Paul Sewald Jersey

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NEW YORK — As Paul Sewald battled his way through the minor leagues, some others his age began their careers and had stable salaries. The Mets, it seemed, were calling up pitcher after pitcher in 2016, but none were Sewald. He felt frustrated and defeated because he had pitched well all season.

So, he made a decision.

“I’m done,” he told his now-wife, Molly, shortly after the season ended.

“What is your reasoning for that?” asked a concerned Molly, who now admits she seriously feared Paul would actually walk away from the game he always loved and leave a dream behind.

“I’m just not getting called up,” Paul responded, “but I love to play baseball.”

Molly keyed on that last part. She knew she could support them on her salary. She then asked Paul what he would do if he weren’t playing baseball. He didn’t know. Well, she told him, just keep playing baseball then.

She was confident he would eventually get called up. She could relate to how he saw his peers making money and starting to settle down. But giving up a dream because of it? She hoped he wouldn’t.

For much of that offseason, Paul wavered on whether to return.

Years later, standing in the Citi Field concourse, Molly recalls that time. She’s wearing a custom-made jacket with “Sewald” and his No. 51 on the back, and his signature sewn onto the left wrist cuff. The night before, her husband earned his first major-league win. He hasn’t thought about quitting since that offseason.

One offseason, Paul became the temporary Spanish 1 teacher at Bishop Gorman High School in Nevada, his alma mater, when the full-time teacher went on maternity leave. It was somewhat funny because, according to his mother Judi, he “didn’t speak all that much Spanish.” He would wake up at 5 a.m. to work out, then be at school by 7 a.m.

His other offseason gigs included training kids, giving pitching lessons and working part-time at Judi’s accounting firm. “My offseasons were busier than my seasons,” Paul said. He made more money during the offseason than the season.
When Paul Sewald wanted to quit baseball, his now-wife, Molly, talked him out of it.

When Paul Sewald wanted to quit baseball, his now-wife, Molly, talked him out of it. (Photo: Photo courtesy Molly Sewald)

According to The Athletic, the average salary for minor leaguers whose contracts are handled by MLB, ranged from around $6,000 in Single A to around $9,350 in Double A to almost $15,000 in Triple A in 2018. Players are only compensated for the months of the season.

The ridiculously low pay is the main issue Paul sees with what he calls “the system.” It’s not ideal considering players do not only work during the games. For example, Paul will arrive at Citi Field at about 1 p.m. for a 7:10 p.m. game. At home, he watches video and continues to train. Plus, he must maintain his craft for the entire year, even if he won’t be paid during the offseason.

“I shouldn’t have to quit baseball,” Paul said, “because I can’t afford to live out my dream.”

Then, he said, people often say to “get a real job.” Impossible, considering most employers don’t hire people who’ll be gone in three or four months. There isn’t a reliable way around minor league baseball’s low pay.

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