After posting a 10.90 ERA in 18 games with three minor league teams in two different organizations in 2011, Blaine Boyer decided he’d had enough baseball. At 30-years-old, he retired and got a real estate license.
Today, he’s one of the most reliable relievers in the Twins bullpen, posting a 2.50 ERA in 36 appearances so far in 2015. Why he walked away and how he got back to the big leagues make Boyer one of the most interesting athletes you’ll ever encounter.
Boyer and I discussed his retirement, overseas adventure, path to Minnesota and more during the last homestand.
DZ: We are about halfway through the season right now – your first season in Minnesota; how are you feeling right now? How are things going for you?
BOYER: They are great, man. I love this squad, love the team. Our coaches are fantastic, we are having a really good time with Molitor, Neil (Allen), Eddie (Guardado). From a pitching standpoint, it’s almost like a perfect storm. You’ve got great clubhouse guys here, great leaders – it’s awesome.
DZ: Let’s go back to spring training for a second. You came in as a non-roster guy, what were your expectations…?
BOYER: In my mind, I was coming in here to fight for a spot on this team. I wasn’t at all, even my mind, ever going to the minor leagues. I was trying to stay positive like that. I had a good spring…I talked to Terry Ryan before I signed and he told me that I was going to have every opportunity to make the team. So, that was obviously a huge – that was what drew me here as opposed to other places. I trusted Terry; I had other people tell me that, but I just really, really trusted Terry.
DZ: …From everything I know about Terry Ryan, he’s got a really good reputation about keeping his word…
BOYER: He does and I knew some other people as well that are in front offices around the league and they hold Terry in very high regard. I knew when I came in here that I truly was going to get a good look and a good shot.
DZ: I read something really interesting about you; that you actually decided to retire after the 2011 season because of the grind of being a professional baseball player and spending time away from your family had kind of gotten to you.
BOYER: Yeah, it did. It wore me out. It’s a whole long story, but as far as the way I grew up – not a having a real, stable family life. I just didn’t want that for my boys. I wanted to be around the whole time. We were expecting our second boy when I decided to hang it up and I was fully ready to do it. Things changed. I had some friends talk to me about what that might entail if I am 50, 60 years old and looking back on my life and wondering if there was an opportunity that I just kind of squandered. That ultimately led me to decide to come back through a lot of prayer, a lot of talking with the family and putting things in place of what we would do if we went back to baseball to make our lives – the boys, my wife, to be with me as much as they possibly could. Here and on the road.
DZ: On your way back here, you actually made a stop in Japan; what was it like playing over there?
BOYER: It was awesome. We had a blast. It was great playing baseball in Japan, it was fun. But for us as a family, just to be over there in a completely different world than what I am used to and just kind of huddling them up and being together was great; a great time. The boys loved and my wife loved it too.
DZ: One last thing; most fans see you guys as baseball players – it looks like a pretty cool job to have – what are some things that people maybe don’t know about what it’s like balancing a real life and baseball a career?
BOYER: In this culture, obviously in America, we put baseball players right on top of everything…Now, when you become a baseball player, you just realize that’s so far from the reality. We are just everyday people, we just happen to play baseball for a living. It’s no different than any other job you could possibly have here in America (in that) our goal is to put food on the table, provide, compete, play hard, do whatever we do to the best of our possible ability. There’s no difference (there); it’s just that you see us on TV and we have people coming to our games to watch us. Unfortunately, people have this perception about a lot of ballplayers that’s really not (true). I think some people can sometimes get carried away. I too, can get carried away. If I am having a bad day, we are having a bad game – you get hammered…by the media, you get hammered by the fans, you get hammered on Twitter – it’s a little different than if you are just doing a regular nine to five job and you mess up, it’s not on the cover of the sports section the next day.
It’s a little different, but shoot, I am certainly not complaining. It comes with the territory. I am certainly glad I do what I do and I love what I do. I am blessed to do what I do. I am certainly thankful for that day in and day out.