Why we're glad MiLB is back

May 4th, 2021

We haven't had Minor League Baseball since 2019. That's been tough on the players, the fans, the Minor League teams and their staffs ... and us. MLB Pipeline prides itself on prospect content, from the stars of tomorrow to the wacky goings-on that only seem to happen in the friendly confines of a Minor League ballpark. We're looking forward to every bit of it, but each staffer has something particularly special to anticipate.

Michael Avallone, contributor: The youthful excitement and innocence of players chasing their dream. Whether it’s a teenager making his professional debut or a veteran looking for that first shot in the bigs, Minor League baseball gives all of us a unique view into the life of an athlete. The love of the game is their reason for playing, and it comes through with their actions on and off the field. 

William Boor, reporter/producer: The atmosphere and simplicity. There’s an endearing quality about going to a game without all the pomp and circumstance. Minor League ballparks don’t have all the fancy concessions and visuals that Major League parks offer. While I missed going to all types of baseball games in 2020, the relaxing atmosphere of Minor League parks is certainly something I can’t wait to experience in 2021.

Jim Callis, reporter: Baseball wasn’t the same without a Minor League season in 2020, and the return of the Minors is another sign that we’re slowly getting back to normalcy. Getting to see prospects like Wander Franco and Adley Rutschman chase their big league debuts and future stars such as Spencer Torkelson and Jasson Dominguez play their first pro games is terribly exciting. And it will be nice to evaluate prospects again based on actual performance rather than trying to extrapolate anecdotes from alternate sites and instructional league.

Willie Cornblatt, editor: The return of Minor League Baseball signals the return of jobs for so many people -- players, coaches, clubbies, concession workers and so many more. Personally, seeing the harmony of an entire Minor League stadium, with those people working again, is the perfectly wrapped-up microcosm of a society returning to normalcy. I desperately look forward to returning to a Minor League game, ordering an obscene amount of hot dogs and flashing an XL smile at all of the folks that are back supporting their families and the game they love.

Sam Dykstra, reporter: Every square inch of a Minor League ballpark -- from the dirt on the infield to the corners of the plate to edges of the seat -- is made of pure, uncut dreams. The dreams of the prospect fighting for his shot at The Show. The dreams of the eight-year-old kids envisioning their own future spot on the field. The dreams of the writers and broadcasters in the press box planning to craft the perfect line that captures what happened that day when baseball was played again. I can’t wait to find my place in those dreams again. And I can’t wait to pinch myself and realize everything is real once more.

Kelsie Heneghan, social media: The stories. From the top prospect making their pro debut to the veteran in Triple-A, every player has a story, a reason, a history. And it continues off the field with concessions staff, mascots and in the front office. I love getting to know these people and sharing their stories.

Ben Hill, business and culture reporter: Minor League Baseball -- intimate, accessible, geographically diverse and simultaneously deeply familiar and deeply weird -- is where I feel at home both personally and professionally. The Minor Leagues are an ideal canvas for American explorations, offering unifying experiences within a polarized society. Get offline, go to a Minor League ballpark and connect with your fellow Americans while enjoying a regional food item that likely inspired one of the home team’s alternate identities.

Josh Jackson, editor: I’ve seen prospects hammer baseballs off the deck of an aircraft carrier into San Diego harbor. I’ve seen Luke Raley’s squad beat Nick Neidert’s in a cow-milking contest. I’ve met an octogenarian usher who tried to resign his post for health reasons but was given a more suitable job instead. I’ve eaten Sea Dogs Biscuits; I’ve had vegan tacos from a truck parked inside a stadium. This is what happens in the Minors. How could I not be excited that it’s back?

Matthew Leach, executive editor, Prospect Content: The players, and in particular, the players we’ve barely seen in more than a year and a half. There are so many enormously exciting young future stars who didn’t play Minor League games last year. I can’t wait to see Julio Rodriguez, Hunter Greene, Marco Luciano, Adley Rutschman and so many more.

Tyler Maun, contributor: The return of Minor League Baseball means a return of the drumbeat of normalcy that backdrops our every summer’s day and night. I can’t wait to see which prospects surprise us by breaking out from an unexpected place in their careers. I can’t wait to uncover stories like a prospect proposing after a game or an animal delaying an inning by wandering aimlessly through the outfield. But most of all, this year, I can’t wait to see fans in the stands. I can’t wait to see wacky concessions items. I can’t wait to see mascots and goofy promotions and wild uniforms. I can’t wait for the return of something we all love so much and have missed so dearly.

Jonathan Mayo, reporter: It’s such a tough dream to chase, making it to the big leagues. But watching the scores of Minor League players in action trying to be part of that miniscule percentage who do make it? That’s why I’ve always loved writing and talking about prospects and why I can’t wait to see them in action for real, and not just via reports from alternate sites or instructs.

Paige Schector, manager, Prospect and Minor League content: The players on their different career paths. In covering the Minors over the years, we’ve gotten to know the likes of Mike Trout and Trevor Bauer before the rest of the world. By getting back into game action, we’re going to be able to introduce future All-Stars and linchpins from every organization to legions of future fans. And I’m sure we’ll hear a lot of crazy-but-true, heart-tugging and inspirational stories along the way too.

Rob Terranova, contributor: I’ve often referred to Minor League Baseball as America’s best kept secret for its entertainment value, the talent on display, the camaraderie and… the food! The entire atmosphere just provides such a unique and incredible experience for anyone who has ever attended a game. Where else can you watch the stars of tomorrow for a fraction of the price in a family-friendly environment with dollar hot dog night?