So, what happens when you retire from the minor leagues?
You become a loser at life ...
I’m just joking. In fact, you will probably be in much more stable condition than you were in as a minor league baseball player. Before we go any further, let me just tell you briefly about how today was for me to make sure that being a normal human being isn’t piece of cake either. As a retired minor league nobody turned bar manager, I woke up at 8 a.m., went to work (I run a hotel restaurant/bar in a small town on Vancouver Island, Canada), did a bunch of shit you probably don’t care about until around 2 p.m., came home, crushed McDonald’s, napped until 5 p.m., woke my fat ass up and helped dinner service until around 9 p.m., just got home (which right now is 9:15 p.m.), and am currently drinking an energy drink and typing this damn article because I have a deadline to meet for my editor Brett Ballantini (@SouthSideSox) which I’m already late for, as this will probably get published early tomorrow (sorry, Brett). So no you don’t just get to work minimal hours a day and live a fairy tail life.
Shit, I have a regular job now, living a somewhat normal life — and I have always dreamed of it. Real talk: While I was playing baseball professionally (something tons of people dream of doing, which I don’t really understand), I was always jealous of my high school friends who had normal jobs, getting normal pay, and would go for a good drink after a long day of work. Man, I was fucking jealous of that. Now I am living it and it is pretty damn cool. Let’s be real, I ain’t trying to be a millionaire here, I actually think if I became a millionaire I would probably do a whole lot of crazy stuff I probably cannot include in this article, and which could reduce my life expectancy by 30 years. I just need to make enough so that I don’t “suffer” and trust me I am doing much better now than when I played baseball.
Well, anyway, let me tell you what I went through after the “call.” I was released during the offseason via phone call (in November, which is actually ideal, if you’re gonna get released, because you can still train your ass off and have a chance to get picked up during the remainder of the offseason, whereas getting released after spring training leaves you no one to play for with the season starting in just weeks). I kept on training at Driveline, and got picked up by an Indy ball team. I played a few months of the season in Winnipeg, got released (understandably, because I walked every hitter I faced), played a few months of semi-pro league (got shelled, facing 18-year-olds), came home and hung up my cleats.
I was 27 at the time, had no idea what I was going to do, and it was over, just like that. I really wanted to take some time off from everything ... but nope, I was broke and hopped on the bar shifts shortly after I got home.
When you decide to not play again, well, that is it, man. It’s time to close the yearbook. I have seen quite a few people hang up the cleats and try to play again later, but for me, I knew it was time to move on. I’m a realist. I was a 27-year-old right-handed reliever, throwing 93-95 mph with zero off-speed, and control issues. Could I have kept on training and tried to find a place to play somewhere? Probably. Did I want to? Hell, no.
[Just a heads-up here, if you haven’t read my previous articles, I am quite sour about everything. Not in a I-want-to-kill-myself-and-everyone-around-me kind of way, but more of a hey-guys-I-went-through-this-FML-haha kind of way. Don’t get confused here, though, I will cherish my minor league experiences forever, still love the boys — well, all of them except Ryan Honeycutt, who was in my draft class and was my roommate for like four years, I hate him — and will help me as I mature.]
When I retired, I could’ve jumped into coaching or something related to baseball, but I didn’t want to do that. I wanted to start fresh, doing something different, with new scenery. So far, managing a bar is something I thoroughly have enjoyed doing. I have already hired, fired, thrown events, handled functions, redone drink and food menus, scheduled, ordered liquor, set up banquets, catered, controlled the POS (point of sale) system, and more.
I also have made some goals to get better at this career, as I would like to work at a five-star restaurant as a sommelier one day. If you are not familiar with the term sommelier, it’s those assholes that wear a fancy suit and when you ask one question about what wine you would like to drink, they give you million stories you don’t care about them. I have been studying wine lately, and have received WSET (Wine and Spirit Education Trust) wine Level 1 certification, and am currently studying for the Level 2 test this December. I also make some pretty cool cocktails on Instagram so you can see it for yourself @esim3400. Getting away from baseball was the best choice I have ever made, because I am truly excited for what is ahead of me instead of grasping onto a string of my career as a baseball player.
Everyone has their own paths, but don’t be scared to try other things, my minor league friends. Even if you fail, who gives a shit, it isn’t going to be much tougher than what you went through in the minor leagues, I assure you. You will actually be surprised to find out what you are capable of doing beyond just playing baseball.
At the end of the day, baseball is just a game and no one will play forever. Enjoy the ride and always know that there is a lot more life after baseball.
Eric Sim is a salty Korean-Canadian who played six seasons in the minors and touched Triple-A ball in 2012 (owns a career average of .500 ... 2-for-4). He’s the first Korean-Canadian ever drafted, and he doesn’t care if you’re not impressed by that, because he doesn’t really care about anything. He uses vulgar words a lot (on an hourly basis, really), so if you’re not OK with that, you can stop reading and go read some other shit written by some nobody like him. But you shouldn’t do that, because he has a shit-ton of stories and experiences from his 20-year, washed-up baseball career (started at age seven, hung up the cleats at age 27, should’ve hung them up at 23, though). He operates a hilarious and thought-provoking Twitter feed @ESim3400, so follow, if you want. When not dropping wisdom about his glorious days in the lowest of A’s, Sim currently manages a bar in small-town Canada, and makes a lot more money than he made playing baseball.