A recent sweep of the Florida State League first half North Division champion Dunedin Blue Jays and taking two out of three from the Charlotte Stone Crabs was a great way to start the second half of the season for the Manatees. It was even a better welcoming for newcomers John Dishon, Seth Harvey and Jason Rogers. The trio was promoted from Class A Wisconsin to Brevard County on June 21 and is just some of the hundreds of players making their way through Minor League Baseball in hopes of making it big, to see the lights, sounds, and glory of Major League Baseball.
Dishon, an outfielder from Beaumont, Texas, has played in four games with Brevard County since his promotion. In 11 at bats, he has three hits, including one double and a RBI. A 42nd round selection in the 2010 MLB draft, John was assigned to the Rookie League Helena Brewers, where he met current Manatees' skipper Joe Ayrault.
As an avid and talented football player in high school, baseball came second. After breaking his neck in high school, Dishon switched paths to baseball and went to play at Louisiana State University.
"I didn't get a lot of playing time while in college, but the Brewers decided to take a chance on me," Dishon said.
After two seasons in Helena, John spent the first half of 2012 with the Timber Rattlers, before being promoted to Brevard County.
"Honestly, it was an unexpected call up," Dishon said. "I am excited though. It is a good opportunity to show my stuff and skills. It was kind of make or break for me. I love it here though. It feels good to sweat. I have met a lot of great people and formed great relationships."
Dishon, who spent quite a bit of time on a plane after getting the promotion phone call from Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson, has had great support from his family, wife Kristy and two-year-old daughter Parker.
"It felt like I was on a plane three out of the four days of our All-Star break," Dishon said. "It's a good thing though. I feel like I am going somewhere when getting promoted. My family has been great. They support me so much."
Rogers, a left fielder and first baseman, has put his bat to work in his first few games in the Florida State League. In six games, he is 7-for-17 with six RBI. Rogers, a native of Riverside, Ga., has been more than anxious to join the Manatees after one and a half seasons with Wisconsin.
"During the All-Star break we were talking with the coaches and when I was heading back for the second half with the Timber Rattlers I received a call from Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson," Rogers said. "I was really relieved and ready."
Jason, an All-Star with the Rattlers in the Midwest League this year, was more than ready to make the next step towards the majors.
"It felt good (coming to Brevard)," Rogers said. "I thought I was going to be promoted last year, but there were certain circumstances so I didn't. It was definitely the best thing for me. It's another obstacle course. I am comfortable with my teammates and excited."
Joining Dishon and Rogers is Seth Harvey, the only pitcher in the trio promoted to Brevard. Harvey, who grew up in the bright sun of southern California and a graduate of Washington State University, had pitched in 22 games with Class A Wisconsin. In 23.2 innings pitched, Harvey compiled 13 saves, 32 strikeouts and a 4-0 record.
"I grew up in southern California and I always played baseball with the guys there in the summer," Harvey said. "I just took a liking to baseball. My dad was always coaching me."
Harvey, drafted in the 37th round of the 2010 MLB draft by Milwaukee, spent three months in the Arizona League before being optioned to Helena in 2011. Seth joined Class A Wisconsin in the beginning of 2012 season. Although it was tough to leave Wisconsin, Harvey is excited for the chances he will get in Brevard County.
"I also received the call from Wisconsin manager Matt Erickson the day after the All-Star game in Kane County," Harvey said. "I guess what I had done earned me a promotion to Brevard. It was tough to leave Wisconsin, but it is bitter sweet. I am excited to make another move in my career."
The many paths taking hundreds of players through Minor League Baseball ending in an ultimate ending of playing for the big leagues clubs can be both daunting and intimidating. Many paths come with injuries. Many come with disappointment, and many come with a road that never reaches the majors. Players take many paths, but everyone wants to make it big. Being able to take a path of promotion is one that many players never reach, but for Dishon, Harvey and Rogers, it's another large leap on the path.
"From an outside standpoint it is a big leap," Harvey said. "It's a difficult concept, but the game doesn't change. You are always expected to do what you always do. It can be overwhelming making the leap, but you just have to stay focused and stay within yourself."