Late Wednesday night, the Omaha Storm Chasers clinched a division title. Fans had already all been cleared out of Werner Park, because it took Albuquerque 11 innings to finish beating the pesky 2nd-place Memphis. But the players waited in the clubhouse with champagne and beer. They waited more than a half hour after their own win before finally getting to pop those bottles. From the pictures* and videos the team shared the next day, it looks like the players enjoyed themselves.
*check out photographer Brad Williams’ gallery from the celebration. Not team-affiliated, but awesome nonetheless.
BUT. I always wonder how awesome it really is for the players who, after a long season in the minors, could finally be somewhere else if they hadn’t made the playoffs. The ones who would otherwise be September callups, or the ones whose exhausted bodies just need some rest. The season is long, and the playoffs make it longer. I’m curious as to whether there are players who secretly (or even openly) wish someone else had earned the division title instead.
Disclaimer: I don’t know. I’d be lying if I said I was close friends with any of these guys, so I can’t emphasize enough the fact that this is just conjecture on a Monday afternoon.
If you were Clint Robinson or Lorenzo Cain or David Lough or anyone who had been looking for a September callup, would you rather go for a PCL title or spend those days in the Majors? I have heard in the past from minor leaguers who had mixed emotions about the playoffs. Even if they weren’t eyeing a callup, they were ready for the long season to be over so they could see their wives, children, and their own beds.
Obviously, as a Chasers fan, I want them to win it all. Why not? Bringing home hardware would be the perfect way to cap an unquestionably successful opening season at the new ballpark. And it would be SO much fun to take pictures of a championship celebration. But I can’t help but wonder if any of the guys on the field will be wishing they were somewhere else.