Hoornstra: For two former major leaguers, retiring at age 30 beckoned in different ways

first_img Dodgers hit seven home runs, sweep Colorado Rockies Usually, it’s a lot more real. For a baseball player, “retire at 30” is a sobering thought, not a sales pitch. It’s something Segedin and Anderson contemplated out of necessity for a time. Now that it’s here, it doesn’t always look the way they imagined. It announces itself like a mockingbird with a series of sophisticated whistles, making the monotonous life of a baseball player sound like a one-note chirp.This is how two former Major League Baseball players are transitioning into retirement.ARTHRITIS TO ANALYTICSRobinson Segedin’s birth announcement descended to Earth on a cloud from the baseball gods. It was delivered by Vin Scully in the sixth inning of a game between the Giants and Dodgers on Aug. 24, 2016, while Chase Utley batted against Johnny Cueto.Tuesday afternoon, as his dad paused preparations for the family move to Philadelphia, Robinson napped.The respite was well-earned. It’s been a busy few months since arthritis ended Segedin’s playing career. The build-up to the end was as predictable as it was painful. He’d had surgery to fuse two joints in his right hand after the 2017 season, but it never healed according to plan. During spring training last year, Segedin tried reaching the various thresholds the Dodgers’ medical staff laid out for him, each time to no avail. How Dodgers pitcher Ross Stripling topped the baseball podcast empire Cody Bellinger homer gives Dodgers their first walkoff win of season Retirement can announce its presence in different ways. It might be a toddler waking from an afternoon nap. It might be a digitized Steinway piano dropping in on Bar 73 of a working track titled “changing my ways.” It might be the thwack of a golf club rippling down a fairway lined with gout-friendly condominiums, though probably not if you’re in your early thirties.For Rob Segedin and Lars Anderson, retirement means there’s still work to do.Segedin and Anderson were teammates less than three years ago. They hung their jerseys in the clubhouse of the Triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers, a phone call away from the major leagues. Now they live about as far apart as two men can – Segedin in Florida, Anderson in Australia – chasing the first dream that materialized after the final season of their playing careers.“Retirement” is the universally understood term for what Segedin and Anderson are doing. It’s the blank space after the final line on their baseball cards. We adulate an athlete’s retirement if it comes with a formal announcement and an emotional press conference and a discussion of their Hall of Fame credentials. That’s memorable, but that isn’t usually how it works. Fire danger is on Dave Roberts’ mind as Dodgers head to San Francisco center_img Sign up for Home Turf and get exclusive stories every SoCal sports fan must read, sent daily. Subscribe here.“It got to the point where I couldn’t grip a bat and make contact without any pain, regardless of whether I squared it up or not,” Segedin said.At first, he resolved to play through it. When the minor league season began, Segedin reported to Oklahoma City and spent a month on the active roster, batting .217. Next, he tried resting for a month. But in eight games after returning from the disabled list, Segedin batted .182.“When Andrew Friedman was in town, I told him, ‘I’m not helping the Dodgers right now in my current state. It’s not getting better’,” he said. After an 0-for-3 night against Las Vegas on June 18, Segedin went on the disabled list for the final time.The following months were filled with frustration. Segedin traveled to New York to see a hand specialist, Dr. Robert Hotchkiss. He received multiple cortisone shots. He tried swinging a bat. Each time, the pain was a morass on the road to recovery. The Dodgers released him in August. When he met with Hotchkiss again in October, Segedin received the message he expected: “You’re done. Move on with your life.”There was no time to mourn the news. Segedin has a wife, two young children and a third, a boy, due in May. With little more than a year of major league service time to his credit, Segedin’s career earnings in baseball did not amount to a life-changing cushion. Recently Segedin earned a Master’s degree in Business Analytics through the Kelley School of Business. He completed the coursework online between games over a two-year span, culminating last March. Quickly, the degree became an asset.While his spring training teammates marched to the World Series, Segedin picked up his phone.First, he called Gabe Kapler, the Dodgers’ former farm director who had just completed his first season managing the Phillies. He called Farhan Zaidi, the former Dodgers general manager who had just left for San Francisco. He called Tim Hyers, the former Dodgers assistant in his first season as the Red Sox’s hitting coach. He called the Astros and the Yankees. Ultimately it was the Phillies who called back to offer an unusual job: Player Information Assistant.“It was exactly what I wanted to do,” Segedin said. “Since I’ve been hired (in December), we’ve sat in on minor league free agent meetings, gave recommendations on that. Developed player information plans – the strengths and weaknesses of each player, how to utilize them. Listened to the coordinator presentations, what they want to teach at each level. Working closely with R&D, figuring out how data is best used. You have your hands in a lot of different departments.”When you’re not used to feeling useful, retiring means working more.BATS TO BEATSAnderson’s gut tells him that his playing career is over. He hasn’t appeared in a game since September. He’s getting ready for spring training, but not as a player. Committing to retirement just isn’t his forte.“I thought I was going to retire for like the last five years, honestly,” Anderson said via Skype. “Ever since I got released by the White Sox and I went through the (2013) offseason, where I was a free agent – I didn’t sign with the Cubs until the end of January 2014. Ever since then I was kind of like, ‘this might be it.’ Then you get a second wind, a sixth wind, a 12th wind.”Committing to retirement might be the only thing Anderson can’t do. He writes, sometimes a lot. He produces electronic music and uploads it to his Soundcloud account. He co-owns a startup bat manufacturer, Birdman Bats, which counts Cincinnati Reds right fielder Yasiel Puig among its disciples. That’s why he’s getting ready for spring training; Anderson is planning to fly to meet with Birdman clients in various Arizona clubhouses in March.For some retirees, the path from Point A to Point B is a straight line. Segedin’s last major league at-bat was in October 2017, and it might have been more recent if his health allowed. Anderson’s was in May 2012 for the Boston Red Sox. Since then he’s played for franchises based in five countries on four continents. He was part of the trade that sent Trevor Bauer to the Cleveland Indians in 2012. He was teammates with a 45-year-old Manny Ramirez in a Japanese independent league in 2015. He’s made friends, drank exotic coffee, found a girlfriend in Sydney – that’s why he’s there now – and helped spread the Birdman gospel from Adelaide to Solingen. He’s thinking about writing all of this down someday.“I’m in a fortunate position (financially) where I don’t have to decide what the next step is right away,” he said. “It is unsettling, to be honest. I feel like I’m going through this death process that has been my life. Baseball, other than my parents and my family, has been there longer than anything. As long as I knew what baseball was, I knew that’s what I wanted to do. I’m under no illusions that this process will be easy. But that’s how it is. It should be difficult.”Related Articles Dodgers’ Max Muncy trying to work his way out of slow start Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error January is prospect ranking season in baseball. This used to be Anderson’s playground. From 2008-10, he was a fixture in the national Top 100 lists, the consensus first baseman on Boston’s next championship roster, until suddenly it was Adrian Gonzalez and the list-makers dropped Anderson’s name like a hot potato. The number-17 prospect of 2009 will retire with 53 days of major league service time.For Anderson, a funny thing happened as his baseball career began to die: He enjoyed it more.“Once I kind of made this transition from prospect to suspect at the minor-league level, it was almost a relief,” he said. “I was happy to have a team, make some money, work on my game. Then it came to a point in 2016 with the Dodgers, I got to the point where I was the old veteran guy. It didn’t matter how well I played; the young guys were going to play. If Cody Bellinger needed a rest, I was going to play. I understood. It made sense to me. It’s one thing to play every day. It’s another to be sitting on the bench. If I’m going to keep playing I’m going to (have to) go elsewhere.”So he did. “Changing My Ways,” one of Anderson’s Soundcloud tracks, might make for a good book title someday. When he asked about the writer’s life, I told him about the paychecks (meager) and the joy of drinking coffee (subtle), and maybe that was enough to conjure a 13th wind.last_img read more

Cricket seeks deeper roots in schools

first_imgDr Donovan Bennett, first vice-president of the Jamaica Cricket Association (JCA), would like to see the new Government invest more in sports at the early-childhood, primary- and secondary-school levels.This, he said, is a result of the emergence of sports as a bludgeoning industry and one rich with numerous opportunities.”Whoever forms the new Government, I would like to see them take up the responsibility of investing more in sports, primarily at the school level,” said Dr Bennett, who is a medical doctor by professional.”They need to understand that sport has now become an important industry, even as important as academics right now.”It, therefore, needs to be a part of syllabus in schools and be encouraged as a proper career choice and not just an after-school activity,” he added.Dr Bennett, a former coach, manager and now adviser of high-school cricket powerhouse St Elizabeth Technical High School (STETHS), said neglect at that level was prominent and has been affecting the growth and development of the game.LIMITED FUNDING”Neither the WICB nor the JCA can really afford to fund cricket at the high school level,” he said.”What happens at this level is that cricket is sponsored by a few companies and sometimes individuals.”He expressed that, for example, current national coach, Junior Bennett, and himself used to shoulder the burden for STETHS in the late 1970s and 1980s, and today, the results are there for all to see.For the past two decades, they have been all-island champions and in the process produced West Indies players such as Jerome Taylor, Darren Powell and Nikita Miller.”It is hard to replicate this across the island,” he said of STETHS’ success model.”Most schools can’t afford to employ proper coaches, improve cricket facilities, or attend to good player development.”Meanwhile, Bennett, who is also a director of the West Indies Cricket Board and head of the regional governing body’s medical panel, also pointed to the financial benefits of sports.This, he said, includes occupations such as athletes, coaches and managers, as well as organisers, marketers and sports law executives.”We need to start teaching students about the total value of sports,” noted Bennett.”This includes not only the physical and mental health value, but also its economic value.”He said there is also the role of sports in national and regional development, as evidenced by the success over the years of West Indies cricket.”Cricket has over the years been used to help to shape societal values, norms and practices, and I would like to see that still happen.”For example, while there is a lot of money to be made now from playing cricket, I would like to see players demonstrating more pride, honour and privilege to represent their country and region.These cricket virtues, Bennett expressed, is more than likely to have a greater impact on players if they are taught in schools as part of the curriculum.last_img read more