Anyone in attendance knew something was up based on the loud cheers Randy Walter received each time he stepped to the plate. In case you didn't know, Walter has decided to retire from baseball.
He told me that he didn't have anything planned except to go home and spend time with his family. He also said this was something he had been thinking about for some time.
Call me crazy, but if you have been thinking about walking away from baseball -- something he's known nearly his whole life -- wouldn't you have something more solid planned? Also, why now? Why not wait until the season is over. That's three more weeks. Could moving on with your life not wait three weeks?
No. Not when the real reason behind the departure has more to do with playing time than it does with seeing the writing on the wall or not having fun playing a game.
When I asked manager Dave Machemer to elaborate on the how's, when's and why's of the situation, he became defensive and wanted to keep things private. I spoke with Walter and he, too, wanted to not discuss the details other than that he made up his mind and was looking forward.
There's also the numbers game. You have five outfielders (Horwitz, Ortmeier, Walter, Schierholtz, Foster) for three spots, plus two first basemen (Ishikawa and Von Schell) for one spot. One of the extra guys gets the DH spot. When you don't have the DH, three guys luck out.
I have little doubt that the driving force behind Walter's decision is playing time. It's part of the business. If you don't play, you can't develop. If you don't develop, you can't move towards the Majors. It's a vicious cycle, but it is also par for the course.
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