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  Minor League Baseball  

Les Stone

Minor League Baseball

Americans love Baseball. Sports, and especially baseball permeate the fabric of American society. The game is an incredibly important part of many people’s lives. Americans may be participants or merely spectators, but from early youth they have always identified baseball with heroism. The game negates socioeconomic boundaries. Rich and poor can identify with a particular team, obliterating the distinction between the different classes. Some even refer to it as a religion. Baseball has taken a special place in American mythology and it is distinctly an American phenomenon.

Some might say that sports in America masks the greater issue of ignorance, poverty and racism by bringing together for short periods of time people from different classes and backgrounds in an effort to blur their differences and therefore create an illusion of equality in America. One cannot forget that Baseball is big business, run by large corporations and wealthy individuals with lots of discretionary income.

However, Minor League Baseball retains its simplicity as an American pastime. Patriotism, apple pie, baseball and the flag go hand in hand. In simple ways, the Minor Leagues are still “pure” with the dream of riches distantly on the horizon. Most of these players are from small towns that nobody has ever heard of and never will. They play for teams with funny names. Most of these players will never “make it to the bigs” and will be forgotten. Many play for the love of the game.

It is said that Minor League Baseball is democracy in action. It can be a way up and out of a dead end life – realizing the dream of being famous, of being on TV, of playing baseball for millions of people. In these photographs I hope the viewer can see the pathos, the sadness and joy, the frustration and exhilaration, and the disarming beauty of baseball in America. Minor League Baseball is “real” baseball, the quintessential example of American mythology at its best. - Les Stone