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Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Drugs, booze, cheap motels. This is the real life of the majority of America’s pro baseballers

Descent into the Maelstrom!

With two American pro teams down under this week to play the opening games of the 2014 Major League Baseball season, the focus is on glitz, on glamour and on two teams with a combined salary of $300 million.

There’s no doubt life can be extremely glamorous at the top of US professional sports. But scratch below the surface and it’s a different world.

...Even Triple A is a world away from the Majors. Here’s a snapshot of that desperate, often sordid world from a reporter who witnessed it first hand.

Booze

Baseball players drink, partly because they don’t always need to be the most athletic specimens in the world of pro sports, but also to pass the time. These guys play up to 160 Games in a season in the Majors or 140 games at minor league level. That’s six games a week for six months. Each night, win or lose, their adrenalin is pumping. A beer or two or seven or eight helps.

No team spirit

Baseball, like cricket, is a team sport that is largely about the sum of individual performances rather than a bunch of guys working together as in the football codes. But it’s off the field that you really feel that lack of spirit, especially at minor league level. Guys in the minors would trample their best mate to get a promotion to the Majors.

Most players in a minor league club barely know each other’s names, let alone hang out together. There are exceptions, but for the most part it is a lonely, selfish mini-universe where the ethos of “one for all, all for one” is as foreign as a Frenchman.

This, right here, is the sport’s secret shame.

Dodgy diet

You should see the gloop they eat after games in the clubhouse, as Americans call the dressing rooms. Sometimes it has ribs. Often it’s purple.

Repoz Posted: March 19, 2014 at 06:46 PM | 24 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
  Tags: australia

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   1. Flynn Posted: March 19, 2014 at 07:04 PM (#4674204)
I got a feeling this guy is the Dan Shaughnessy of Australia given his history of rather navel-gazing, miserablist columns.
   2. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: March 19, 2014 at 07:08 PM (#4674207)
Other than the hotels part, in my 20's, I pretty much lived the real life of the majority of America's pro baseballers.
   3. Evil Tom Posted: March 19, 2014 at 07:58 PM (#4674224)
This guy makes Shank Shaughnessy look like Hemingway.
Do the Aussies have a term for "Curly Haired Boyfriend"?
   4. Curse of the Andino Posted: March 19, 2014 at 08:09 PM (#4674227)
Having seen the women who attend Florida GCL games, I don't know what that dude's smoking. There are Florida 9s all over these boys.
   5. Gonfalon Bubble Posted: March 19, 2014 at 08:13 PM (#4674229)
Do the Aussies have a term for "Curly Haired Boyfriend"?

Out on the lonely expanses, it's "koala."
   6. Pasta-diving Jeter (jmac66) Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:09 PM (#4674242)
Drugs, booze, cheap motels

he makes it sound like that's a BAD thing...
   7. Lars6788 Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:48 PM (#4674261)
From the headline, I thought it would be a lead in to another Dirk Hayhurst book.
   8. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 19, 2014 at 09:50 PM (#4674263)
the ethos of “one for all, all for one” is as foreign as a Frenchman.

Hey, these guys were all Frenchmen!
   9. Walt Davis Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:24 PM (#4674274)
I'm not sure what's secret nor shameful about it. Possibly it would be shameful but, short of Tonya Harding style escapades, "trampling" your AAA teammates won't get you to the majors any faster. For sure I'd rather sacrifice your left arm than my own to get to the majors but, alas, it doesn't work that way.

"Ginger Poofter" is probably as close as you'd get.
   10. The Clarence Thomas of BBTF (scott) Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:43 PM (#4674281)
Women don’t exactly throw themselves at minor leaguers either, contrary to what the movie Bull Durham might have told you.


Err. This guy's a total galah.

eta:

Last year in the minor leagues alone, at least 40 players were suspended for using performance-enhancing or recreational drugs


Each Baseball team has what, five or six minor league affiliates? Each of those have 25 roster spots? So we're talking about a 1% positive test rate? I'm not sure Mormons would be that clean living. And let's not even get into the whole argument that various PEDs are more dangerous than recreational substance abuse (like the boozing everyone is supposedly doing).
   11. silhouetted by the sea Posted: March 19, 2014 at 10:46 PM (#4674282)
Walt, I know nothing about Australia, but I would think that if you are not from there that "Ginger Poofter" would make you an honorary Australian.
   12. ptodd Posted: March 19, 2014 at 11:33 PM (#4674291)
90% of minor leaguers make 1-2K per month for 5 months. I don't see how they afford recreational drugs, PED's or booze. Maybe some of them have a bonus they live off for a few years, but most don't.

Those who are able to get PED's obviously don't get the kind that can pass a PED test
   13. Cooper Nielson Posted: March 19, 2014 at 11:34 PM (#4674292)
These guys play up to 160 Games in a season in the Majors

Cal Ripken disagrees!
   14. valuearbitrageur Posted: March 20, 2014 at 02:25 AM (#4674309)
Women don’t exactly throw themselves at minor leaguers either, contrary to what the movie Bull Durham might have told you.


That poof is only wishing that were true.
   15. You Know Nothing JT Snow (YR) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 04:55 AM (#4674314)
Each Baseball team has what, five or six minor league affiliates? Each of those have 25 roster spots? So we're talking about a 1% positive test rate? I'm not sure Mormons would be that clean living.


I bet a bunch of minor leaguers don't change their underwear daily either.
   16. Bug Selig Posted: March 20, 2014 at 06:43 AM (#4674318)
There are exceptions, but for the most part it is a lonely, selfish mini-universe where the ethos of “one for all, all for one” is as foreign as a Frenchman.


Through 15 posts, nobody has wondered how foreign a Chinaman would be?
   17. Adam B. Posted: March 20, 2014 at 08:07 AM (#4674325)
You know what's missing in that article? Sources.
   18. zonk Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:33 AM (#4674380)
90% of minor leaguers make 1-2K per month for 5 months. I don't see how they afford recreational drugs, PED's or booze.


Oh - that's all I was pulling in my college days working part-time and I had very little problem affording them (well, except the PEDs... though.. if coffee/ephedrine is an educational PED, then yes, I could afford that, too).

One can drink heavily quite cheaply - especially if one doesn't have to do it in a bar... and having spent the last couple weekends in my old hometown haunts (just outside South Bend), I'm also reminded that a good drunken bar tab at a smaller burg, especially if you're up for the dives is one hell of a lot cheaper than the major league metropolises...

Saturday before last, I was at a small town bowling alley bar... This was the bowling alley I remember my parents taking me to nearly 30 years ago - and yes, it looks exactly the same... and lo and behold, they happened to have a (unopened and dusty) bottle of Hendricks on the shelf behind the bar. Lemma tell ya... a $3 Hendricks rocks - not a bad deal at all.
   19. Best Regards, President of Comfort, Esq. Posted: March 20, 2014 at 10:46 AM (#4674411)
I'm not sure what's secret nor shameful about it. Possibly it would be shameful but, short of Tonya Harding style escapades, "trampling" your AAA teammates won't get you to the majors any faster. For sure I'd rather sacrifice your left arm than my own to get to the majors but, alas, it doesn't work that way.


Seriously, the GM isn't showing up in a minor league clubhouse saying "Alright boys, I'm bringing three of you to the majors this weekend! The first three who come into my office! You guys figure out who it should be, and I'm going to chomp on this stogie! Nyah!"
   20. if nature called, ladodger34 would listen Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:42 AM (#4674431)
Back in '05, my grandmother passed away. Before she passed, we had convinced her to be buried next to my great grandparents and the vast majority of her siblings in North Dakota. Anyhow, she passed in May and we had her cremated and did the burial in ND that August.

My brother, his best friend (he's our surrogate bro now), and I drove back that summer and took in a game in Billings. Now, Billings is a freaking Metropolis by plains-states standards, but the Pioneer league is rookie ball*. We saw very obvious cleat chasers at that game.

Living around 3 Cal League teams (Rancho, San Bernardino, and Elsinore) and having been to my fair share of games, I can assure this fellow that there are plenty of young ladies that are willing and able. My wife can spot them from a mile away, though she is still shocked that they exist.

* Cobb Field (since replaced) in Billings was charming. Wooden bleachers, boosters running the snack bar, and super cheap beer. It was a lovely place.
   21. Never Give an Inge (Dave) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 11:53 AM (#4674439)
Baseball players drink, partly because they don’t always need to be the most athletic specimens in the world of pro sports, but also to pass the time they are human.

FTFY
   22. Chone Mueller Posted: March 20, 2014 at 01:36 PM (#4674514)
Cobb Field (since replaced) in Billings was charming. Wooden bleachers, boosters running the snack bar, and super cheap beer. It was a lovely place.


If you love burgers and you visit Billings for a Mustangs game, go down the third base line to the Lead-Off Grill and order a "Stang Burger." They still have it at the new park. It's a big burger topped with tender beef brisket and grilled onions. The locals said it would be a shame to visit Billings and not try one. I did and I wasn't disappointed. Best ballpark burger I've ever tasted.
   23. RMc's desperate, often sordid world Posted: March 20, 2014 at 08:01 PM (#4674675)
The comments on this article are hilarious:

There's no evidence to indicate performance enhancing drugs are dangerous to people's health let alone 'incredibly dangerous' as stated in the article. performance enhancing drugs are, in general, reasonably benign.

Wow... Someone REALLY hates Baseball.

Are you kidding me? We live in a country where ASADA helps to sweep a massive drug scandal under the carpet, League players defecate in hotel hallways when not urinating on croupiers, Rules players lose their careers to substance abuse while needing to be told by the AFL that paying hush money to sexual assault victims is wrong, we immortalise a cricketer for his ability to sink cans on international flights, Wallabies with drunken burglary charges, can't catch, can't bowl (go team!), on and on and on and you are going to point the finger at American baseball players? Nice article Pot, I've sent the link to Kettle for you.

Your article may have some truths, but it is also exaggerated and misleading. For example, you mention that nearly 40 players in the minor leagues were busted for drugs. You failed to mention that there are nearly 6000 players in the minor league system. That equates to less than 1%. Also, US Baseball has what is widely considered the most stringent drug testing program in entire world of sport. What % of ALF players would be busted if they had as strict a drug program as US Baseball? My guess is considerably more than 1%.

Oh look, another hatchet job story on baseball. A whole 40 players got nailed for performance enhancing drugs, out of the thousands that play major/minor league baseball. Sounds like an epidemic to me!

Can I play?

Actually the "cheap, soulless apartment" appeals to me. I like living up high and to live on the 16th floor would be heaven. Being a minimalist the white and grey paint and black & white framed posted would be ideal.

Sounds like someone missed out on free tickets...


   24. Infinite Joost (Voxter) Posted: March 20, 2014 at 09:01 PM (#4674683)
I've watched a lot of cricket. I find it to be an enjoyable, if occasionally excessively leisurely, game,* but the physiques of cricketers, especially in the Australian domestic league, don't exactly put MLB bodies to shame.


*esp t20 cricket, which has a limited number of bowls, lasts as long as a baseball game, and means I'm a total philistine

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