Even if you're a major league baseball player you can be unhappy in your job. That seems to be the case with Yairo Munoz, Cardinals utility infielder the past two years, who bizarrely chose to fly home to the Dominican Republic than show up for an MRI Thursday after feeling a "pop" in his last at bat as a Cardinal. This according to an article in the St. Louis Post Dispatch.

Leaving the team without notifying them along with what the Cardinals Director of Baseball Operations, John Mozeliak, characterized to the newspaper as an unhappiness with how the team was using him lead to the team's decision to to grant him his outright release allowing him to become his free agent.

What struck me when reading the Post Dispatch article wasn't that Munoz suffered an injury and freaked out and went home. It was more the story of a player who became disenchanted with the situation he found himself in. And when he felt that "pop" in his last at bat, that was it. He had enough of his current situation.

Those of us who dreamed of playing ball as a kid probably don't get it. How can you walk away from a game you're being paid to play? Those who played the game and struggled to make it to "the show" while toiling away in the minors like Crash Davis in "Bull Durham" probably don't get it. Heck, the Cardinals don't even get it.

More opportunities were going to come Yairo's way with the extra (spot) on the bench," Cardinals Manager Mike Shildt told the paper. "He was going to see more opportunities. I wish him the best. I wish I had a better explanation. It's been baffling.

 

It's very odd. I knew there was frustration brewing, and last year I knew there were some situations that he really wasn't happy with how he was being used. So in a way I'm not surprised, but I'm completely surprised because this never happens. -Cardinals Director of Baseball Operations John Mozeliak

It's not that hard to understand when you view baseball as a job or a career. Yairo Munoz was traded to the Cards in 2018, and made the team with a strong spring training. He did it again in 2019, earning a spot on the bench (instead of a minor league job) because of his performance.

When the Cardinals sent him down to AAA because they thought starting there would be better for his development than riding the bench in the majors, he expressed his frustration.

Then his closest friend on the team, Marcell Ozuna, signed with the Atlanta Braves this off season.

So let's see. You fight hard two seasons in a row for a job on the team. You make it, but you're not starting. The team thinks your development is stalled riding the bench, so they send you to the minors. You're unhappy with that. Then your closest friend on the team decides to move on to another job so you won't see him . Finally, you find yourself injured and unhappy.

Put it this way, you work hard in a job for a company for two years. You do well in the job, but wind up demoted, or put in some other position you don't like. Then your best friend, your work wife, your work husband decides to take a new job with a different company. Finally, you wind up with a cold, or some sort of outside stress, and that's it. You can't go back to that job. And you don't.

Only Yairo Munoz knows why he hopped that flight to the Dominican. But it's certainly plausible he had just had enough of his work situation with the Cardinals. After all, even baseball players can hate their job. And sometimes enough is enough.

You can catch every Cardinals regular season game on 1050 KSIS, your home for the St. Louis Cardinals in Sedalia. They open the season on Thursday March 26.