PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. For new Tampa Bay Rays reliever Burke Badenhop, the decision of a lifetime boiled down to playing on a farm team or a pharm team.
The Ohio native graduated magna cum laude in the spring of 2005 with an economics degree from Bowling Green University, where hed also pitched for the Falcons baseball team. But uncertain of his prospects in the upcoming June amateur draft, Badenhop found himself at an early crossroads that April: day job vs. play job.
The lanky 6-foot-5, then-195-pound righthander received a lucrative offer to join the prestigious Philadelphia pharmaceutical firm of GlaxoSmithKline not exactly the kind of career option most aspiring big-leaguers find themselves pondering.
When they offered me the job, they said, Well, do you have any other job opportunities youre weighing? Badenhop recalled. And I was like, Welllll I might play professional baseball.'
The company liked its rookie prospect enough to give him a few months to see how things pl...