So the Tampa Bay Devil Rays' Durham Bulls minor league team has turned into the latest version of Animal Farm? Recently some of their so called prized prospects lashed out at the Devil Rays for not bringing them up. Third baseman, B.J. Upton, catcher, Elijah Dukes, also outfielder, Delmon Young, condemned the organization for not promoting them to the big leagues. In a bit of irony, these colts aren't the first to hammer the Rays for neglect. When slugger, Johnny Comes, came up, he was sent right back down despite six home runs in 15 contest. Gomes' parting shot, "What do I have to prove down here?" Devil Ray manager, Joe Madden, censured the players for speaking out, but how does one justify what Tampa Bay is doing. For example, Delmon Young is batting .368 in triple A, that almost translates into a .300 average in the majors. ESPN baseball analyst, Peter Gammons, said Young was a franchise player. So how do you explain keeping him on farm rather than honing his skills against major league pitching. To quote Gomes, "What do I have to prove down here?" Madden, meanwhile, is playing utility reserve, Greg Norton, who is batting .228. Shouldn't he be considered for re-assignment and Young promoted. Does Rays management think these young studs aren't reading the line scores of the men ahead of them.
Young, Dukes, also Upton, have imploded at times: consider, Young flipped his bat at umpire for alledgedly making a bad call. Upton was cited for drunk driving, Dukes has been suspended several times for bad behavior. Good minor league players are anxious to be called up; consequently, the farm systems is a form of prison. The players routinely travel by bus, play in inadequate facilities, furthermore there are no professional role models for mentoring. Low budget teams like the Devil Rays deliberately keep their best prospects in triple A to deny them an early chance at free agency. If the minor leagues are considered a prison, then Young, Upton, and Dukes have every right to voice their concern over a sentence that denies them a chance at parole.