The River City Rascals of O’Fallon, Missouri auctioned off a spot on their roster for their May 20 pre-season game against the Gateway Grizzlies on ebay this weekend. The auction, which ended Sunday evening, generated a high bid of $9,050, all of which will be donated to the United Way. 41-year old Mark Skorlich, an internet t-shirt company owner from California, was the highest bidder. He’ll get to play an inning in the outfield with the independent minor league baseball team and will possibly get an at bat.
Skorlich was a pitcher in high school, but a shoulder injury cut his career short. After seeing a feature piece about the auction on ESPN, he went to ebay and put down his bid. Skorlich said this will be a chance for him to live out a fantasy.
“Twenty-something years later it fulfills a lifelong dream to play pro ball even if it’s only for a day,
Skorlich said Monday.
But what passes for a dream in the mind of a man, often passes for something else in the mind of the woman married to him. That’s precisely why Skorlich didn’t tell his wife that he was bidding several thousand dollars for a chance to play baseball with a team he’d never heard of. Skorlich figured he’d wait to see if he won before possibly upsetting his wife. When he realized he had the winning bid, it was time for the uncomfortable part. Telling her.
Skorlich said she wasn’t overly upset, but she wasn’t exactly thrilled with his decision, saying “I wouldn’t say she went through the roof, she was just a little surprised.”
Part of her tempered emotions probably comes from the fact that he’ll be using company money to pay for his baseball adventure. Since the money goes to charity, he’ll be able to write it off.
Mark Skorlich’s wife, who he described as “very pregnant”, won’t be making the trip to Missouri with him.
Skorlich will get to keep his jersey, which will have the number “00” and his name on it. Also, his official numbers will remain in the Rascals record books. While the thrill of just playing is exciting, he is also giving some thought to how he’ll play. Skorlich admits he’s setting very low goals.
“I’m just hoping not to embarrass myself,” he said.