Much of the attention around the Dodgers is given to the major league squad. It’s hard to forget, however, that this is an organization that has become a powerhouse in the minor leagues as well.
Their success in the minors has a lot to do with coaching, scouting, and player development. One side of things that isn’t mentioned often, however, is their newfound dedication to feeding their players well.
Rob Walton is one of the many affiliate chefs that the Dodgers employ to cook meals for their players up and down the farm system. He is a part of the team’s commitment to making sure their players are taken care of in every sense of the word.
“When I showed up and first started doing this, the pregame was peanut butter and jelly,” Walton said. “The postgame was whatever was left over in the stadium, hot dogs, hamburgers. It was junk.”
It’s an unspoken reality for minor league players: they aren’t treated the same way players are in the pros. No one expects teams to treat them all to five-star restaurants every night, but it would make sense for organizations to look out for their future money makers.
The outcry over meals in the minor leagues took off when anonymous players within Oakland’s farm system shared what was given to them after games in early June.
Players in the Oakland A’s organization shared these photos of their recent post-game meals.
No employer would serve these meals to employees they care about. Why are the A’s serving them to their future Major Leaguers? pic.twitter.com/cIFqiPg6iX
— Advocates for Minor Leaguers (@MiLBAdvocates) June 1, 2021
No athlete can survive on this kind of meal, yet this is something that has been going on for years around the league. And while the Dodgers would at least feed their players ballpark food that was sure to fill them up at the very least, they still decided they could do better.
The Tulsa Drillers now routinely have restaurant-quality meals after every game, and the results speak for themselves.
“Players are retaining focus and energy well into the games and well into the season, like they have never done before,” Walton said. “The ‘food as fuel’ is easy to understand. The momentum, team bond and unit-building is essential. It’s amazing.”
It isn’t cheap to feed entire rosters quality food, but it’s something that organizations are starting to adopt in the hopes of gaining yet another advantage over their opponents. This is just the latest example of how the Dodgers have been a trailblazing organization, one which just so happens to make the lives of the players a bit better as well.