(CBSNewYork)- The New York Mets were among several teams that released minor leaguers on Thursday as Major League Baseball looks to cut down the number of MiLB teams associated with each franchise.
Among the prospects released by the team was pitcher Andrew Church who took to Instagram and gave his assessment of the organization’s player development efforts and an explanation of his retirement that he came back from last season.
A former second round pick in the 2013 Draft, the 25-year-old Church called out the organization’s handling of his injury, signing of Tim Tebow and the “toxic” culture that has been built in the minor league system.
View this post on Instagram
Please read to understand my true feelings. Today I got released by the NY Mets organization. The people on the other end of the phone had nothing but good things to say and I appreciated that very much. Anyone that has seen me play and compete knows that I lay it all on the line no matter what. Every practice, every game. I am a competitor, a true warrior. It’s in my DNA. From the outside looking in, my baseball career probably raises a lot of questions. Why did you retire and come back? How come your numbers aren’t very good if you were that dedicated? I have always kept my opinions to myself out of respect for the organization I signed a contract with. But now that it’s officially over with them I’d like to say some things. One of the main reasons I retired was to keep myself from expressing how I felt. I was bitter, frustrated, and angry at the Mets organization. I felt my competitive nature was being taken advantage of. They knew I would never say no to competing and would fly me around to fill in for anyone that got injured. I realized this wasn’t in my best interest when my delayed flight finally landed in the 3rd inning, and I was on the mound in a AAA baseball game for the first time, without any warm up throws. My UCL originally tore that night. Instead of seeing a doctors like I asked, they sent me back to High A to pitch in the playoffs. When I told them I couldn’t I was made out to be the bad guy. Then the next year, they made a mockery of our team by putting a celebrity on it to sell more tickets. I saw players lose their jobs because of it. We weren’t playing to win, we were playing to make everyone else money. Not the players. We never saw a cut. Well, allegedly that one player did. I think people are starting to understand that more now but they didn’t in 2018 when it was happening again. I was fed up. I spent my whole childhood honing in my passion and anger, to not let it get out of control, but it was and I was going to explode. So I took the opposite direction, I bottled it and silenced myself. I took some time away and cleared my head. Continued in comments..
In the post, Church does say that the organization had nothing but good things to say about him and he appreciated that. But, he then says that one of the biggest reasons he retired was to keep himself from expressing his frustration and anger over how the organization had handled his career. Church says he felt that his competitive nature was taken advantage of by the team knowing that he would “never say not to competing and flying me around to fill in for anyone that got injured.”
Church then points to an incident in which he says the Mets flew him to fill in at a AAA game and with the flight delayed, he didn’t get time to warm up. He says that his UCL tore that night but instead of the organization sending him to see a doctor, Church says the team sent him back to High A to pitch in the playoffs.
He then appears to express frustration over the team’s signing of Tim Tebow in 2016 by saying the organization “made a mockery of our team by putting a celebrity on it to sell more tickets.” Church’s comments continued in the comments of the post and says that he believes the new player development staff is making strides to be better but there is a “toxic” culture. Full comments below:
“Baseball has always been the only constant in my life. No matter if I’m active or not I will always play. It’s my release. I asked to be reinstated in 2019, when a new player development regime took over for the Mets. I honestly think they are making strides to be a better organization, but the culture that has been built for decades within that organization is toxic. Filled with snakes and bottom feeders trying to elevate their professional careers at the expense of the players, with no remorse. I hadn’t pitched in a competitive game in over a year, but they needed a filler because someone got hurt the night before. I took a red eye flight, to one stadium, a 7 hour bus trip, another flight, and a taxi to the stadium I would be pitching in. Again I was in a AAA baseball game with no worry about my well being. I lost my drive to perform for an organization who continuously treats us as pawns in their chess games. Especially when the ones doing it, don’t know what it takes to be a baseball player. And some must’ve just forgotten. Ignorance is a scary thing. We see it in mainstream society too often. Ignorance with power and a lack of empathy is, in my eyes, the scariest of all evils. Thank you to all the players and coaches who had the passion and drive to empower each other and push the game forward. F*** you to everyone who wasn’t. You have no place in professional baseball.
To my future, you all know I can’t stop. And I get scary when I’m motivated. Watch out! CarveNation”