Players overcome with Powerball fever

January 14th, 2016

LAS VEGAS -- The Players Trust poker tournament wasn't the only potentially lucrative event on the mind of baseball players on Wednesday at the MGM Grand Hotel. There was that nationwide Powerball craze, too.

Sure, ballplayers make a good living, but who wasn't swept up in the potential chance of winning $1.6 billion? The drawing was held Wednesday night, and three people won a share of the big jackpot.

A few of the Major Leaguers had some thoughts on the drawing and couldn't help but speculate on what they might do if they hit it big.

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Angels left-hander Hector Santiago said winning a cool billion would make playing a lot more stress-free.

"I would just go out and have some fun in baseball," Santiago said with a laugh. "I think that would take a lot of pressure off pitching. This is always a great game to be a part of, and that would make it so much easier to go out there and pitch and not have the stress of having to do so well so you can have your job the next year."

Rangers third baseman Adrian Beltre, like Santiago, said he would opt for the lump-sum payment as opposed to getting a yearly payout.

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"I heard that if you get payments every year and you die, you can't give it to anybody else," Beltre said, citing a common misconception. "I have kids. I have to think about these things."

Beltre, however, said he would not retire, and anyone who saw him play despite a severe back strain in last year's American League Division Series against the Blue Jays wouldn't have a hard time understanding why.

"At this stage of my career, I'm not playing baseball for money," Beltre said. "I'm playing because I like it."

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In the spirit of the poker tournament, which raises money for the charitable wing of the MLB Players Association, outfielder Shane Victorino and recently retired reliever LaTroy Hawkins had philanthropic visions for their possible Powerball riches.

"What would I do?" Hawkins said. "I would definitely impact a lot of other peoples' lives."

Victorino simply stated, "I'd give it all away."

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Rays outfielder Steven Souza Jr. and Blue Jays first baseman Chris Colabello both said they'd take the lump sum, too.

Souza said he'd invest in the Rays.

Colabello said he'd tell Toronto that he'd be happy to play for free.

"And I'm not kidding," Colabello said. "I'd play baseball until I was 100. Having all that money would give me every reason to play baseball for as long as I was alive."