An Open Letter to Brent Lillibridge
Last year Brent Lillibridge tweeted something along the lines of “baseball players should make millions because the average career of an athlete is about 3.7 years” or something like that. Those weren’t his exact words so I’m not even sure why I used quotes. I guess to make it more official. I’ve been stewing on that tweet for roughly 13 months. At first, I was like, “hell yeah!” and then I was like, “you’re kidding, right?” and then..finally, I’ve decided to blog about it.
For the record, I like Lillibridge. He’s from my home state of Washington, I know a lot of the people he went to high school with and that’s due to the fact that he went to high school right up the street from where I grew up. He’s known in my area. Him and Travis Synder both. Although I’ve never officially met either one of them, I like the way they play baseball. They’re gritty and dirty and work hard.
When I finally compiled my thoughts and sorted out exactly what I wanted to say to Brent, I didn’t care anymore. All of a sudden, while I was driving to work, I started to care again. Maybe it’s the fact that I served a combat tour in Iraq or served ten years in the United States Army and was left with two broken down knees, a bad back, PTSD, and arthritis in my right elbow. And you know what? I don’t whine and complain about it. I soldier on just like I was taught.
I’m sure every athlete leaves the game feeling a bit broken down. How could they not? Baseball is a physical sport. Not so much like football or rugby, but it’s physical. The sliding, the running, the injuries..it wears down the human body. We aren’t invincible. The major problem I have with Brent is his ability to think he deserves every penny of the hundreds of thousands of dollars he makes because he’s a professional athlete. Dude. Seriously? You think you deserve millions because you’re an athlete and because your career could potentially last 3.7 years or whatever statistic you threw out there that day?
Let me give you a little insight, Junior. The average lifespan of a soldier during the Vietnam war was generally 30 seconds to five or six minutes (depending on who you ask)! Just wait. This gets better! The average lifespan of a soldier during the Iraq war was anywhere from five minutes to thirty minutes! Again, depending on who you ask. Before you bash me and tell me things like “well, you joined!” and blah blah blah, yeah, I did join. I did join on my own free goddamn will! And I’m proud of my service! I very well could’ve had a baseball career like you, Brent! I played baseball in my youth, played baseball in high school and as far as I’m concerned, I’m a goddamn natural at this sport! I love it, inside and out!
My point is, you don’t see me telling people I should be paid millions because I served in the Army. You know what I got? I got $40,000 for college. For a lifetime, Brent. That’s what Uncle Sam gave me. On top of ten years of barracks housing, multiple tours overseas, combat tours and all my physical alignments. Now I work retail security. At many points in my life, I worked two jobs to pay my bills. And I’m sure at one point in your life, you had to do the same; I’m not judging. And I know the crap baseball players endure throughout the minor leagues to make it to the Bigs. But Brent. Please don’t flaunt the fact that your career only lasts 3.7 years on average because guess what, son? No one cares.
If you’re making millions and acting like Tom Brady and buying a $20 million dollar castle, maybe you should rethink your priorities if your career averages 3.7 years. And I know you’re not making millions, but you definitely should live within your means if you’re only going to be working (or in this case, playing baseball) for three years. Don’t think I’m telling you not to go out and buy what you want. Certainly do that. Just remember the people who fought in wars in the United States to allow you to do so.