By Todd Johnson
It is hard to believe that another minor league season is basically over. All that is left is for the Eugene Emeralds to try and make a deep run in the playoffs . It seems like the MiLB just grinds to a halt every year. Right now, though, I’d like to take this time to to thank all the great people who help me cover the minor leagues. I can’t do it alone.
It all begins with a great photographs by Dylan Heuer and the timely emails I get daily from the club’s media relations department. In addition, the Iowa Cubs Gameday Twitter account is a must add.
Connor Pearce has been great all year. Whenever I needed a photograph, he always steps up and Ben McKee always has the timeliest emails. And of course, Broadcaster Mick is always great with his inside stories on the air during the game and on his Saturday afternoon talk show.
Scott Kornberg is one of the most approachable people in minor league baseball. He is always fantastic to work with as he provides insight, background, history, and even some humor into the long grind of a minor league season. Larry Kave takes great photographs and organizes them in folders to use throughout the year. And Kristen Call keeps me up-to-date on the happenings in the ballpark.
Darin Pritchett has always been kind to me and this year Brendan King took over a lot of responsibilities and duties as the new guy. Brendan was great in helping to arrange interviews and access during my travels this summer. As well, Rikk Carlson is always amazing as a photographer and a friend. It was great getting to meet Rebecca Snyder this summer as she provides some photos from behind the plate.
If I was to give out an award for best social media presence, it’s clearly the Emeralds. Their Facebook page is amazing with it’s collection of fan pictures and prospect photographs. When I retire in a couple years, Eugene is definitely on the list. In addition, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Matt Dompe who is always there with an answer when I have a question.
When it came to the extended spring training, Arizona Phil was always the man in the know. However this year, he didn’t cover as many games as he has in the past. And with John now gone, it left a hole in the reporting for the Arizona League. I was able to find two photographers in Jerry Kime and Freek Bouw of Phrake Photography whose pictures kept me in the loop as to what the players actually look like. While I didn’t get the story behind a player, I at least know what they look like.
Cubs Den’s Stephanie Lynn has always been such a delight to deal with and probably even more so this year. She had some great pics of the Myrtle Beach players on the road in the gray road unis. You don’t get to see those too much and they always stand out whenever I see them. It was also great getting to meet Michael Ernst of Cubs Den in Davenport and to talk to him for about 45 minutes about the system. He had some tough shoes to fill and he’s doing a great job of just being him, which is all you can ask.
I don’t know who reads every day, but thank you very much. I hope you’re able to find what you’re looking for. You can always ask questions, whether it’s on Twitter or Facebook. Hopefully I can either have an answer for you, a picture, or, my favorite, a baseball card.
There are a few of you I talk to every day about prospects, development, and what not. I kinda live for those relationships as I’ve met most of you. I just wanted to let you know that I treasure all your insights, opinions, analysis, and most of all, your friendships. Sometimes, life is not easy and just having people talk to you makes it all seem a little bit easier to deal with.
Even though the regular season is over, there are a lot of things to look forward to before spring training begins in five months. Eugene will start their playoffs tomorrow, the big league Cubs are in the thick of a pennant race, there’s the Arizona Fall League, 40 man roster decisions, the Rule Five draft, MLB free agency, MiLB free agency, trades. and prospect lists to analyze. Some times I wonder if the off season is just as busy. It’s almost as if it never ends.
And I look forward to covering it all.