JACK' SMACK: Professional athletes can go whine about 'pressure' to someone else

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Let's put the game of baseball in perspective.

It's a fantasy world, one that most of us only get to dream about. The players get to spend six weeks in the desert every winter, refining their skills.

Of course we, as fans, are envious. We get to spend the winter sloshing through a couple feet of snow and showing up at work every day, at a real job, in the real world.

Then the season begins.

It usually takes about a week or so  -- and then we start hearing grumbling from some of these multi-million-dollar players.

I credit the Royals. There's no complaining so far from the players.

Josh Hamilton, who signed a $125 million contract with the Angels, has already struck out 10 times in his first 20 at-bats. You hear players talk about how pressure mounts when they go into a slump early on.

I want to read a quote from one of Hamilton's teammates.

Here it is, verbatim: "This game is hard enough as it is, but when there's an additional mental burden, it's extremely difficult to overcome a lot of obstacles."

I don't know what that means.

Lance Berkman, Rangers DH, signed a one-year, $10 million contract in the off-season.

He says, "This game is about proving yourself on a daily basis."

So -- what job isn't?

Look, these baseball players are blessed and very fortunate to play a kid's game for Monopoly-type money.

Their idea of pressure in playing a game is out of whack. If they think hitting a baseball is pressure -- check with the guy who has four kids and a wife, and he just got laid off from his job at Claycomo.

That's pressure.

And that's Jack's Smack.

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