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Happy Thanksgiving! Regularly Scheduled Articles Will Resume Monday, December 1

Minor Issues 

Minor Issues

David Laurila, with the help of those who experience it first-hand, takes twice-weekly trips to the farm to explore life below the big-league level.

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04-30

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Minor Issues: Adversity Management, with Wally Backman
by
David Laurila

04-07

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Minor Issues: Taiwanese Cyberspace, with Che-Hsuan Lin
by
David Laurila

11-14

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Minor Issues: Time in the Minors, with Tony Okun
by
David Laurila

11-07

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Minor Issues: Short-season Skippering, with Jim Pankovits
by
David Laurila

09-19

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Minor Issues: Fourth Estate, with Scot Drucker
by
David Laurila

09-15

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Minor Issues: Pitching in Spanish, with Mark Brewer
by
David Laurila

09-12

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Minor Issues: Broadcasting the Minors, with Jim Weber
by
David Laurila

09-05

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Minor Issues: Pinstripes over Provo, with Nik Turley
by
David Laurila

09-02

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Minor Issues: Two Strikes, with Andrew Lambo
by
David Laurila

08-28

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Minor Issues: A Baseball Life of an Australian, by Tim Cox
by
David Laurila

08-26

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Minor Issues: Tampa Yankees and the FSL, with Julie Kremer
by
David Laurila

08-21

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Minor Issues: Family Matters, with Justin Ruggiano
by
David Laurila

08-18

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Minor Issues: Discoveries and Perspectives, with Kyle Waldrop
by
David Laurila

08-15

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Minor Issues: An Umpire Manages, with Gary Robinson
by
David Laurila

08-11

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Minor Issues: Names and Numbers, with Justin Ruggiano
by
David Laurila

08-04

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Minor Issues: iPads and Kindles, with R.J. Swindle
by
David Laurila

07-29

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Minor Issues: Isolation and Addiction, with Max St. Pierre
by
David Laurila

07-28

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Minor Issues: Welcome to Pro Ball Tyson Kendrick
by
David Laurila

07-24

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Minor Issues: Broadcasting the Minors, with Josh Whetzel
by
David Laurila

07-17

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Minor Issues: Transitions and Agendas, with John Birtwell
by
David Laurila

07-14

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Minor Issues: Nicknames and Rehab, with Robbie Weinhardt
by
David Laurila

07-09

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Minor Issues: World Cup with Lars Anderson and Ryan Kalish
by
David Laurila

07-08

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Minor Issues: Glitz and Glamour, with Chris Valaika
by
David Laurila

06-30

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Minor Issues: Kangaroo Court, with Brad Ziegler
by
David Laurila

06-27

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Minor Issues: Welcome to Pro Ball, Bobby Doran
by
David Laurila

06-23

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Minor Issues: Managing in the Minors, with Rick Sweet
by
David Laurila

06-18

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Minor Issues: Welcome to Pro Ball Bryce Brentz
by
David Laurila

06-16

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Minor Issues: Camaraderie and Kegs, with Brad Ziegler
by
David Laurila

06-14

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Minor Issues: The Kung Fu Panda Comes to America
by
David Laurila

06-09

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Minor Issues: Bonding and Ducks, with Brad Ziegler
by
David Laurila

06-06

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Minor Issues: Safety and Comportment, with Jake Arrieta
by
David Laurila

06-01

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Minor Issues: Broadcaster Confrontations, with Steve Hyder
by
David Laurila

05-30

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Minor Issues: Managing in the Minors, with Trent Jewett
by
David Laurila

05-22

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Minor Issues: Winning Matters, with Andy Tracy
by
David Laurila

05-18

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Minor Issues: Embarrassed in the Minors, with Ron Mahay
by
David Laurila

05-15

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Minor Issues: Andy Tracy: On the Farm at 36
by
David Laurila

05-08

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Minor Issues: Placeholders and 60-Percent Salaries, with Jonathan Van Every
by
David Laurila

05-05

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Minor Issues: Broadcasting the Minors, with Andy Freed; part 2
by
David Laurila

05-01

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Minor Issues: Broadcasting the Minors, with Andy Freed
by
David Laurila

04-28

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Minor Issues: The Language of Baseball, with Garrett Broshuis
by
David Laurila

04-26

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Minor Issues: Mike Ekstrom on Hayhurst and Halcyon Days
by
David Laurila

04-22

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Minor Issues: Mike Ekstrom on Portland and Farm Towns
by
David Laurila

04-19

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Minor Issues: Initiation Rites with Derrick Loop
by
David Laurila

04-16

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Minor Issues: Married in the Minors with Chad Paronto
by
David Laurila

04-14

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Minor Issues: Joe Nelson on the Ups and Downs
by
David Laurila

04-10

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Minor Issues: Clever Trevor: Plouffe and Guitars
by
David Laurila

04-08

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Minor Issues: McDonald on the Farm
by
David Laurila

04-05

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Minor Issues: Circle of Trust, with Derrick Loop
by
David Laurila

03-30

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Minor Issues: Following the Farm with Jonathan Mayo
by
David Laurila

03-26

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Minor Issues: Home Away From Home with Derrick Loop
by
David Laurila

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An Astros draft pick talks about his introduction to life in the minors.

For Bobby Doran, and most of his Tri-City Valley Cats teammates, professional baseball is a brand new experience. A 6’ 6” right-hander, Doran was drafted by the Astros in the fourth round out of Texas Tech and is beginning his career in the New York-Penn League.

Read the full article...

The Reds' triple-A manager on the importance of communication.

For Louisville Bats skipper Rick Sweet, it’s all about communication. Currently in his sixth season at the helm of Cincinnati’s Triple-A affiliate, the former big-league backstop is a believer in straight talk, so whether you’re Aroldis Chapman or a minor-league journeyman, the door of his office is always open. A minor-league manager since 1987, Sweet was the International League’s Manager of the Year each of the past two seasons.

Read the full article...

A 2010 pick talks about the draft and signing process.

Welcome to professional baseball, Bryce Brentz. A slugging 21-year-old outfielder out of Middle Tennessee State University, Brentz was selected by Boston with the 36th-overall pick in this month’s draft and is beginning his career tonight with short-season Lowell. Brentz talked about the scouting and signing process, and his expectations of pro ball, during Spinners media day on Thursday.

Read the full article...

Brad Ziegler talks about bonding through beer.

Baseball players are known to have a drink from time to time, and according to Brad Ziegler, the consumption is all about camaraderie. Drafted out of Missouri State in 2003, the A’s right-hander spent part of the 2004 season with the Schaumburg Flyers of the independent Northern League before returning to affiliated ball and pitching himself to the big leagues.

Read the full article...

Pablo Sandoval talks about coming to pro ball from Vanezuela.

A native of Puerto Cabello, Carabobo, Venezuela, Pablo Sandoval was signed by the Giants in 2003 and began his professional career the following season in the Arizona Rookie League at the age of 18. He has since gone on to become one of the best hitters in the National League, but first “The Kung Fu Panda” -- is there a better nickname in sports? -- had to learn a new language and a new culture. Now a third baseman after beginning his career as a catcher, Sandoval has hit .320/.371/.512 since breaking into the big leagues in 2008.

Read the full article...

Brad Ziegler talks about camaraderie and ducks.

Inside jokes are a big part of clubhouse camaraderie, and for Brad Ziegler, the most memorable involves a duck. Now in his third season working out of the A’s bullpen, Ziegler spent six years in the minor leagues, including one comedically-tinged campaign with the Single-A Stockton Ports.

Read the full article...

An Orioles prospect talks about handling yourself like a professional.

Jake Arrieta has a feet-firmly-on-the-ground approach to life in the minor leagues. One of the top prospects in the Orioles’ organization, the 24-year-old right-hander isn’t just excelling on the mound -- the 2007 draft pick is 6-2, 1.85 for Triple-A Norfolk -- he recognizes the importance of safety and comportment.

Read the full article...

A Triple-A broadcaster on dealing with irate players and fans.

The life of a minor-league broadcaster isn’t exactly wrought with peril, but it’s not always a garden party, either. Steve Hyder, the radio voice of the Pawtucket Red Sox -- and a former record holder in the shot put at the University of Massachusetts -- knows that all too well, having dealt with disgruntled fans and players alike. A three-time winner of the Rhode Island Sportscaster of the Year award, Hyder was the voice of the Syracuse Chiefs prior to joining the PawSox in 2004.

Read the full article...

A Triple-A manager discusses the priorities of his job.

Trent Jewett is more than just Stephen Strasburg’s current manager. The Syracuse Chiefs skipper is a grizzled veteran when it comes to running a minor-league club, having taken his first managerial position in 1992. He is in his second season with the Nationals organization after spending 21 years with the Pirates, including two-plus as the Bucs’ third base coach and 15 as a minor-league manager.

Read the full article...

A 15-year veteran on winning in the minors.

Andy Tracy knows that the minor leagues are all about developing talent and supporting the big-league club, but that doesn’t mean he doesn’t care about wins and losses. Tracy, who has hit 273 home runs since breaking into pro ball in 1996, is currently with Philadelphia’s Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

Read the full article...

The ups and downs of a journeyman reliever.

Ron Mahay has had plenty of experience with the ups and downs of professional baseball. The 38-year-old Twins reliever has pitched in the big leagues for each of the past 14 seasons, and over that time has also appeared in over 200 minor-league games, all but a handful at the Triple-A level. He has spent parts of 11 seasons in the minors over that 14-year stretch.

Read the full article...

A minor-league veteran keeps on keeping on.

Andy Tracy epitomizes the term “minor-league veteran.” The left-handed slugger has been to The Show -- his resume includes 149 big league games -- but most of his time has been spent on the farm. Now in his 15th professional season, and with his fifth organization, Tracy has seen action in 1,413 minor-league contests. He is currently with the Phillies Triple-A affiliate, the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs.

Read the full article...

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