Random off-season stuff

No interview today for you devout readers, literally both of you, Mom and Dad.  Instead, I am going to rant.  And in light of the recent tragedy in Haiti, I am going to rant about performance enhancers.  I know the two don’t go together at all.  Basically, I was trying to throw you off with the first point of that sentence.  Seriously, Haiti sucks.  Not the country.  Donate if you can.  It seems kind of fruitless in light of the fact that I am broke and can’t donate squat.  But if you have money to waste on random (feces), you know.  Who am I to tell you what to do?  Anyhoo, back to performance enhancers.

I am going to let you all in on a little secret.  I know plenty of people within professional baseball that have used performance enhancers at one time of another.  Now, I’m not a rat.  And no names will be divulged here.  But, the fact remains.  I’m not saying that these people used while in pro ball.  That is not my point.  
Regardless of widespread belief, minor leaguers, normally, don’t make any money.  For those rare players that sign big contracts out of high school or college, they receive a signing bonus and an absolute (dung) contract.  Signing bonuses can range from millions to a thousand dollars.  For the rare exception that garner seven figures or amounts close to, have little sympathy.  Most people don’t make seven figures in their lifetime.  And these are guys that have a leg up based solely on their talent base.  And, don’t get me wrong, they have worked their butts off for that.  They are talented.
But I’m speaking for the senior college signs and anyone else who signs for less than six figures.  The guys that don’t rake in huge signing bonuses still sign for (dung) contracts.  You see, through my time in the minors, I have always gravitated to those guys.  I was drafted as a senior out of Arizona State and given a sizable bonus.  Thank you, Boston.  
I won’t hide anything.  I signed with Boston in the third round for a quarter million dollars.  I am the exception.  I spent my whole signing bonus to buy a house in the metro Phoenix area.  I own the house, without mortgage.  That was the blessing.  But for seven years, I lived paycheck to paycheck like all my other senior signs.  So I understand what these guys go through.  
The paychecks are small.  My first year in pro ball paid me 850 dollars a month, before taxes, and housing during the season is not compensated.  My eighth year in pro ball is going to command a “huge” check in the neighborhood of 2100 a month before taxes.  And no, we don’t get paid year round.  Just the five months we play.  Good luck finding a solid paying job for the other six months of the year.  The math seems off.  One month is for spring training.  By the way, spring training is 20 bucks a day plus free housing at the hotel.  And that 20 bucks goes to ordering out for food because cooking in your hotel room is not allowed.  So, it’s pretty much wasted.
So, I think you can understand the dilemma when guys in my position, or a position worse off, choose to sacrifice something they know as pure to get a paycheck playing in the bigs.  And the paycheck in the bigs works out to somewhere in the neighborhood of 2400 a day as a rookie.  I don’t blame these guys.  They make the decision to do something they might consider wrong in order to lift themselves above the poverty line.  And, yes people, what we make is, technically, flirting with the poverty line.  Unlike myself, most of these young men, aged 20-25, have the ambitions to get married and start a family.  It’s perfectly normal.  So, when you question these guys with wives and young kids, ask yourself, “What would you do?”  
I’m not saying it’s right.  And I’m not saying it should be allowed.  But, I, as a minor leaguer for eight years, understand the decision these men make.  I don’t fault them at all.  If they get a leg up on me through that stuff in order to support their family, then I won’t bitch.
The real criminals, and that is what they are for enhancing their performance artificially, illegally, are the ones that were already established in the big leagues.  Guys like Alex Rodriguez(admitted), Mark McGwire(admitted), etc.  They were making their money and doing their thing.  They had no real shot of losing their jobs.  And if they were in risk of losing their jobs, it was after a  long and prosperous career, or in the midst of it.  Have no sympathy for these guys.  Baseball’s pension plan is fantastic.  These guys are the ones that cheated baseball.
For my fellow struggling minor leaguers, I ask for sympathy and understanding.  It is not right.  I say it again.  It is not right.  Guys like me are being cheated.  But… but, I understand that.  I won’t hold a grudge against those guys.  Go after the criminals chasing records.  They’re the ones destroying the game.
Baseball is the essence of America.  The capitalist belief of the best rise to the top, regardless of starting position, is never more evident than in the game of baseball.   So, for these cheaters, I ask you to look at them no differently than you would Bernie Madoff.
I don’t know what my goal was with this entry.  Maybe to bring to light certain facts that might have escaped your attention.  Or maybe you didn’t know.  But I’ll leave you to judge.  You know where I stand.
And if anyone wants to question whether or not I have ever used performance enhancing drugs, I will gladly send a photo of my, censored, naked body for your inspection.  And, if for some reason you ever come across anyone who has claimed to have sold performance enhancers to me, tell them I want the money back.  And if your name is Clint, I am not sending you naked pictures.  Okay?  Quit sending me e-mails requesting them.  I don’t get down like that.  Peace, all.  

My apologies

Last night, I put up an interview with Craig Gentry.  It has been made clear to me that the subject matter of that interview was inappropriate for this forum.  And I apologize to anyone who was offended by the posting last night.  It was an error in judgement to 1) make mention of his impending call-up before the team officially announced it and 2) go over the subject matter we did.  I am truly sorry to have misrepresented the Texas Rangers.  My conduct was not in keeping with the behavior the Rangers expect of their players.  I am sorry.

-Beau Vaughan


I’m going to keep this short.  This interview is with Brandon Boggs.   Boggsy is a very easy going guy.  So, he was really cool about the first question I asked.  It wasn’t my question.  And I apologize to anyone who is offended by the beginning of the conversation.  It invokes some racial aspects.  You see, Brandon is African American.  I am caucasian.  And Luis Mendoza is Mexican, which he proudly displays when we play with our respective countries in FIFA.  I encourage you to see this as it truly is, playful banter between friends.  This is how some guys are around each other. 

BV: Alright, Boggsy.  I gotta throw out the first question.  The first question is not from me.  It’s from Mendoza.  We were standing around in the outfield today, and I’m definitely putting his name on this.  Cause I know better, (Boggs laughs) than to get into racial (stuff).  So I’m going to pin this on the Mexican dude.
BB: I gotcha.
BV: He wanted to know.  Is Popeye’s your favorite restaurant?
BB: Uh, no.  Popeye’s is not my favorite restaurant.  Contrary to belief, I like Cajun food a lot better.
BV:  So, he just thinks you’re black, you’re from the south…
BB:  Exactly.  Exactly.  
BV:  That racist (starts with a ‘p’ and ends with a nickname for ‘Richard’)
BB:  But, you know, he’s from Mexico.  All he eats is tacos and rice and beans.  That’s all I know.  (And, at this point, Justin Smoak and Tyler Coolbaugh, son of Oklahoma hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, have stopped eating and are listening intently with their jaws on the table.)
BV:  Wow.  (Boggs laughs)  And just for the NAACP’s information, my phone number is…  Um, I got a question.  Born in St. Louis, live in Atlanta now.  Okay, I know you like rap, hip hop, all that.  So, I’m asking.  Who do you got?  Nelly in his prime, or T.I.?
BB:  T.I.  
BV:  Easy.
BB:  Yeah, that’s very easy.
BV:  Rank it.  Rank the Atlanta guys.  Where does Nelly, where do the midwest rappers fit in?
BB: Uh, I really don’t listen to midwest rappers.  It’s all basically Atlanta rappers, like Jeezy, T.I.  Uh, obviously YoungBloodz back in the day was my thing.  3-6, they were from Tennessee.  Let’s see.  Who else?  Wow, there’s a lot of rappers in Atlanta.
BV:  So, you’re abandoning your roots in St. Louis, and just saying Nelly was a fluke.
BB:  Well, I’m not abandoning my roots, per se.  I was only there for a couple years of my life.  Most of what I know is Atlanta.  That’s what I claim where I’m from.  That’s what I know.
BV:  Alright.  Fair enough.  Uh, oh, you’re up in the big leagues for a big chunk of the year last year.  You’re up there for a while this year.  What pitcher was the one guy you were like, ‘Wow, that guy is tough.  He is good.’?
BB:  I thought the toughest pitcher for me was Josh Beckett.  Because he can dominate a game with one pitch.  You know, his sinker.  You know, that’s pretty much tough for me.  Because if you know what he’s throwing, and he’s going to throw it there every time.  And you can’t square it up, that’s what defines a good… You know, a pitcher that’s untouchable.
BV:  How’d you do off him?
BB:  Uh, I think I popped up twice.  Yeah, I popped up twice.  It was on his rehab start.  He had just come off the DL.  He was throwing against us.  I think Milton (Bradley) had a hurt hamstring or something.  So I had to fill in.  And then I go out there and try to do my best.  And I think I popped up twice.  
BV:  Dude, I’m trying to set you up on this.  You got pick somebody else.  Like some other good pitcher.  You’re like, ‘Oh, he just came off the DL.  He wasn’t even 100 percent.  But he dominated me.’ (Boggs laughs)  No, pick someone else and be like, ‘Oh, how’d you do off him?  Oh, went yard on him twice.  Lit that (female dog) up.
BB:  Papelbon, you know, Red Sox closer.  He tries to pump heaters in there to me.  Uh, he gets me two and two.  Tries to sneak one up and away.  And I absolutely lace it into the gap, the other way, for a double.  Scored Marlon Byrd.  I got him in back pocket right now.
BV:  There you go.  I got drafted with him.  I know him.  So suck it, Pap.  (Boggs laughs) I’m just playing.  I’m just playing.  Um, (feces), I have like the worst memory right now.  Uh, what was I going to ask?  Oh, today, the big thing about today is the draft thing, with the deadline to sign picks.  And all that.  My question here is with draft rules, options, outrighting, blah, blah.  Whatever.  Anything on the business side of baseball.  I’m not saying anything’s broken or anything like that.  But if you could change one thing about the business of baseball, what would you like to see changed?
BB:  If I could see one thing changed, I’d give less options to people so they can move around a little more.  Three is a little bit too much.  Because, first, you have to make it on the 40-man.  And then, if you’re an older player, and you still have three options left, they can basically do whatever they want with you.  So, I mean, if you made it that far, and you’re an older player, I think they should only get one or two options.  Like if you make it there when you’re young, it’s really no problem.  But when you’re older, and you’re one of those players where it just hasn’t clicked yet.  Maybe one year it will, but still, you got three options.  That means it’s three more years where you have to either put up even better numbers and force the issue.  Or you do average.  And you get your runs.  You get your home runs and stuff.  And you stay down there.  And they can just pull you up and bring you down 30 times during the year if they want.
BV:  That’s good.  I like that.  That’s all I got, dude.  

BB:  Alright, baby.
BV:  Take it easy.
Personally, I’d like to see the draft done away with all together.  I don’t like the fact that American players can only negotiate with one team.  Where international players can negotiate with all of them.  For instance, the system will be greatly flawed if Cuban sensation Aroldis Chapman signs a significant amount more than Stephen Strasburg.  Both of these guys are supposed to be the next big thing.  But Chapman could potentially sign for a lot more than Strasburg did.  The reason?  Chapman can negotiate with all 30 teams, driving up his price.  And Strasburg was being labeled in the media as being an idiot if he passed this up.  It’s easy for us to say what we’d do if we were in these guys’ shoes.  I don’t know.  I just wanted to pass that along.
Big, big thank you to Brandon Boggs.  Hands down, one of the best outfielders I’ve had play behind me.  It’s easy for him to get overlooked in the Oklahoma City outfield.  Julio Borbon gets your attention with his speed.  Greg Golson gets your attention with his arm and his speed.  Boggs is no slouch in any of these areas.  But he gets your attention with his hustle and competitiveness.