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Minor-league baseball: New Jersey players swing for the bigs

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Meanwhile, Mark Skeels, then-general manager of the Newark Bears, is awaiting Redman in the tunnel between the dugout and the clubhouse, clutching a cellphone and a piece of paper with a phone number scrawled on it.

Moments earlier Skeels had been on the phone with Joe Klein, the commissioner of the Atlantic League, for which the Bears play. The Milwaukee Brewers organization wants Redman to join their Triple-A squad ASAP, with a chance to be a September call-up with the major league team. When a major league organization says ASAP, that means Redman will need to call the Brewers to hash out the details between innings. During the game he will then run through a mental checklist of what he needs to do – basically, throw his clothes, bats, and gloves in a suitcase before hopping the next plane for redemption.

Skeels had passed the news on to Tim "Rock" Raines, the manager of the Bears who's better known for being one of the greatest base stealers in major league history. Now, as Redman trots in from center field, Raines hangs his beefy arms over the dugout fence and stares down his leadoff hitter with a devilish smile.

"Yo, Tike," he calls out. "Milwaukee wants you, man."

Redman wipes the sweat from his brow and rolls his eyes dismissively as he skips down the dugout steps, grateful for the half inning's respite from the blazing sun.

Raines is known for teasing his players – "especially … the guys who've been there before," Raines later admits – but Redman's not in the mood today. Quarter to noon is early in the day for a professional baseball player, and 95-degree weather will knock the sense of humor right out of you. And besides, Aug. 19 is late in the season for the bigs to come calling.

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