What, exactly, does a not-technically-retired but definitely-not-active former MLB star do to kill time? Destroy pitchers in his local men’s slow pitch softball recreational league, apparently.
Former Royals star Billy Butler has reportedly been wrecking the opposition as a member of a team called Pharmgrade in the Idaho Falls Parks & Rec league, according to The Athletic.
The 32-year-old Butler carried his team to a fall season championship in 2017, and with his MLB-level talent, it wasn’t even fair.
“I can hit the ball out of the park every time,” Butler told The Athletic. “Obviously, we do well.”
But in this league, there are rules to prevent exactly that. If his team out-homers the opposition by more than five, long shots start to count as outs. So Butler has to actively try to put the ball in play; luckily, double-plays are rare in a league where most players have been removed from serious athletics for years (he grounded into 207 as a professional).
“You have to work on hitting it the other way,” Butler explained. “You can’t just hit it out of the park. You have to work on things.”
Butler’s MLB career began in 2007 and spanned ten years, most of which were spent with the Royals. He was a career .290 hitter with 147 home runs and 1,479 hits, and in 2012, he earned an All-Star nod and Silver Slugger Award; he split his playing time between first base and DH.
He signed a 3-year, $30 million contract in 2015 with the Oakland Athletics, but was released late in his second year with a slash line of 258/.325/.394. He went on to finish out 2016 with the Yankees.
So for lack of video or photo evidence, just imagine this: a 6-foot, 260-pound MLB player formerly known as “Country Breakfast,” absolutely mashing softballs in a park whose outfield field wall is probably less than 300 feet away.
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