Two of Triple-A Baseball’s longest tenured managers Mike Jirschele and Bobby Jones have been friends and rivals on the field for years. This week Jirschele’s Omaha Royals are taking on Jones’ Round Rock Express in the Pacific Coast League playoffs. it provides a chance for the two skippers to continue their friendly rivalry. In the story link, both men talk about their mutual respect and friendship, their individual careers, and their experiences as long time minor league baseball managers. It’s a good read.
It’s hard to believe that Chris Lubanski is still just 26 years old. The Kennedy Kenrick High School in Pennsylvania product never lived up to the hype he carried when the Kansas City Royals made him the 5th overall pick of the 2003 draft. After three promising seasons in Low-A, High-A, and Double-A as he climbed the organizational ladder, Lubanski hit a wall when he got to Triple-A batting just .208, .242, and .227 in three seasons with the Omaha Royals. By the end of the 2009 season, the Royals had given up and he signed with the Toronto Blue Jays and put up respectable numbers, hitting .293 with 24(2B), 6(3B), 17HR’s, and 57RBI’s in 100 games during an injury plagued season for the Las Vegas 51’s. He landed with the Florida Marlins organization in 2011 but was released in Spring Training and was not picked up by another club, so the former bonus baby found himself on the fringes of professional baseball as a member of the Chico Outlaws of the independent North American League. Lubanski’s prayers of a second chance at affiliated ball were answered by the Philadelphia Phillies who signed him in early August and sent him to Double-A Reading, miles from where he grew up. In the story, Lubanski talks about refusing to give up on his big league dreams, the opportunity to play at a stadium that he used to roam as a kid, and keeping the faith as he has dealt with loads of adversity. It’s a great read.
Lubanski’s road finally winds to Reading — Reading Eagle