American Hero: Jeff Motuzas

While tenured academics tell us we’re no longer in a recession, it remains, to a man, hard out there for a pimp. So it is uplifting to learn of a man like D-backs bullpen catcher Jeff Motuzas, whose enterprising spirit would’ve allowed him to thrive in the gravest of economic conditions. Remember when, as history teaches, a dust bowl descended upon Germany not long after the Treaty of Versailles kicked in and Okie Deutschlanders were reduced to paying for things with coal, serpent plasma and palpable regret? Jeff Motuzas would’ve been fine, thank you. Why is that? Because eating the reputedly inedible and letting Livan Hernandez konk you in the pills for cash makes for a downturn-proof income:

A recitation of Motuzas’s money-making exploits should come with a disclaimer: Kids, don’t try this at home. He has snorted wasabi and eaten horseradish by the bowlful. He has devoured a dozen donuts and guzzled 13 bottles of water. And this is the PG-rated version. “Tooz will eat anything except poop, urine and vomit,” Diamondbacks reliever Sam Demel said. “No, wait—I’m sorry. He will eat vomit.”

Demel cited the memorable day when a former teammate regurgitated some yogurt and slathered it on a potato chip for Motuzas. Demel also said he once saw Motuzas ingest a concoction of chewing tobacco dip spit and 3-day-old chili.

Pitcher Livan Hernandez became something of a sadistic benefactor when he arrived in Arizona in 2006. Motuzas said Hernandez once paid him $3,000 to drink a gallon of milk in 12 minutes. The two also hammered out a deal that permitted Hernandez to punch Motuzas in the groin for $50 a pop whenever he felt the urge. Motuzas would receive a $300 bonus after every 10th punch.

Motuzas, 39, freely volunteers his feats. How about the day he dry-shaved his armpits and left a thick coating of medicinal hot balm on them for an entire game? (“It burned so bad.”) Or ate 11 bananas in four minutes? (“That’s easy stuff.”) Or the time he let pitcher Dan Haren fire at him from close-range with a BB gun? (“He’d shoot me right in the earlobe.”)

Checking account reaching unimagined depths? Jeff Damn Motuzas would say you’re just not trying. Which you clearly aren’t.

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Really, major league baseball players are just 11 year old boys with more money and bigger muscles.