BY Brent Muskyburger
PISCATAWAY— The Rutgers baseball season is underway, and players are beginning their preparations.
February 19 marked the first day for pitchers and catchers to report to their spring semester work-study programs.
Since baseball players do not receive full scholarships, most participate in work-study programs to supplement their school payments and learn a job-skill for the future.
“I make money for this school by playing a sport I know I won’t have a future in,” said left-handed relief pitcher Mark Marcson, “so I turn to work-study for a boost. Now I sit in a computer lab all day and deal with idiot students. You know, life skills.”
Most players have difficulty handling the workload of playing a D-1 sport and working on campus.
“We go on these road trips, and it’s hard to find people to cover for me,” said starting pitcher Darren O’Toole, who works at the Livingston Writing Center. “They said if I call out again, I’ll be fired.”
Pitchers and catchers use this time to develop their chemistry. It is especially important for freshman, who need to prepare for their first year both on the field and at work.
“I came to this country to play baseball,” said Cuban defector and backup catcher Avisail Martinez via a translator. “I want to play as much as possible and be around my teammates, but I have to learn how to bus tables at the dining hall. Good thing cleaning is in my blood.”
There are some players, however, who cannot find work-study jobs. The university is limited in the amount they offer, meaning some players are left in the dark.
Most players who do not earn work-study jobs find alternative, less-savory ways of making money.
“I whore myself out,” said catcher Johnny Chair.
Head coach Joe Litterio acknowledges his players’ fiscal issues and busy schedules, but says their main responsibility is to the team and to the university.
“These players need to realize that life is tough. They’re here to play baseball, and work-study helps them do that,” said Litterio. “I’m here to push them toward success. Oh, and I whore out the players without jobs. It’s a perk of the job.”
The rest of the team reports to their spring semester work-study Monday, February 29.
The Scarlet Knights are already 0-3, having been swept by the Miami Hurricanes on the road. Three pitchers could not make the games because they conflicted with their work schedules.