Some players come to the Atlantic League because they are baseball lifers. They are still living the dream to get back to the majors or at least affiliated baseball.
Sean Burroughs has a bigger reason to stay around.
He got his life back together.
Injuries and a rough lifestyle washed the 32 year-old out of the game in 2008. It was reported by ESPN a few years ago that he was living in cheap hotels and eating out of garbage pails.
“It was that ‘Leaving Las Vegas’ scenario,” Burroughs said to ESPN. “Motel hopping. I was living in all these motels because I was scared to stay in my house. I was paranoid of people following me. It was totally crazy, insanity. The guy I was then was paranoid and out of synch with reality.”
Burroughs had a substance abuse problem and fortunately for him, his parents helped him turn his life around. The son of former AL MVP Jeff Burroughs was able to make it back to the big leagues in 2011 with the Diamondbacks.
“I was with the Diamondbacks, the Twins and the Dodgers gave me a chance and it didn’t work out,” he said. “You know it’s a tough game if you don’t do well and produce. Nothing was out there for a job and Bridgeport called and here I’m am.”
Here is Long Island, and after playing for the Bridgeport Bluefish last season and most of this year, Burroughs was sent to the Ducks on August 10 for Bryan Sabatella.
“I love it,” he said. “I’m having a great time. I love this ballpark and I love these fans. They know their baseball. There’s a lot of history here. When you think of the Atlantic League, you think of the Ducks.”
He is the big stick in the middle of the Ducks lineup. Burroughs is hitting .335 with 4 home runs and 39 RBI this season and .382 since he joined the Ducks with one homer and 12 RBI.
He is a key reason why the Ducks went on this hot hitting streak. Much like the way the Met trades ignited their lineup, Burroughs helped the Ducks become the hottest team in their league.
A career third baseman, he is also now playing first base with the Ducks. He hopes that eventually he will get back to organized baseball and possibly the big leagues.
“That’s the goal,” he said, “for guys who have been in the big leagues and it’s a great league so I’m very happy.”
Even if he doesn’t, Burroughs wants to stay as long as the Ducks want him. After going through the depths of hell during his time away from baseball, playing in Central Islip is like a dream.
And for someone who is a baseball lifer, who was a back to back Little League World Series winner in 1992 and 1993 and an Olympic Gold Medalist in 2000, it’s important for him to stay in the game as long as possible.
“I came back and now they have to rip the jersey off of me,” he said, and hopefully it won’t come to that.
But Burroughs has a home now and maybe his bat will lead Long Island to the playoffs.