BASEBALL'S BOUNTY
Baseball America|November 2020
The affiliated minor leagues are shrinking, but that doesn’t mean competitive baseball is going away
J.J. COOPER

I know I’m lucky. I have spent nearly two decades immersed in baseball every day while working for Baseball America.

I’m convinced I wouldn’t have gotten this opportunity without spending years down on the farm.

In my first job out of college, I was a sportswriter for the Macon (Ga.) Telegraph.

One of the best assignments I had was the chance to cover the Macon Braves, Atlanta’s low-class A affiliate in the South Atlantic League from 1991 to 2002. Future Braves Andruw Jones, Rafael Furcal and Jason Marquis played for Macon during my tenure. So did a steady stream of great minor leaguers who taught me that not all Class A stars go on to further success.

Being a 20-something watching baseball daily was formative. I don’t think I’d be at BA without spending 70 nights a year in a musty press box that hung from the roof of 60-year old Luther Williams Field.

And then, the team was gone. Just as I was getting ready to leave Macon for BA, the Braves moved upstate to Rome, Ga.

This offseason, a lot of cities and fans are getting ready to go through what fans in Macon went through nearly 20 years ago. The Appalachian League, which had operated at the Rookie-level since 1963, has already announced that it’s going to be a summer college wood bat league next year. Other leagues will almost assuredly follow suit. More than 40 clubs are expected to be dropped from affiliated ball as part of Major League Baseball’s plan to reorganize the minor leagues.

Continue reading your story on the app

Continue reading your story in the magazine

MORE STORIES FROM BASEBALL AMERICAView All

OLD MEETS NEW

Brian Snitker expertly navigated the Braves to a third straight division title despite myriad pitching injuries

5 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

Focusing on the Northeast pays off for the Indians

Over the past few years, the Indians have mined the Northeast for talent. The 2020 team got big-time contributions from former college righthanders Aaron Civale (Northeastern) and James Karinchak (Bryant). Waiting in the wings are three more prospects from the region, all from high school: third baseman Nolan Jones (Bensalem, Pa.), catcher Bo Naylor (Mississauga, Ont.) and righthander Lenny Torres (Beacon, N.Y). All five of those players were signed by area scout Mike Kanen, a former Baseball America intern. BA recently spoke with Kanen about his first impressions of those players. The interview is edited for brevity.

3 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

SECRET WEAPON

Bobby Dickerson was integral in transforming the Padres’ infield from error-prone to October-caliber

6 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

TRUST THE TOOLS

The minor league season was lost, but dynasty players should keep the faith for these nine prospects

5 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

HISTORY IN THE MAKING: FEW TEAMS CAN MATCH THE DODGERS' DOMINANCE

The 2020 Dodgers led the National League in runs scored and fewest runs allowed.

3 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

BLUEPRINT

From scouting to player development to analytics to acquisition, the Dodgers cover all the bases as baseball’s model franchise.

8 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

COAST TO COAST

Andrew Friedman has more money to play with in Los Angeles than he did in Tampa Bay, but his core principles remain unchanged— just like the results

7 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

WINTER OF DISCONTENT

The hot stove could quickly turn to deep freeze

4 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

A MODERN-DAY CRASH DAVIS

Cody Decker mashed his way into the hearts of minor league fans

2 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020

A LASTING LEGACY

All-star player. Decorated manager. Ambassador for the Dominican Republic. Felipe Alou wore many hats, but above all he was a pioneer who helped pave the way for generations of Latino players.

7 mins read
Baseball America
December 2020
RELATED STORIES

2021 TOPPS PRO DEBUT CHROME GOES BACK TO THE MINORS

2021 Topps Pro Debut Baseball offers the annual flagship-style look at minor league baseball.

2 mins read
Sports Card Monthly
February 2021

EARLY LOOK AT 2021 TOPPS TRIBUTE

THE PRODUCT HAS SOME BIG-TIME HITS

2 mins read
Sports Card Monthly
January 2021

FAT'S IN FIRE FOR A-ROD & J.LO!

She’s nagging about weight, but sports big doesn’t care

1 min read
Globe
December 14, 2020

Turn a Classic Wooden Bat

Learn how to beat the chatter.

7 mins read
Popular Woodworking
December 2020

GOT QUESTIONS ON 2020 BOWMAN CHROME BASEBALL?

WE’VE GOT ANSWERS

3 mins read
Sports Card Monthly
November 2020

Sofa

A sofa, the site of a family’s history, receives and gives a second life.

10+ mins read
World Literature Today
Autumn 2020

THE GAMES MUST GO ON

COVID-19 UPENDED THE NBA, THE NFL, THE NHL, AND MLB. HOW THE PROFESSIONAL SPORTS LEAGUES RESPONDED OFFERS A GLIMPSE INTO OUR FUTURE.

10+ mins read
Reason magazine
November 2020

FULLY LOADED Fernando Tatis Jr. does it all

Stop me if you have heard this before: Baseball is in trouble. The game has lived through more than its share of scandals, work stoppages, and demographic challenges. And that was just in 2020.

7 mins read
Sports Card Monthly
October 2020

LOOKING BACK...AND AHEAD

2021 TOPPS BASEBALL SERIES 1 CELEBRATES 70 YEARS OF THE BRAND’S RELEASE

5 mins read
Sports Card Monthly
October 2020

ARCHIVING HISTORY

AS IN THE PAST, 2020 TOPPS ARCHIVES MIXES OLD AND NEW

2 mins read
Sports Card Monthly
October 2020