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Minor League Baseball/Pursuing a baseball dream

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QUESTION: Hello, my name is Sean, and I am 21. I always wanted to play pro baseball, and I am at a crossroads in my baseball life. I have a rather interesting story, and I need your expertise on this matter. I played some High School ball early in my High School years. I was a good player, but I didn't like the way things were handled at my school, so I didn't do all four years there. In my last year of High School, I played for a team that was in another town near where I lived, and I did really well (and when I mean well, I was the number three hitter on a team that had players from a local high school that was a good team). In order to "raise my stock" for college, I decided to play amateur baseball nearby, and again I put up very good numbers. I had the third best batting average in the league (The league had pretty solid competition) and I got to play in their all star game. My run playing amateur baseball was enough to get me invited to a tournament to play baseball in Europe with other college players, even though I had yet to play college baseball (I had only played amateur and high school ball when I got the invite). I was planning on going and eventually trying out for a local college team, but as they say, life got in the way. I had some serious personal and family problems, and I was in no condition mentally to do anything serious when it came to baseball. Now, some time has passed, I played some amateur ball in between, and now I am getting older, which means the window is closing on my dream. I still want to go for it, and I still want to give it one last try before it's too late, however, I fear that my past is going to get in the way and make it hard to be taken seriously. At this point, I am willing to go to some open tryouts and hope to get just a chance. I know my place, and I know I am no million dollar signing bonus guy. I would sign just for a uniform. Now, my question is, what do you think my chances are of getting signed at an open tryout for a team? Also, would I be better suited trying for an Independent League baseball team first and working my way in? Thanks in advance.

ANSWER: you're right sean, you do have an interesting story. the first thing i look for for when i read a story like yours is how old you are. some guys write me a story similar to your but they're 28yo. so you get a pass on the age issue, which is a big issue. other guys ask me the same question as you do but haven't played ball since 13yo. you are obviously not in that category.
there are almost no signings at open MLB tryouts, but then again not every one has your background. my advice to you is that if love the game that much then go for it! i suggest you try out for an independent team, then evaluate your situation in a years' time. good luck. write back any time.
tom

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: I greatly appreciate the fact that you were real and honest with me about the situation. Being that the regular season is ending, and there are really no tryouts coming up during the winter in my area, my plan is to most likely attend one of the Independent League open tryouts in my area sometime next year. I actually turn 21 this Sunday, so age won't likely be an issue next summer. I was initially considering traveling to Florida one spring to attend an MLB open tryout. Would it be worth taking the trip, or should I just stay within my area for tryouts (I'm from the Northeast)?

Answer
Sean
almost no one is signed from the open tryouts, but that's mostly because 99% of the players don't have the talent. you are obviously in a different category. why don't you do both? try out and play indy ball? you need the experience, should have that on your resume and need to put up number to be noticed. what do you think?
Tom

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Tom

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I am am best suited to answer questions regarding minor league baseball prospects.

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Originally, i started doing this because I became engrossed researching prospects for a fantasy baseball league. Back then all I really wanted to do was answer questions about baseball prospects. Funny how time flies but fifteen years later I have been asked questions regarding the negro leagues, what minor leaguers get paid, why players don't rub their injury when they get hurt, and how players can tryout for the minor leagues to name only a few. I was recently in correspondence with a father of a marine who lost several fingers while in Iraq; he was later drafted by the Padres and is playing in their minor league system. Additionally, I get a lot of questions from guys asking me if i think they can be successful at these tryouts or if they should tryout at all. I do my best to answer every one's question without overstepping my bounds of knowledge. *sometimes i have to tell people that I just can't answer their question.* And sometimes I have to tell people that they just aren't good enough to be a professional ball player.* Most recently i have received two negative feedbacks from people who didn't like my response. one 30 year old guy who hadn't played since he was a teenager asked me if he really had a shot at making the tryouts. realistically, i said no. i guess he didn't appreciate my bluntness but that was the truth. I am not really an 'expert' in anything. I just answer people's inquires, give some conservative, advise or tell them 'I don't know.' After fifteen years I have realized that i do fulfill most questions satisfactorily which keeps me doing this.

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