actually pursue their dream. Imagine that, using your own money so you can work for someone else. How many of you would do that upon graduation?


Poor inglorious bastards, they sound like academics. OTOH, given that the bonus money is paid by the team with the expectation that the kid's going to try to make it through the system, I'm not entirely clear how it's "his own money." & In a lot of ways I prefer this to turning higher ed into a farm system for one more industry (sports).

Given the number of independent league teams -- no MLB money, teams folding and not paying salaries -- it seems hard to lay all of MS's complaints at the feet of MLB. & if the low yield rate of the draft is the issue, perhaps what MLB needs to do to televise international signings day.
   2. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 06, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4149683)
I'm not quite sure what Silva's issue is here. From a fan perspective the draft was enjoyable to watch I thought and for the players I'm sure it's a lot of fun to participate. Courtney Hawkins seemed to enjoy himself (until Ken WIlliams called and ####### him out for the backflip). One day of glamour and fame isn't the worst thing in the world. If a draftee is going to let that derail him then he's going to get derailed at some point.

I was about 13 years old when the MLB draft became a big deal.


You were 13 years old when you noticed. I still remember the Red Sox drafting Jeff Ledbetter, big shock, I was 12 (if you've never heard of Ledbetter, don't worry you aren't missing out). Yeah, everything gets covered more now but the draft has always garnered attention.
   3. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2012 at 10:53 AM (#4149684)
It's good for baseball that the draft is getting more attention, but Silva is right about the nonsensical hype. If you listened to the draft coverage without knowing much about MLB, you would have been left with the impression that the first 40 picks are all going to become multiple-times All-Stars for championship teams. Some of the analysts made Mel Kiper & Co. seem downright rational.

Yeah, everything gets covered more now but the draft has always garnered attention.

Not sure how old you are, but the draft was barely a blip on the media radar as recently as the early '90s. There'd be one day of coverage of the first-round picks, typically centered on the No. 1 overall pick, but there was basically no coverage of the draft until draft day. Hell, until around 1990 or '91, MLB didn't even release the names of the players drafted, let alone announce them live. Eventually, MLB started releasing an alphabetical list, and then the live selections started about 10-12 years ago.
   4. Tom Nawrocki Posted: June 06, 2012 at 11:20 AM (#4149709)
The league glamorizes the draft and makes the kids feel like stars. Many will report to minor league outposts in a couple of weeks and realize that was their last five-star treatment by the league for a while, maybe ever.


All the more reason to let these kids have their one day in the sun, isn't it?
   5. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 06, 2012 at 11:27 AM (#4149722)
Not sure how old you are, but the draft was barely a blip on the media radar as recently as the early '90s. There'd be one day of coverage of the first-round picks, typically centered on the No. 1 overall pick, but there was basically no coverage of the draft until draft day. Hell, until around 1990 or '91, MLB didn't even release the names of the players drafted, let alone announce them live. Eventually, MLB started releasing an alphabetical list, and then the live selections started about 10-12 years ago.


I'm old enough to remember that (older than Silva). My recollection is there was always some kind of feature in the local paper about the draft back then though. In an era when I had to wait for the 2PM Lowell Sun to come out to find out if the Sox won in Seattle the night before, that doesn't seem outrageous.

But you're right about the hype being nonsensical but that's true of just about everything. Will Middlebrooks had a good two weeks and now all we get in Boston is "trade Kevin Youkilis" non-stop. We live in an information age so everything that happens gets overblown.
   6. Joe Kehoskie Posted: June 06, 2012 at 12:00 PM (#4149760)
I'm old enough to remember that (older than Silva). My recollection is there was always some kind of feature in the local paper about the draft back then though. In an era when I had to wait for the 2PM Lowell Sun to come out to find out if the Sox won in Seattle the night before, that doesn't seem outrageous.

I grew up in a fellow NY-P city (Auburn, N.Y.). Back then, we'd have players showing up and we had no clue who they were, where they were drafted, or even what position they played. It's amazing how far the draft has come, with the live coverage and the video clips of the No. 312 pick. If 25-year-old baseball fans could see what the draft looked like in 1990, they'd roll on the floor laughing.
   7. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 06, 2012 at 12:04 PM (#4149766)
That's true of all sports coverage. I was talking with a co-worker recently who was astounded at the idea that you used to turn a game on and not see the score on the TV screen. She couldn't understand why they wouldn't have always had such a thing on the screen.
   8. morineko Posted: June 06, 2012 at 12:08 PM (#4149772)
Are the minor leagues supposed to be different from any other crappy entry-level manual labor job?
   9. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: June 06, 2012 at 01:21 PM (#4149866)
She couldn't understand why they wouldn't have always had such a thing on the screen.

Part of this is due to the change in ethic of the broadcast producers. The emphasis has shifted from providing quality programming (among most sources) to making EVERYTHING into a sales pitch. Now the game or television show is encrusted behind sprites emblazoning the network's logo, upcoming shows, and sponsor slogans. You're lucky that you can even see what you tuned in to watch! It wasn't so in years past.*

That's what I find interesting about the classic games that MLB Network shows during the off-season, the change in production values. You see an Expos game from 1971 in black & white with block letters and numbers flashing batting lineups and the score, but only long enough to inform, then they were gone from the screen. The "content" was king.

* Similarly, the more recent the show, the less likely it has a long main title song, or any main title at all. And note how closing credits are squished into a tiny pane so that you can see the start of the next episode or an extra 60 second spot. These are all symptoms of the same trend.
   10. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: June 06, 2012 at 01:23 PM (#4149873)
Now the game or television show is encrusted behind sprites emblazoning the network's logo, upcoming shows, and sponsor slogans. You're lucky that you can even see what you tuned in to watch! It wasn't so in years past.*


I don't know, I've seen old reruns of game shows where they interrupt the game to do an in-studio advertisement for the sponsor. "Brought to you by..." has been a staple in baseball games for decades. Maybe its more annoying and ubiquitous now, but content has never been king, making money has always been goal #1 in TV.
   11. Tripon Posted: June 06, 2012 at 05:14 PM (#4150140)
I'm not sure baseball wants a higher profile draft anymore than it has. The NBA and NFL draftees can get much more because partly because of their popularity and of their draft.
   12. Jose Can Still Seabiscuit Posted: June 06, 2012 at 05:30 PM (#4150160)
"Brought to you by..." has been a staple in baseball games for decades. Maybe its more annoying and ubiquitous now, but content has never been king, making money has always been goal #1 in TV.


As a kid I thought "brocktew" was a word that meant the people who advertised on a baseball game. "Today's game is brocktew by..."

I also thought trees made wind and couldn't understand why birds flew away from me when I ran after them to feed them crusts of bread.
   13. boteman digs the circuit clout Posted: June 06, 2012 at 06:33 PM (#4150188)
#11 - agreed.

If the new CBA draft rules essentially stick it to the draftees because they have little to no leverage, then it seems incongruous that MLB would want an even glitzier draft show. Unless Bud is looking for some perverse pleasure in parading around his new serfs before they shuffle off to anonymous service in the minors, never to be seen again.

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