Giving up on continuing a dream is never easy, especially if it is all that you have known for the past decade plus. There are players across the country who take Minor League salaries and ride buses for seven to 12 hours at a time, just trying to get a few more days in the show.
Adam Rosales is currently one of those working to get back to where he has been so often since 2008. Rosales sits inside his visiting locker three hours before the game, headphone on, but welcoming. He is waiting for any comers to ask questions or advice in a nearly empty clubhouse. At 36 years old, Rosales is in rare air.
There are 96 players who have played in Major League Baseball in 2019 who debuted in 2008 or earlier. Additionally, there are 45 players who debuted in the same year or older who played a game last season, but have yet to play in one this season. Rosales falls in the latter category, as he waits in Triple-A Columbus in hopes of a call to play in a game for his 12th straight Major League season.
Rosales is far from a household name in the big leagues, but between the Majors and Minor Leagues, Rosales has played in 1,471 games in his professional baseball career. In 11 Minor League seasons, Rosales has hit .274 with an .801 OPS.
Even if he does not play another game in the Major Leagues, Rosales’ career lasted longer than all but 28 players who debuted in his 2008 class. His longevity has been strong. His class has seen future Hall of Famers Clayton Kershaw and Max Scherzer. It has also seen one-game players Alex Serrano, Matt Tupman, and Chalie Zink. For Rosales, he has been able to appreciate every moment of it.
“Every day you are up there is an honor to be up there, to put on a Major League Baseball uniform,” Rosales said. “Every day, you should be proud to be a Major League Baseball player. It is every boy’s dream.”
After a strong Spring Training with the Twins, it looked like Rosales was a strong candidate for a 12th season. He hit .278 with a 1.044 OPS in 36 at bats. This included three doubles and four home runs. However, he was traded to Cleveland and has been buried since.
Rosales is not just about words, he is about action as well. Nobody played the game harder and with more passion that him. This is proof about the way that he took, and still takes the game. Rosales was always known for the speed in which he motored around the bases after a home run. In fact, he still does this after each of his seven home runs that he has launched with Columbus this season.
“(I sprint around the bases) the best I can,” Rosales said. “I’ve slowed down a little bit over the years, but I definitely like to keep that same energy that I have had since I was 12 years old.”
With his experience and time in big league clubhouses, Rosales has a lot to offer a young team. He is a willing participant in this as well for anyone who is seeking advice and can show them how to play the game the right way.
“For me personally, I just like to listen to the guys,” Rosales said. “I try to learn what they are going through. If the conversation comes up, I explain the experience that I have been through, what I have done over the last few years. I basically, just keep my ears open and do whatever I can to help.”
The biggest issue for Rosales is that he is not on the Indians 40-man roster. In order to be promoted before the end of the season, he will need to be added. To enhance this, Rosales is hitting .215 in 68 games with Columbus. Another issue is that Rosales is going cold at the exact wrong time. He has only five hits in his last 49 at bats, sending his average from .242 to .218.
Rosales is an easy guy to root for, as he is just trying to keep the dream alive. Only time will tell if he gets to add to his just over eight years of big league service time. Regardless, it has been quite a ride.