Erik Kratz isn’t Mike Trout or Bryce Harper or Clayton Kershaw. He’s a journeyman catcher playing for his seventh big-league team, splitting time most places, never having played more than 68 games in a season. He’s not a superstar, but he’s still one of the chosen few who get to put on a uniform and play in big-league games. That’s special, no matter who you are.
As much as we love the Trouts and Kershaws of the world, sometimes a guy like Kratz is just as interesting. Consider this: Kratz, now with the Milwaukee Brewers, is on his sixth team in the last four seasons. He hasn’t been anywhere longer than three seasons — which is when he was with the Philadelphia Phillies from 2011-2013.
He’s a 29th round pick who made the big leagues when he was 30. He’s proof that big leaguers come from a number of paths. As our own Tim Brown says to Kratz on this week’s Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast, sometimes it’s people like him — the backup catcher, the baseball lifer — who make the best people to sit down and talk to. If this week’s episode is any indication, it seems like a good theory.
On this week’s episode of the Yahoo Sports MLB Podcast, Kratz tells us what it’s like to be an MLB journeyman, how it affects his personal life and how he balances baseball with his family.
The key, he says? His wife’s support.
“People think that money just solves all problems,” Kratz told Tim Brown. “While I have made a very very good, very great living playing baseball, it has not been [without] sacrifices … For my wife, she loves supporting me and being together as a family — and baseball wants to rip that apart … The effort to stay together and spend time together is something that — you get pulled in a ton of different directions too. Day games and off days are precious. It’s something my wife has done an incredible job of making sure that we get those times together. And making sure that we don’t miss out on those times. I can’t thank her enough for all that. If it wasn’t for her support, I’d have been done a long time ago.”
Also in this episode:
• Viral Little League sensation Big Al joins the show
• We talk about the consequences of the Joe Simpson/Juan Soto controversy
• What was a better play: The walk-off grand slam or the 321-foot throw?
• Are the Dodgers in trouble?
• Who are the AL and NL MVPs right now?
• What emojis would have Jeff Passan have on his jersey?
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