How does a MLB player transition to an office worker?

Matt Murton as office worker among the cubicles

The Chicago Cubs have named Chris Denorfia as Special Assistant to the President/General Manager and Matt Murton as Baseball Operations Assistant.

  • Chris Denorfia played for Cincinnati, Oakland, San Diego, Seattle, and the Cubs from 2005 to 2015. He was also a minor league regular from 2002 to 2017.
  • Matt Murton played outfield on and off for the Cubs, Oakland, and Colorado from 2005 to 2009. He also spent a good amount of those years in the minors until 2017.

I wonder how ex-players perform in an office environment. They are so used to the concept of working being hanging out on a baseball field. How do they adjust to office life?

Sitting in front of a computer 9-5. Dealing with the normal idiosyncrasies of corporate life, coworkers, meetings, emails, annual reviews.

Imagine if some ballplayers had excel skills that they utilized to compile data against pitchers and hitters. The front office sees this player in the clubhouse with a laptop crunching numbers like a mad Excel wizard. Word gets around the front office, like, “Dang, this player has Excel skills! We gotta hire him! He’s so good with Excel, let’s continue his 1,000,000 salary.”

In the office, he would be called “Our Million-Dollar Excel Employee.”

[Update: Matt Murton made $337,000 and $415,000 in 2006 and 2007 for the Cubs. Not $1,000,000. Denorfia fared better earning an average of $1,240,562 over nine MLB seasons. So Denorfia can be the million-dollar-excel-wizard]

I mean, really, working in an office is a completely different environment from playing outside on a baseball field. Baseball is such a casual sport. Hanging out on a bench. Hanging out in the clubhouse.

But maybe there are connections between baseball and office life. Tenacity and hard work with long practices and working out in the gym. Focus while on the baseball field. Empathy for your teammates.

And perhaps these really aren’t office jobs? Maybe they are schmoozing jobs with a ton hob-nobbing and chit-chatting.

But “Baseball Operations Assistant” sure sounds like dealing with the nitty gritty details of running a company.

Certainly, players can adapt. But Denorfia is 37 years old. Murton is 36 years old. I’m guessing they never really worked in an office five days a week. Habits and expectations are harder to break when you get older (I speak from experience as a 41-year-old).

I wish Denorfia and Murton the best. Seeing former players get office jobs is certainly great to give these guys work after baseball. And their on-field experience gives the Cubs office insider knowledge. I would just love to see how they actually function as corporate 9-5 workers.

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