I’m not insane enough to say that, over the past nine years, I’ve done everything perfectly, have no regrets. If I was perfect enough to have no regrets, I wouldn’t be human, would I?
I’ve played my last professional baseball game, perhaps my last game ever. I’m retiring.
It’s sad to say goodbye to a game that’s been such a large part of my life for so many years. There is certainly a lot I will miss. Mostly the people. Coaches and fellow players, meeting and getting to know a new group of guys every year. Bonding with a summertime family as we jointly take on the grind of another long minor league season.
I’ve been a professional baseball player for nine years and I have $300 dollars in my bank account. That is one thing that I definitely won’t miss. The long hours matched by short pay has left me at a crossroads in my career. I can’t afford to play another year of baseball and I have a job offer with a respectable paycheck that can’t be ignored. I’ll make more money in my first year at my new job than I made in my first seven years playing baseball.
Some of the things that people like to say about playing baseball is, “I would play for free” or “I should pay them” or “getting to play the game is payment enough for me.” I never much related to any of these sayings and to be honest, I’m not sure that anyone who actually plays does. I don’t see how anyone could check their bank statement at 30 years old, see $300 and think they are lucky.
Also, I would think if that’s the case, maybe big leagues wouldn’t be making millions of dollars. Perhaps they would be making just enough to scrape by and not enough to actually save anything, like so many of the minor league lifers. There is a lot to love about baseball but it’s a game that doesn’t always love you back, and that, as anyone who’s been in a one-sided relationship will tell you, can sometimes spawn resentment.
I don’t mean to come off bitter towards the game. I don’t regret my time spent playing baseball. In fact, it’s baseball that has taught me so many skills that I’m certain will come in handy in my next line of work. Skills like work ethic, resiliency, ability to work effectively within a team as well as competitiveness and the ability to perform under pressure. Perhaps I had a foundation of these skills genetically, but I surely honed them playing baseball over the past 9 years.
I’m off track… The main reason I’m writing this memo is because I want to thank everyone that supported me over the course of my career. My family most of all. Putting up with the emotional and financial burden of having a son who is “chasing the dream” is no small task. The unwavering support I received from my parents and siblings didn’t go unnoticed. I appreciate and love all of you very much.
I want to thank my agents Dave Pepe and Billy Martin Jr. of Pro Agents, Inc. for settling me down when I was frustrated with lack of playing time or wanted to quit for one reason or another. And for always picking up the phone when I needed someone outside of family to talk to. I know you both put in a lot of time and effort on my behalf and I’m forever grateful. I’m going to miss working with you both and hope we can remain friends. Maybe I’ll write a book and need a book agent, you’re my guy Dave.
To my teammates and staff members who made it easy to get up and head to the stadium for another day on the grind, I’ll miss you guys. Thanks for all the memories, it was fun while it lasted.
I don’t want to drag this on much longer. As much as this is an ending to a period of my life, I’d rather think about it as a beginning, look to the horizon. Eyes on the road, forward into the morrow, on to the next adventure…
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