A baseball pitcher for the Arizona Diamondbacks' minor league team spends some of his time off the mound mowing lawns in northern California.
Scott Randall of Rocklin, California, was drafted by the Diamondbacks family of teams in July. He plays for the Visalia Rawhide, a single-A club whose season doesn't start back until next spring. To keep money coming in for now, Randall told CBSN Sacramento that he offers lawn mowing around his neighborhood.
Randall said he advertises his services on social media, particularly the Nextdoor neighborhood-news app. Being a recently drafted player helps generate a steady flow of customers, he said.
"So being able to, me, just post something on Nextdoor, and just easily, I got 30 comments on the post just within a day. And I'm filled up for two weeks," he said.
Randall's lawn mowing marks the latest example of how minor league players have taken on side hustles to make ends meet in an economy slammed by the coronavirus pandemic. To be clear, low-paid minor leaguers have used their offseason to snag extra gigs for decades, but the pandemic has made supplementing their player income even more necessary.
About 64% of minor league players had less than $2,500 in savings, according to a 2020 survey from nonprofit More Than Baseball, the Wall Street Journal reported. The survey also found that many players had an average $10,000 in debt. Major League Baseball raised the salary for minor league players last year, but the $12,000 to $16,800 pay range for the season still isn't a livable wage.
Player pay is so low that James Naile, a pitcher for the Triple-A Las Vegas Aviators, has resorted to part-time landscaping gigs. Aiden McIntyre, a pitcher for the Lansing Lugnuts, has become a remote trainer for Driveline Baseball, he told the Journal.
Randall, who makes $500 a week from the Visalia team during the season, said playing professional baseball has been a lifelong dream and his plan is to one day join the major league. But for now, the minor league money is basically non-existent, he said.
"The pay is just kind of a bonus part of being able to live out your dream," Randall said.
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