I know from responses to posts like this one that many of you don’t have much sympathy for the plight of the Minor Leaguer. And logically, I get that: These guys get paid to play a kid’s game, and even if that game can commodify them and dehumanize them and ultimately release them back into the real world often unprepared to do anything but the one thing they have just proven they cannot actually do, it’s all part of what they’ve signed up for.
Plus, no matter who told them what, when they were dominating in high school or college, about how much they’d eventually achieve and make in baseball, they should understand going into it that playing baseball professionally comes with a hell of a lot of risk, and do everything they can to set themselves up for life after baseball whenever that day comes. Pay attention in class, save your money.
And certainly, all due respect to the guys that do that, the players with the wherewithal or acuity or plain-old common sense to realize at 16 or 18 or 20 that no one can ever count on a career in baseball and prepare themselves in some way — mentally, emotionally, financially — for eventual failure. There are plenty of them, and if they get short-shrifted here it’s only because I’m a sucker for the sad sacks.
Which is to say that if you’ve got no compassion for a guy like John Holdzkom, a 24-year-old former fireballing fourth-round draft pick during the Omar Minaya era who recently called comedian Chelsea Peretti’s podcast to tell her about blowing his entire signing bonus on sushi and alcohol before blowing out his elbow, well, then we don’t have that in common. The transcript is worth reading, if only as your weekly or monthly or biannual reminder that baseball produces a lot more washed-up 24-year-olds looking for opportunities to play anywhere that’ll have them than it does millionaire superstars.