by Alex Poletti
Photo by Orion Pictures
Looking to cut costs amid the coronavirus epidemic, Major League Baseball and the MLB Players Association have agreed to give all draft picks in the upcoming shortened 2020 draft a signed copy of the 1988 hit romantic comedy sports film “Bull Durham” instead of a signing bonus.
“Right now, it’s not feasible to give 150 players bonuses of $100,000 or more,” league commissioner Rob Manfred says. “But we still want these kids to be a part of minor league baseball, and what better way to get indoctrinated into the bush leagues than by watching Kevin Costner in a career-defining performance?”
In response to the economic downturn, the MLB draft was abbreviated from 40 rounds down to five, meaning less players than ever will struggle in the minor leagues and give up hope around age 30.
“The thing is, people still want to play baseball,” Orioles owner Peter Angelos, a proponent of the move, explains. “If you’re content with being on the diamond, smelling the fresh-cut grass and putting a signed Blu-Ray of ‘Bull Durham’ on at 1 a.m., then you’re pro-ball material. If you’re in it for the money, then you’re not the kind of player we want in our organization anyway.”
Teams also have the option to delay signing bonuses, leaving players without their money for longer. Some say this may have a ripple effect on the sport, as draft-eligible college players may choose to return to their school, and prep prospects might spend a year in college instead of risking it in the minors for low pay, meaning college teams will most likely have a glut of talent next season.
“I understand how these kids might not be enthusiastic about the draft this year,” Manfred says. “But they probably forget that this is an Oscar-nominated film. We’re not talking ‘Sandlot’ here, this is the big leagues. I mean, it’s about the minor leagues, but you get what I’m saying.”
Due to budgetary constraints, baseball wasn’t able to secure the signature of Kevin Costner for any DVD. Instead, all Blu-Rays will be signed by Susan Sarandon and Tim Robbins’ brother.
“Kevin Costner may not have signed the individual discs,” Manfred says, “but he signed every single copy of that movie to ever exist. With his art.”