Not every Major League Baseball player has a direct path to the show. Some spend a couple years before getting called up, while a large percentage spend five or more seasons in the minor leagues and may not ever make it.
And if you get called up, there's no guarantee you stay. Few players know the trials of making it to the majors more than Nationals pitcher Aaron Barrett, who after getting drafted by Washington in the ninth round of the 2010 MLB Draft, spent four years working toward the big-league roster.
Once Barrett made it, he pitched for two seasons before suffering career-threatening injuries in his throwing arm. He then spent another four years in the minors before his memorable call-up at the end of the 2019 season.
A baseball player's career is a fragile thing. So when teams like the Astros use technology to steal signs and a number of pitchers fall victim to an unfair advantage, you have an issue where someone's livelihood is being negatively impacted.
"I think sign-stealing has been part of the game for a long time," Barrett said in an interview with Carol Maloney. "But when you bring technology into it and take it to the next level I think that's a whole other can of worms.
"You are affecting people's lives, there's no doubt about it," he said.
Barrett points to Kris Medlen, a pitcher who broke out with the Braves in 2012 with a 10-1 record, 1.57 ERA and 120 strikeouts in 138 innings.
Medlen had multiple surgeries and was out of baseball from 2013-15 and then again from 2016-18. Once he came back on May 4, 2018 with the Diamondbacks, Medlen got the start against the Astros.
He gave up nine hits and seven earned runs over four innings and has not pitched in the majors since.
"He ended up having to retire after that game because he didn't do well," he said. "You affect people's lives. This is more than just a game, and what I've been through over the last four years has really shown me that."
Much has been said about how the Astros cheated the Dodgers out of a World Series, or the Yankees out of an AL pennant.
But Barrett, thanks to his experiences the last nine years, is focusing on pitchers who were cheated out of a career because the Astros felt the need to take sign-stealing to the next level.
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