For two full minor league seasons now, I’ve kicked around the idea of figuring out a way to put together a comprehensive list of major leaguers who appear in the minor leagues on rehab assignments. One of the best things about the bus leagues is that every so often, you get the chance to see major league talent at minor league prices. Daisuke Matsuzaka was supposed to pitch in Manchester on Saturday (he pitched on Sunday instead, when the weather was much better) – I paid $20 for two tickets with an excellent and close view of the mound. I shudder to think what they would have cost me at Fenway (okay, I looked it up: about $250 for the pair, twelve and a half times as much, not including fees).
Minor league players look forward to rehab assignments for another reason: when a big leaguer comes down to the minors, tradition dictates that he feeds the team before and/or after the game.
There have been a couple stories about this during the summer, but it wasn’t until Matsuzaka came to town and fed the Sea Dogs with pre-game sushi and post-game steak dinners that I realized something: as a group of fans that revels in the weird aspects of minor league baseball, we really should be talking about this more. And we will – well, not this season, but next year, mark my words, there will be more in-depth coverage of what major leaguers are doing to help the kids out while they’re down on the farm.
I’m not sure we can do it without help, however, so if you happen to read a story that talks about this tradition, drop me a line at email@example.com.