While most baseball players have been working out diligently in preparation for the 2010 season, one is not. Oakland’s, Grant Desme, ranked the eighth best prospect in the Athletics system is retiring. Not because he is old. He’s just 23. Not because he is no good. He was recently named the Most Valuable Player at the Arizona Fall League, where he hit .315 with 11 home runs and 27 rbi in just 27 games. Desme completed a successful 2009 campaign with Kane County and Stockton, hitting .288 with 31 round trippers, 88 rbi and 40 stolen bases. Desme has decided to trade in his bat and glove for rosary beads and a bible. He aspires to become a Catholic priest. Most players are “gym rats”, the type of guys who have to have the uniform torn off their back at the end of their career. Desme was a second round pick out of Cal Poly San Luis Obispo in 2007. He will put away his cleats and enter the seminary in August. At about the time many of his teammates will be hitting their prime in the Majors, Desme will realize his dream of becoming a priest. In a recent interview Desme said “It’s a ten year process. It’s kind of like re-entering the minor leagues.” Many of us aspire to fame and riches. Playing professional sports is a dream to the vast majority of people. This dude must really be legit. He is giving up the chance at making life-changing money to try to change the lives of other people. While fans sit in the stands praying for a win, this guy is going to be in a church somewhere praying for those fans. While former teammates are at a bar or mall trying to meet women or shop for the latest fashions, Desme will be knee-deep in vows of celibacy and poverty. Doesn’t sound like much fun to me. I can honestly say that I have never once, even for a second, toyed wsith the idea of the priesthood. How does that thought creep into ones’ head? And further, how do you finally pull the trigger and act on it? When speaking about his decision last week, he admitted- “It took me a while to get to.”
I don’t know Desme, but I guess his actions are to be appauded. it’s just not my cup of tea. In one of my all-time favorite movies, “Saturday Night Fever”, Tony’s (John Travolta) brother “Father Frank” decides to leave the priesthood, bringing shame to his middle-class Italian family. I guess this is just the opposite, although I’m sure that there are folks who are scratching their heads over this choice. The only one who really matters in this case is Desme, himself. “I love the game” he said. “But I aspire to higher things.” Still what about some kind of compromise like a trade to the Angels or even the Padres?