BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KGET) – Below the major leagues, far from massive stadiums and multimillion-dollar contracts, another group of baseball players work, train, work and get paid next to nothing.
“I don’t like to sugarcoat things. So when you’re pulling in $45 in cash a week to play a sport 2,000 miles from home, it’s daunting,” said Westside Wooly Mammoths pitcher Zach Devon.
That’s the reality for Bakersfield Train Robbers players, as it is for thousands of baseball players across the country.
“I drove across the country, not knowing where I lived until I got there. So it’s kind of a vulnerable state,” said Savannah Bananas pitcher Luke Kelley.
But here in Bakersfield, people are trying to change that. People like Sherri Jobe, who has opened her home to players since 2017.
“We have an open door here,” said Sherri Jobe, a foster mother. “If they are hungry, they can come and eat, and if they want to go swimming anytime, they can go swimming here. They can come and go like our boys do.
Jobe, who has two sons with husband Donnie, said she now has dozens more. It has hosted between 20 and 25 players over the past 5 years, including Luke and Zach.
“It was late, they were both asleep, so we caught up with them the next day, and you could tell they loved every part,” Devon said. “They were both so happy, they are both active Christian hearts in the church and they just love each other. They love it, man.
The safe roof and stable bed allow players like Devon to pursue their dreams.
“You grow up and you have this dream, you had no idea how special it would be if you made it happen,” Devon said.
It also gives Jobe a motherly peace of mind.
“As a mother, I know that with my boys, my two boys, I hope someone will take care of them and I would know they are safe,” Jobe said.
Devon is getting married later this year in North Carolina. And this time, it’s the Jobes’ turn to cross the country for baseball.
“We’re going to their wedding because they’re part of our family,” Jobe said.