Nationals pitcher Burke Badenhop warms up during a spring training baseball workout. (John Raoux/Associated Press)
brushback_harper

VIERA, Fla. — Burke Badenhop was 25 years old when the Florida Marlins called him up from Class AA to join them for a series against the Nationals in Washington, D.C. When he got the call, Badenhop and his teammates were playing in Mobile, Ala., and Badenhop rushed his way to join the Marlins without much time to prepare for the on- and off-field leap.

When he got to Washington, Badenhop headed to Pentagon City, because the big league dress code is different than the dress code in the Southern League, to the extent that there is one. He walked into Banana Republic — plenty of big-and-tall options, the 6-5 reliever pointed out — and headed to the register with around $500 in clothes.  The cashier told him he could save 20 percent if he opened a Banana Republic credit card.

I was like that’s 100 bucks, let’s do it,” Badenhop said. “She’s putting my stuff through and she’s like ‘I’ve never seen this happen before.’ It wasn’t because I had bad credit, it was just because I didn’t have any credit.”

Badenhop hadn’t built up his credit the way he could have by that time, and he regretted it. By that time, he could list his salary at around $400,000 a year. He had majored in economics at Bowling Green.

“There’s not a class in college about that kind of financial stuff,” Badenhop said. “I got really good grades in college, but I couldn’t get a Banana Republic credit card?”

One of Badenhop’s high school classmates wrote a book called Financial Planning for your First Job, a high-school level book, “stuff your mom and dad should have taught you,” Badenhop said. The author asked Badenhop to contribute that story about when he first arrived in the majors. Some time in 2009 or 2010, Badenhop remembered, he agreed to do it.

I’ve gotten royalties for it. It’s nice,” Badenhop said. “It’s paid for my fantasy football entries the past couple years.” 

Badenhop, a 33-year-old sinkerballer competing for one of the few available spots in the Nationals bullpen, has also written for Buster Olney and Grantland, and done podcasts with MLBTradeRumors.com, who wants him to write for them some time soon.

For now, Badenhop is focused on bouncing back from what amounted to a down year for him statistically with Cincinnati, and prove to Dusty Baker that his ground-ball getting prowess has not diminished one bit. So far this spring, Badenhop has appeared in four games for a total of four innings. He has allowed two runs on five hits and struck out two with a 2.33 groundball-to-flyball ratio.

DAYS UNTIL OPENING DAY: 21