Inside The Spring Training Market For $4 Porn

Excerpted from former Padre and Blue Jay Dirk Hayhurst's splendid new book, Out of My League, a true chronicle of life as a pitcher bouncing between the minor leagues and the show. Some names have been changed.

Slappy stood next to Maddog in the middle of the complex's minor league clubhouse with a smile painted across his face, head bobbing up and down in appreciation of the pure genius in their new business plan. At their feet were several open shoe boxes, and in those boxes were porn DVDs, dozens and dozens of them.

"Only four dollars, guys. Don't be scared. Step right up and get your four-dollar porn," said Slappy like some carnival caller.

"Get 'em here for four dollars or pay fifteen dollars back at the hotel on pay-per-view. You know you're going to do it later, so you might as well save!" echoed Maddog.

Today was the official report day for minor league pitchers and catchers. The morning was dedicated to getting medical issues in order so we could be cleared to play. Various testing stations were set up around the complex to collect medical data, things like urine and blood, and if you had any lumps on your testicles. There were enough tests that if all the guys in camp evenly distributed themselves, the event would run smoothly.

However, since everyone wanted to do the same tests first, namely the blood and urine, lines formed in front of those stations that wrapped around the complex.

Funny, you could get fined hundreds of dollars if you had your sister in your hotel room or didn't show enough sock when in uniform, but there was no charge for vending pornography in the locker room.

The reason you give blood first is because you can't eat until you do. The reason peeing first is so desirable is because it's notoriously hard to go wee-wee with some doctor staring at your package. Since most guys have to pee first thing when they wake up, players hold their morning waterworks for the test, which means by the time they show up at the park, they're all ready to burst. Attend enough spring trainings and you learn to show up early to beat the lines. Beyond that, there is really nothing else a player can do except endure the day. Or, so I thought—Slappy and Maddog found a way to make a profit on it.

Aside from getting us into season-worthy shape, spring training was also seven weeks' worth of guys seeing nothing but other guys. Guys on the field, in the weight room, out to lunch, in the hotel, and in the shower. It's absolute penis overload. In fact, if everything goes according to tradition, within the first twenty-four hours of spring training, management will make certain we know that if we're caught bringing women back to the hotel room, we'll pay a hefty price. Fines can get up into the two-hundred-dollar range, roughly two weeks' worth of meal money, giving credence to a commonly heard spring training phrase: "Make sure you get your money's worth."

For some players, being chaste for a month and a half in order to avoid debt is a minor annoyance. For others, it's a fate worse than death. Asking these extremely hormone-driven individuals to keep their pants on is like asking them to hold their breath for six weeks. Fortunately, bringing back an X-rated film to the room is not a fineable offense. While it may not be the real thing, it is a lot cheaper and also explains why there are guys on every minor league baseball team who can play entire rounds of Jeopardy! based solely on clues concerning Jenna Jameson. Some may call those players perverts, but for Maddog, who was now passing out business cards for Four-Dollar Porn, those players were big money.

All things considered, Maddog's four-dollar dynasty was not only cheap, but practical, and many of the guys occupying the expanse of the clubhouse came over to at least investigate what kind of product was being brought to the market.

Rosco, a reliever from last year's High-A team, the Lake Elsinore Storm, plucked out a DVD and looked it over. "Ravenous Asian Sluts, Volume 17," he read. "17? There are 17 volumes worth of Ravenous Asian Sluts?"

"No," said Maddog. "There's at least 21. The rest are in another box."

"What's a matter, Rosco? You don't like Asians?" asked Slappy. "Not these ones. Haven't they ever heard of razors?"

"What do you expect for four dollars?"

"Why would I spend four dollars on this stuff when the Internet is free?" asked Rosco, holding two DVDs next to each other, doing a bit of comparison shopping.

"Because the Internet has viruses, especially those sites, and I know the ones you're going to because we've roomed together. And, because Net access is like 10 dollars a day at most hotels," said Slappy.

"Shit, I don't need a day's worth. Most of the time I only need about a preview's worth to get the job done," said another player named Dalton, fumbling through the selection.

"Yeah, only perverts actually watch a whole porn movie, start to finish," added another player nicknamed Blade, rooting through Dalton's discards.

"You two are bad for business," said Slappy.

"Yeah, where would America be with that attitude?" said Maddog.

"Besides, this stuff is good for your career. You can't play all plugged up," said Slappy.

"You may have a point there," said Dalton.

Dalton was a regular wild man, and last year he immortalized himself as such by dangling from a bus's luggage rack naked and tea-bagging other players as they walked from the bus lavatory—aka "spidermanning" them. Blade was another reliever from last year's championship team. Unlike Dalton, who made himself famous for creative uses of nudity, Blade's forte was his needling sarcasm. On the other hand, Slappy and Maddog, like Rosco, were relievers from last year's High-A Lake Elsinore team. That team was a madhouse compared to the Double-A bunch, with the maturity bar set so low it made Dalton look like a high school principal. Slappy was the spark plug of the group, an easily excited lefty who seemed to function without any hint of a moral conscience. Maddog, a cool, near-stoned-looking righty, never went looking for trouble, but he sure liked to hang around those who did, which was why he never seemed far way from Slappy. Rosco was the group's balance, if you could call him that. He was the voice of wisdom who, every so often, would say something insightful like, "If you do that, you're a complete dumb-ass."

Since I split time on both teams last year, I made friends with both sets of relievers. Watching them together reminded me just how many different personalities there are in the baseball community. It also reminded me how fast they can overcome those differences when they share a topic of common interest, like porn. This was what player interaction was like in spring training: a constantly moving mass of personalities that bumped into one another like blind tadpoles wearing the same jersey. Most players will stick with the groups and teams they've spent the most time with because we'll never all spend enough time together to become best friends unless we're placed on a team, or in a hotel room together, or have a good reason to branch out, like Asian sluts.

"I never pay full price for porn because I ain't gonna make it through more than five minutes' worth," continued Dalton.

"Think about it like this," said Slappy, sliding next to Dalton. "There's like eight scenes on every disk; that's at least eight preview trailers. Eight trailers for four dollars is 50 cents a trailer. It's still a bargain." Dalton stopped to consider Slappy's logic against the glossy, unshaven pictures on the DVD cases.

My locker was about 10 feet from the clubhouse's new and growing red light district. I had peed and bled already, and was taking a break from the rest of my tests, checking my issued uniform pants to see how the fit was. After coming to the Padres, Grady Fuson, the director of player development, had instituted a "must show sock" rule for which all the minor league players would be held accountable, starting today. Funny, you could get fined hundreds of dollars if you had your sister in your hotel room or didn't show enough sock when in uniform, but there was no charge for vending pornography in the locker room.

Drawn to this spectacle, more players came to investigate the Four-Dollar Porn Company. Most of them picked up a volume of something with nurses or librarians, chuckled to themselves, threw it back in the box, and went back to their lines. Everyone in baseball has seen porn, even me, Mr. Goody Two-Shoes Hayhurst, who refused to drink for five professional years and was still waiting for marriage. I made this confession to the boys last year in an attempt to show unity when they started to wonder if I was gay for not being sexually active. Instead of debating porn's objectification of women and desensitizing of the male psyche, I just told them I was religious, which was also why I sounded like a judgmental prick. They accepted this, and now that I was casually drinking, it was almost like I was a regular baseball player.

"So," said the voice of a player not affiliated with either of the teams I played on last year, "when you talk to your girl tonight, what are you going to tell her happened in the locker room today?"

"Good question," I said. One of the guys at the porn kiosk was now demo-ing a particular position he learned from a video referred to as "oil derricking." "I think I will opt out of discussing this morning's activity."

"It starts already," said my new friend, lacing his hands behind his head as if philosophizing. "Lying to protect your woman."

I didn't particularly like the sound of that. Probably because, in all my concern for how we would pull off a wedding while 3,000 miles apart, I forgot that baseball was infested with perpetual slimebag teenagers thinking under the full influence of their penises. I wanted my relationship with Bonnie to always be honest, and never based on omission.

But how do you discuss things like affairs, cleat chasers, slump busters, and the locker room red light district with the woman who longs to be your wife because you're supposedly a pure, noble gentleman who would never associate with such behavior?

After six years, I was desensitized to it all. But Bonnie was, for lack of a better term, a rookie. Sharing any of the details that happened in the world of baseball day-to-day could get our relationship in deep trouble. Then again, so could lying like none of it ever happened, setting Bonnie up to find out the ungodly truth behind the title when some veteran wife spilled the beans. Baseball has so much dirty laundry in it a player is practically guilty by simple association, and that was something I would have to own up to.

"You know, I think I will tell her," I said. "I'm sure she knows groups of guys can be crude. This stuff shouldn't shock her. I'll just need to impress upon her that I wasn't participating. You'll be my witness, right?"

"How much is my testimony worth to you?"

"How much is me actually throwing the fingers you put down worth to you?"

"A fair point."

My friend's name was Aden, and he was a catcher. He was also my newest roommate back at the team's spring training hotel. At about five years younger than me, he left me scratching my head as to how he managed a hotel suite since this was only his second spring training. When I was going into my second year, there was no way in hell I would have landed a suite.

"I wonder where they get their supply from?" I said, nodding to the porn.

"Asia, obviously," said Aden.

"Is it just me, or does baseball seem more sexually deviant this year?"

"Feels like the same place it was last year to me," said Aden. "Minus the, you know, porn salesmen in the clubhouse."

"Yeah, it's probably just because I'm seeing all this through the eyes of a man about to be married."

"Probably."

"Hey, Diggler." Rosco was talking to me. Diggler, another Dirkspawned nickname, was not an ironic choice considering the current situation. "Didn't you say last year that you liked the librarian-style, shy girl porn? Well, I just found the perfect 20-DVD set for you."

"That's alright, I'm good," I said.

"Yeah, Digs is getting married," said Maddog.

"Oh shit! Really? In that case, you'll need something a little crazier than librarians. You don't want to disappoint your girl on your first night."

"Yeah!" said Slappy. "Let me show you the Oil Derrick."

"Shut up, Slap. You don't do that to your wife. Marriage is sacred," said Rosco.

"If you can't do it to your wife, who can you do it to?" said Slappy.

I laughed at it all. Baseball season was definitely here again. "Thanks for your concern, fellas, but my wife-to-be isn't a librarian."

"But is she Asian?"

Inside The Spring Training Market For $4 PornFrom Out of My League: A Rookie's Survival in the Bigs by Dirk Hayhurst. Copyright © 2012. All rights reserved. Reprinted by arrangement with Kensington Publishing Corp. www.kensingtonbooks.com.