Being a minor leaguer in general is a tough thing in baseball. Aside from the low pay and often rough travel conditions, you’re also away from your family for most of the year. Players stuck in the alternate locations for 2020 might have it worse than ever before. But over at the Dodgers alternate location, veterans are making sure that guys don’t get too down on themselves.
Jack Harris of the LA Times recently caught up with guys training at the Dodgers alternate location. One way that they have made sure to keep guys fresh and thinking positive is to institute a ‘salty chair’. Rocky Gale started the salty chair, a spot where players can go to voice their frustrations.
If anyone has any negative or salty thoughts, you’ve got to sit in this chair and just express them out. Let it out in this chair. After that, once you get off the chair, you’re fine. No more negativity. – Rocky Gale at the USC site
When you think about it, these guys really are living on an island. They’re stuck between being in their apartments/living spaces and going right back to the field. They don’t get to travel with the Dodgers’ big league club unless they’re on the taxi squad, so most of them are stuck in LA.
These guys also don’t get to really see any news faces. The Dodgers’ alternate location serves as a backup for the worst-case scenario, so these players spend most days just taking at-bats against each other. Aside from a few players that go back and forth between the big leagues, most players are doing the same thing almost daily.
The coaches fo structure the practices like they would for Spring Training, with guys still throwing bullpens and taking hacks in the batting cage. But it’s difficult to change it up much with the limits they face. But despite all of that, the Dodgers minor league players and coaches are finding a way to stay positive and keep things fresh.
Coaches have caught bullpens to give some of the catchers a little bit of rest between days. Crowd noise and walk-up music are used during scrimmages to bring up the energy for players. And the trash-talking? That’s alive and well according to assistant field coordinator Shaun Larkin.
It’s a weird year for everyone, but much like all of us at home, these guys are finding a way to make the best of their situations.