Ogden, Utah was a little slice of Heaven for Ralston Cash this fall.
Cash, a 2010 Lakeview Academy graduate and second round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in June’s MLB amateur draft, was rounding out his first summer of rookie league ball play, which happened to include a final stop with the Ogden Raptors for the final three weeks of the season.
Making it to the Advanced Rookie League championships of the Pioneer League made it even that much more of a memorable experience for Cash, who is home during the offseason with his family in Cornelia. On top of that, he doesn’t regret his decision to pass on a college career at the University of Georgia to begin his professional journey. Cash was one of the younger players in the Advanced Rookie League, which is heavily populated with players that have just wrapped up their college careers.
“It’s a lot easier and a lot more fun than I thought it would be,” Cash said. “It still blows my mind that I get paid to play baseball.
“This is an unbelievable opportunity that God has blessed me with.”
Cash can’t say enough good things about playing with the
Raptors, even though he finished with no record and a 12.00 ERA over six innings pitched. He said his only problem was staying focused on the mound with the large crowds of about 3,500 fans per game and great community support that the Ogden Raptors received during the playoff stretch.
However, he lights up when he speaks about playing for three weeks in this mid-sized town just north of Salt Lake City, nestled in the scenic Rocky Mountains. Cash says the view from the outfield of the stadium at Lindquist Field is something fitting for a postcard, as is many other cities the club traveled in that region of the country.
Players survive by living with host families at that level of the minors. His favorite host was a Dr. Doxey, who kept Cash and the other visiting players well fed with steaks, ribs and the other best meats.
Before games on Saturdays, players would have cookouts with the other host families at the stadium and enjoy fellowship together. Clearly, when you’re a pro player in a small town, you get treated like a celebrity. Even driving around in a 1979 Cadillac Deville made the experience exciting and not draining, considering they played every day of the week.
“The way they treated us, we might as well have been the Los Angeles Dodgers,” Cash said.
Cash, The Times’ 2009 Baseball Player of the Year, says the team in Ogden has great chemistry and loved to have fun on the field. Before the games, they had a trademark dance they would bust out along with the Hip Hop song, “You’re a Jerk.” He said it would always catch the other team, usually taking batting practice at the time, off guard.
“We had out entire 40-man roster in on it,” Cash said. “We even got the Mormon kid on our team in on it and he was one of the best.”
And with a schedule that leaves free time in the morning, Cash decided he’d spend time stretching his legs and exploring the city’s downtown area for a few hours every morning. Around town, he took time to take in all the antique shops and add to his watch collection, as well as watching cargo move up and down the railroad tracks.
After the season with the Ogden Raptors ended, Cash happily accepted an invitation for an Instructional League at the Dodgers’ minor league home in Glendale, Ariz., but was unable to play due to a pulled groin. Although disappointed by not being able to play in the Instructional League, he feels stronger now with the rehabilitation work complete.
Cash spent the majority of the summer pitching with the Rookie League Dodgers in Glendale before his promotion to Ogden. He finished with a 2-2 record and a 3.60 ERA before the season ended Sept. 1.
Cash will report back to the Dodgers’ minor league spring training complex in Glendale in February. There’s a chance with a good spring training, he’ll start the season in Class A with the Great Lakes Loons of the Midwest League.