Waking up to another sunny day in Puerto Rico, we knew this would be our last morning in the small surf-town of Rincon. Since we had survived a month of housing with seven grown men in extremely tight living quarters with no cable or Wi-Fi, it goes without saying that the house needed some serious cleaning.
So, my mission for the day was to get the place cleaned and to pack up everything that I had brought with and acquired throughout the trip without breaking down emotionally at the thought of leaving. Luckily, I was barely able to achieve this without losing it and crying my eyes out. Enrique and I were able to throw one last time at the house before we left.
There was a silver lining to our departure though, as we were told after the last game that we would all be invited to spring training for the Empire League in June. Most of us would see each other again at the tryout and hopefully, we would be playing with or against each other in this small and slightly obscure independent league.
Through this experience, I learned that striving to play organized baseball professionally, no matter the level, was not a very glamourous lifestyle, and players can expect to mightily struggle through this journey. We were seven men lodged in a two-bedroom, one-bath house with barely half a kitchen and just two small window air-conditioning units. We did not have a washer or dryer, and most of us were forced to wash our clothes on a washboard in the backyard. This post is not intended to complain about our living conditions, but it does serve as a testament that a player has to be willing to sacrifice a lot of common amenities, time and be willing to work hard to advance to the next level (which most likely won’t be the equivalent of paradise either).
Through the harsh reality of attempting to become a professional baseball player, I would not change my decision to travel to Puerto Rico to play in the PRIBL. On the contrary, I would do it all over again if I had the chance to. Between meeting some of the coolest people I’ll never forget, forging friendships that hopefully last a lifetime and viewing some of Puerto Rico’s most scenic landscape, my decision to play in the PRIBL was one of the best I’ve made and arguably the best experience of my life to date.