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Former Major League Baseball superstar Johnny Damon says he’s lucky he’s not a child looking to break into the sport of baseball here in the year 2020. If he was, he probably wouldn’t be able to grow up to play for some of the best teams of all time.
That’s because the average cost of a travel baseball league is about $1,500 a year. “There’s no way I would’ve had the opportunity to play baseball if I was living in this era,” Damon told Muscle & Fitness.
America’s favorite pastime didn’t cost that much when he was growing up, but it was still a struggle for his family to afford it. “My mom worked three jobs so she could raise the extra money and sign us up for baseball,” Damon recalls.
It’s safe to say his mother’s investment was worth it. Damon is a two-time World Series champion, two-time All Star, and in 2000 he led the America League in stolen bases. His first World Series title was with the 2004 Boston Red Sox, who made history by breaking the team’s infamous “Curse of the Bambino,” and in the American League Championship Series leading to that title he hit an unforgettable Grand Slam to defeat the rival New York Yankees.
Now, eight years removed from his days in the big leagues, Damon wants to ensure future champions will have a chance to prove their skills on the diamond. As a member of the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition and through his own group, The Johnny Damon Foundation, he’s trying to work with donors and sponsors to give children a chance to get out and be active.
“We’re going into a future where you can only play sports if you only have money and that’s not right,” he says. “We’re just trying to give these kids an opportunity.”
He’s also worked with the Boys & Girls Club to open a new facility in Winter Garden, FL.
But that’s not all Damon’s been up to. He’s also getting ready to launch “A-Game,” a new line of CBD-infused products focused on helping athletes recover from grueling games and workouts. The products will include muscle tape, sports drinks, and more. “I love the name, A-Game, because everyone talks about bringing their A-Game,” he says. “I wanted to make sure there was a product that people could feel good about.”
As Damon moves closer to the fitness industry, we spoke to him about his upcoming company launch, life in the MLB, and more.
Why he got into the CBD business
“I played in so many games and it was grueling, and I still like to compete. I compete on the golf course, and I play soccer. Sometimes when I get up in the morning it hurts. I know from studying the benefits of CBD that it could not only help a retired athlete, but also other people dealing with injuries. This is for the baseball player, the guy who goes to the gym three days a week, or even six days a week.”
“A lot of CBD products don’t give you enough product education or vendor information, so we’re going to do better. I didn’t want to put my name on just anything. I’m going to surround myself with great people, so I love the name and I love the fact we’re going to give people a great product.” A-Game’s website, AGameCBD.com will go live on May 1, and will be available in vitamin stores and more in the coming weeks.
How he got into baseball
“I was considering playing football, playing soccer, and playing baseball. Baseball became an easier game for me because I didn’t have to get hit as hard as I do in football, and I didn’t like all the running they made you do in soccer. Baseball was just something I caught on with a six-year-old kid and I absolutely loved it. I was really good at a young age and I was competing against the older boys and really holding my own.”
Playing for the historic 2004 Boston Red Sox team, and winning the World Series
“That was definitely the highlight of my career. After 86 years of being considered losers, we had a different mindset. We weren’t thinking of losing, because that’s not a fun way to play the game. We had a great mindset and we had a couple of guys who won before. We wanted to go down in history, and that’s exactly what we did.”
Why he chose to go the Red Sox’s arch rivals, the New York Yankees
“I didn’t have an offer from the Red Sox, and so I became a free agent. I knew how much baseball meant in Boston, so I wanted to continue playing in a market that cared about baseball. I wanted baseball to remain important, so that’s why I wanted to stay in the American League East. That’s why you play the game, for it to matter.”
On his involvement on the President’s Council on Sports, Fitness & Nutrition
“I was invited by President Trump because he loved me on Celebrity Apprentice and he knew I’m a winner and a guy who can reach out to a lot of people. I do a lot of charity work and he knew I would be great for it.”