The ever-evolving dopeness and cultural game-changing exploits of Russell Wilson didn’t end with his 43-8 Super Bowl blowout of the vaunted Denver Broncos. Now that the football season is over Wilson, a two-sport athlete at N.C. State, may be heading to Texas Rangers spring training to cut some turf. To Wilson, one of the best QBs on the planet, having fun is playing his favorite sport – baseball.
That’s right; Mr. Wilson was once a minor league infielder with the Colorado Rockies. He played second base in the Minors for two seasons in A-ball with Tri-City and Asheville, compiling. a 710 OPS in 379 plate appearances. His last season of baseball was 2011 and he’s since become an NFL icon, so the Rockies, understandably, left him unprotected in December's Rule 5 draft.
The story that most people don’t know is that Wilson’s Super Bow XLVIII soirée almost didn’t happen. Just three years ago Wilson was on some Bingo Long & the Traveling All-Stars stuff, barnstorming the country on a janky bus with a low minor-league baseball team. Doubt in his future as a starting NFL QB was growing for everyone outside of the Wilson camp. Sure, he loved football, but the haters turned his jourrney into an obsession.
"I knew I still had this fire to play the game of football,'' Wilson told Newsday days before the Super Bowl… "It was itching me . . . Everybody was saying I should stick with baseball, I could play in the big leagues for a long time. But I believed in my talent.''
So in July 2011, 93 games into his career Wilson quit baseball, returned a nice chunk of that signing-bonus cheddar that came with being drafted in the fourth round and returned to the marching bands and big brand of college football. The rest is history.
Media mouthpieces weren’t too thrilled with the talk of Wilson going to spring training. “I don’t want my Super Bowl–winning QB out there running around the bases or throwing balls or getting hurt,” said J.A. Adande on Around The Horn.
They also warned of the unnecessary distractions champions must stay away from. As one NFL network commentator pointed out, "being the hunted as opposed to the hunters and re-dedicating to the preparation it takes to repeat as champion is hard enough."
Wilson's also forged a new partnership with Jay-Z and Beyonce so expect his social life to pick up a notch.
With the media circus of engagements, appearances and all of the other time-consuming events that Super Bowl-winning QBs endure for the next six months, Mark Rodgers, Wilson's baseball agent who still represents him in marketing endeavors, told FOX Sports on Monday that Wilson still plans to come to the Rangers' camp in Surprise, Ariz. There have been recent reports that Rodgers is backtracking on that somewhat, but Wilson hasn't made a public statement to the contrary. In fact, Wilson has admitted that his decision to pick football over baseball had more to do with the fact that “football was more of a challenge.”
Heads didn’t ignore his skills in baseball because he was considered too short, but NFL scouts fronted on him hard. Actually, his MLB skill set reportedly makes him a weak B to C –prospect, which isn’t too bad.
The Rangers – formerly known as The Washington Senators until 1971 when they moved to Arlington, Texas the following spring – have had some of the most talented squads to ever grace an MLB diamond and are still ring-less.
Texas has made six appearances in the MLB postseason. In the 2010 World Series the Rangers got thrashed by the San Francisco Giants in five games. They repeated as American League champs in 2011 and lost a heart-breaker World Series to the St. Louis Cardinals in seven games.
Management claims they were intrigued by Wilson’s availability and thought at the very least he could be a positive, influence on the team.
"It was something we put a lot of thought into," said Josh Boyd, the Rangers' director of professional scouting . "It was the chance to add a player we feel is very special, a very unique leader. Everything he preaches and goes out on the field and executes is something we feel embodies everything in our philosophy, things we preach at the minor league level up to the big league level."
It’s safe to say that any team can benefit from interacting with RW “AKA” slingshot Davey Goliath. His motivational skills, dogged work ethic, locker room acumen and leadership’s “the truth.”
Coming off a Super Bowl victory lends Wilson even more credibility and at this moment he has the ear of an entire sports nation.
Maybe this is just a move for leverage by Wilson, whose contract is bargain basement for an elite QB in the game. Ringless wonders like Matt Ryan and Phillip Rivers have cars worth more than Wilson’s contract. The threat of him doing a Deion Sanders, Bo Jackson or Brian Jordan by attempting to play professionally in two sports in the same year, could inspire guitar-wielding owner Paul Allen to dig into those deep pockets and pull up a pretty penny to squash any notion Wilson might have of trading the gridiron for infield grass.
Who does this cat think he is, MJ? Most young basketball heads have no clue that the greatest basketball player ever also stole 30 bases and drove in 50 runs in MLB’s minor leagues back in ‘94.
It still might not even happen, but it would be good look for baseball if Wilson went to spring training for a couple of weeks, shagged some fly balls and fielded some grounders. Why not take some swings, run the base paths a little before signing autographs for what is sure to be an increased fan presence at his games? It’s a win for a sport that is losing popularity among teenagers and could inspire a new thought process among young footballers. If cats like Wilson and FSU Heisman-winner Jameis Winston are digging the diamond then maybe they should check it out as well.