How the 2016 Hartford Yard Goats impacted the 2021 Colorado Rockies
Ryan McMahon hit an even .300 at Class-A Modesto in 2015 with 18 homers and 75 RBI. The statistics and progress were enough to earn him a promotion to Double-A Hartford.
McMahon said he looked back on not only the Hartford road trip but his first years in the minors as a huge time of learning and growth.
"“That time was so good for me,” McMahon said. ” I mean, I was a sheltered kid from Orange County. I learned a lot about the world in the minors and made a lot of great friends along the way. That’s a great thing about the minor leagues, honestly. It’s a melting pot, right? There are guys from all over the world, from Venezuela, the Dominican Republic, Florida, California, so you get everybody else’s kind of different perspective. Because we are around each other so much, we just got to learn so much more about each other and kind of how the world works.”"
Working together to stay entertained and upbeat while also becoming better baseball players was a challenge, McMahon said.
“It was a grind,” he smiled. “The things that happened on that road trip molded us. We’re driving in the bus 10-12 hours every three or four days. It was a whirlwind, but we all got really close because we were around each other all of the time. We leaned on each other a lot.”
Kyle Freeland was in Modesto with McMahon and made the jump to Double-A with him as well. However, Freeland made just 14 starts for the Yard Goats before being promoted to Triple-A Albuquerque.
While he may not have been on the entire road trip, Freeland still remembers how it impacted him.
“It was a different kind of grind in the minor leagues for us. There was so much unknown. We didn’t know when the ballpark was going to open, where we were going to play, everything like that,” Freeland recalled. “As players, you already had the minor league grind and then on top of that, all of that made it even tougher.”