Any hope that minor league sports was the last bastion of loyalty and purity took a hit this week when Las Vegas 51s catcher J.P. Arencibia left the team for a bigger paycheck with the major league Toronto Blue Jays.
"It’s so disappointing to see Arencibia chase after money like that,” said Jeff Pastore, a Las Vegas season ticket holder. “Outside of saying it was his lifelong dream to make the major leagues, he always talked about wanting to win a championship. And let’s be realistic, where is he more likely to win a title: here in Triple-A with the 51s or with the Blue Jays? You know the answer. This was all about money.”
Arencibia was called up to the Blue Jays when starting catcher John Buck went on the disabled list with a cut on his hand. The 24-year-old made his major league debut Saturday against the Rays. During his stay in Toronto he will earn a pro-rated major league minimum salary of $400,000, far above what he made in Triple-A with the Las Vegas 51s.
"As long as I can remember, ever since I was a little boy, it was my one and only dream to play major league baseball,” says Arencibia. “And now that dream has come true. I am so happy. But I don’t want it to end. I want to prove I belong here and make a long career out of it.”
Las Vegas fan Margene Miller says Arencibia’s words are transparent.
“He's been here for two years," she said. "Does he have no loyalty? He didn't have to take the money Toronto was offering, you know. His greed is sickening. His only real dream since he was a kid was to get rich and screw over the people who supported him in climbing to the top. I hope he fails in Toronto.”
Arencibia says he cherished his time in Las Vegas.
"Las Vegas is a great town full of good people and I feel like I established myself as a professional there. I loved my time there and have wonderful memories,” he said. “But I would prefer to stay here in Toronto.”
“Jeez, what an asshole,” said Miller.