Mike Cameron saw a lot during his playing days. The longtime MLB outfielder played for eight different teams during his 17-year career that spanned three decades from 1995 to 2011.
There were plenty of advancements in baseball both on and off the field from 1995 to 2011, and Cameron has the unique perspective of playing through them.
Cameron joined WEEI’s Rob Bradford on the Audacy Original Podcast “Baseball Isn’t Boring” and talked about the different pressure that young players face in the social media age.
“I think the difference is that the kids today are hyped from the time they’re drafted until they reach a certain point or until they reach the big leagues. It’s all broadcast on social media,” Cameron said (21:18 in player above). “So by the time the kid gets to the big leagues today, you already know everything about him. I think that adds a tremendous amount of pressure on guys to perform because they’ve been hyped for so long.”
It’s not just once a player gets drafted, though. We’ve seen countless teenagers touted as the next big thing and youth sports are all over social media, adding pressure that wasn’t there a decade or two ago.
“In my day, it was you’re a Baseball America guy, you may have been the best guy, like I heard about Andruw Jones, I didn’t know about him until I saw him play and I was like ‘Oh, OK.’ Then when you get here people have to figure you out,” Cameron continued. “Now, by the time you get here, they know everything about you. I think that’s one of the biggest differences and probably adds more pressure to most guys who are just getting a chance to come into the game and just trying to get their feet on the ground and trying to get going. So much hype about everybody and I think that can be difficult for a young guy sometimes.”
Cameron had two short stints with the White Sox in 1995 and 1996 – totaling 56 at-bats – before finishing sixth in AL Rookie of the Year voting in 1997. The former All-Star earned three Gold Glove awards in his career, including one in each league.
While Mike has long retired, there is now another Cameron looking to make a name for himself in baseball. That’s Daz Cameron, the first-round pick (37th overall) by the Houston Astros in the 2015 MLB draft.
Daz is looking to follow in his father’s footsteps but has batted just .201 with five home runs through 73 games in the majors. He spent time with the Tigers in the past three seasons and is now playing for Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate.
“He was talked about, highly touted. I think now he kind of understands how it was. He had the added element of a dad that played in the big leagues,” Cameron said. “I told him ‘I’ll never understand the pressure that you’re under from the lineage perspective, but I understand everything you’re going through from a baseball perspective. If I ever get overbearing tell me because I don’t know what you’re going through unless you tell me what you’re going through.’”