Q&A: Jennifer Pendergraft, Assistant GM of the Visalia Rawhides

10 05 2011

As mentioned earlier, one of the biggest hardships for minor leaguers is finances. This especially holds true for lower-level players, who earn as little as $850/month in their first season in professional baseball.

One of the ways that players look to save money is via host families. Several minor league teams offer players the chance to stay with a local family, who volunteer to house/feed the player for the season.

I had the chance to talk to Jennifer Pendergraft, who is the assistant general manager of the Class-A Visalia Rawhides, to learn more about how host families work. Jennifer took over the Rawhides’ host family program when she came aboard in 2008, and since then it has grown to about ten families (who host about fifteen players/coaches per season on average).

Why would a player want to opt into a host-family program (versus, say, splitting the cost of an apartment with teammates)?

Several reasons: 1) The season only lasts a little over 5 months, 5.5 if you make the playoffs, and almost all renting companies will take no less than a 6 month lease.  2) These guys don’t know how long they will be in town for, so they’re all leery about putting their name on a lease without being guaranteed roommates the entire time.  3) Many of these guys do not have cars.  4) None of these guys bring furniture or housing basics with them when they come, so that all needs to be rented.  5) Splitting utilities with any roommate is always a lot harder than it sounds.  6) After all that is accomplished, the team is on the road half of the season, so they don’t even get to enjoy their “home” the entire time. Read the rest of this entry »


The 40-Man Roster: What Does It Mean?

18 04 2011

Dellin Betances of the Trenton Thunder is on the New York Yankees 40-man roster.

If you look back at my last post, you’ll notice that several players on the Trenton Thunder roster are part of the New York Yankees’ “40-man roster”. Besides having some sort of special designation, what does that mean for those guys? Are they major-leaguers or not?

For some fans, the explanation of the 40-man roster and its quirks can be just as bumpy as the road to the majors itself. So grab some popcorn and dig in to the batter’s box as we try to explain how this all works. Read the rest of this entry »

Welcome to MTM!

3 04 2011

Thanks for coming by Making The Majors! Like every young baseball player who aspires to become the next Derek Jeter or Roy Halladay, it all has to start somewhere. So whether you’re looking to learn about the next budding superstar or just want to read about life in the minor leagues, Making The Majors is the place to be.

Making The Majors is a blog focused on the world down on the farm system. It will provide insight and analysis on minor-league baseball as a whole. and look at what it takes for someone to make it to the big leagues. There will be Q&A’s with experts, player interviews, and in-depth analysis of life in the minors.

In addition, much of the reporting  in this blog will complement a heavily-researched magazine-style piece I will be writing for Fameology.net, a blog run by myself and my fellow students in Professor Mary Quigley’s Advanced Reporting class at NYU’s Arthur L. Carter Institute of Journalism.

So dig in to the batter’s box and get ready to play ball!