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The minors' contradictory culture

Striving to reach the bigs, hopefuls are living a dream -- sort of

Updated: December 17, 2010, 1:35 PM ET
By Marty Dobrow | Special to ESPNBoston.com

Editor's note: "Knocking on Heaven's Door: Six Minor Leaguers in Search of the Baseball Dream" by Marty Dobrow reveals the double-edged culture of camaraderie and cut-throat competition in minor league baseball through intimate portraits of six players striving to make the big leagues.

In the following excerpts (reprinted with permission of the University of Massachusetts Press), Dobrow relates the first professional game of Brad Baker, a first-round pick of the Boston Red Sox in 1999; ...

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