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.