03.19.14

An Australian Primer On The Seedy, Soulless Game Of Baseball

Posted in Baseball, We Aren't The World at 10:37 pm by

While the Dodgers and Diamondbacks prepare to start the 2014 MLB Regular Season with a pair of games at this historic Sydney Cricket Ground,  News.com.au’s Andrew Sharwood threatens to blow the lid off “the sordidness, the drudgery, the sheer boredom,” of professional baseball. It’s a rather hollow promise given that Sharwood has yet to interview Jonathan Papelbon, but here are a few of his mind-blowing findings just the same (link swiped from Repoz and Baseball Think Factory) :

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.

All those games means a whole bunch of road trips. And road trips mean seedy hotels. At minor league level, a Holiday Inn is like the Hilton. More likely you’ll end up staying in some three star dump on a highway between Crapsville Illinois and Dumpsburg, Arkansas. Happily married and want your wife to accompany you on the road trip? Be prepared to dip into your own pocket for a double room.

Sportsmen, like many in the entertainment industry, tend to have higher divorce rates than the general population. This is especially true in baseball, where divorce rates are said to be as high as 60 per cent. Women don’t exactly throw themselves at minor leaguers either, contrary to what the movie Bull Durham might have told you. So if you are single and looking for action, you have to put in the legwork. Which brings us back to the point about booze.

If you’re like me, you might be wondering where the downside is. Sharwood warns aspiring alcoholics looking for cheap sex at the Red Roof Inn that when they get home from one of these miserable minor league road trips, they’ll most likely be staying in a shithole apartment featuring, “fake granite benchtops in the kitchen and an artful, black-and-white framed poster-sized photograph portraying a forlorn figure crossing a bridge with an umbrella blown inwards by the wind.” “Could life be any bleaker?” asks Sharwood, presumably unaware that at one time or another, young people actually competed for the chance to replace Michael Hutchence in INXS.

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