Jody Gerut is hanging up his cleats for good.
The 33-year-old outfielder and only known professional athlete who subscribes to The Economist inked a minor league contract with the Mariners over the winter, but he told a group of reporters on Sunday morning in spring camp that he no longer had the desire to continue playing.
Shannon Drayer of ESPN 710 AM and MyNorthwest.com called Gerut’s retirement press conference “incredible” and transcribed some of the speech:
“I can no longer in good conscious play the game in the manner that reflects the positive example for the younger generation of baseball players. Physically I am fine, but mentally my reasons for being in uniform have been so thin and narrow that I refuse to disrespect the game that has provided so generously for my family by playing it in a half hearted way. This game owes me nothing. But I owe the game at least that much. When a player finds his willingness to compete to be so greatly diminished that player must leave the game so as not to disrespect it by becoming a player who plays solely for his paycheck and his own personal glory.
Hard to argue with any of that. Gerut will finish up with a .262/.325/.433 career slash line and 472 career hits. He played six major league seasons, spending time with the Indians, Cubs, Pirates, Padres and Brewers.