A week later, I got a phone call from the Kansas City Royals. I was in school. In English. The teacher answered the phone that rang in class.
“Jason, the principal wants to see you,” she said surprised.
I walked into the office, the principal handed me the phone, “It’s for you,” he said.
What is this going to be about, I thought something happened to someone in my family. I was petrified of the person on the other end.
It was my mom: “Jason…” with a tone I’ve never heard before, like my life was about to change after what she was going to tell me.
“Yeah, Mom?!” I’m nervous. I never wanted to be back in English class so badly before.
“The Royals just drafted you in the 7th round, they offered you $1million dollars.”
“Oh my god, they offered me 1 million dollars?!”
I hung up the phone, that’s all she had to say, she started crying and said, “ I will see you at home, babe.”
Is this real? Is really happening to me? I walked back to class in shock, some kid from Bethany, CT where everyone says there are more horses than people, was just offered 1 million to play baseball
After further negotiations and a visit from my future head coach at Vanderbilt University, Tim Corbin, I decided to turn down their offer. An offer of which jumped to $1.5 million.
My First Day In The Minors
Three years later, I am on a bus heading to North Carolina as a member of the Delmarva Shorebirds — the Low-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles. It’s my first road trip; it’s my first professional game.
You become accustomed to things, for three years I rode coach buses in college so it wasn’t new, but only if the trip was shorter than six hours. Seven hours or more we literally took a country music star’s sleeper bus to our road trips.
The bus was better than our dorm rooms. Black leather horseshoe couch in the back with two 32 inch TVs, 13 memory foam mattress bunks per bus with TV’s in each bunk (our team was split into two busses), stocked refrigerator — sodas, water, Gatorade and muscle milks, Snacks — animal crackers, peanut butter crackers, and Gatorade protein bars. Everyone got a bed; no one went hungry. It was absolutely the way to travel.
I’m sitting on the bus towards the back with Jerome Pena. He was the same age and had just been drafted out of Texas Christian University, been to the College World Series in 2010 and we had a lot in common — we were “college guys”.
I brought headphones, but how much music do you really want to listen to for an eight-hour trip? I wasn’t hungry because I had just eaten before I got to the stadium prior to our bus report time, but what troubled me was once I got onto the bus: there was nothing but seats. No food, no refrigerator, no amenities, just 40 guys and their thoughts.
I brought chips, but how unsatisfying. I hoped, I prayed we would stop, because I feared starvation. They had a cooler full of waters, but I saw them dump one case of waters inside, so 24 waters for approximately 40 people on this bus. I had to snake one early or else I wouldn’t be able to have one.