Whether it’s because of the home run, the contract or the drug abuse, odds are you’ve heard of Jon Singleton by now.
Let’s start with the home run.
The Astros rookie belted a 429-foot homer in his major league debut on Tuesday, helping Houston to a 7-2 win over the Angels at Minute Maid Park.
“It was definitely overwhelming,” Singleton said. “It was special.”
The home run put a nice twist on an otherwise tough night. Singleton struck out twice and committed two errors at first base.
“To be honest, it was nerves,” he said. “I can definitely make those plays on any given day, but there’s definitely a little bit of nerves and anxiety going on.”
Singleton homered off Matt Shoemaker to lead off the eighth.
“He threw something over the middle of the plate, and I just happened to put a good swing on it,” Singleton said. “That was all she wrote after that.”
After that, a blur.
“My mind went blank,” Singleton said. “My heart was pounding, and I was just running. I honestly didn’t know how to react at first. But once I started running around the bases, it all kind of set in about the excitement and the whole process of (hitting) it.”
And now, let’s talk about that contract . . .
Singleton, 22, signed a five-year, $10-million deal before playing even a single game in the majors. The contract includes three club options and could be worth up to $35 million.
“Nothing in life is guaranteed, and I just wanted to take advantage of the opportunity that was in front of me,” Singleton said. “God gave me a gift, and I just want to be able to go out and have fun every day.”
Singleton, however, has been widely criticized for accepting this contract, as he will forgo arbitration and might not be able to test the free-agent waters until he’s 30. Baltimore starting pitcher Bud Norris called Singleton’s contract terrible and said he wished the highly touted prospect had listened to the union – and not his agent.
“Everyone’s entitled to their own opinion,” Norris said. “Obviously Bud feels a certain way about what happened and what went down. That’s all fine and dandy, but I still feel good about the position I’m in and where I’m at right now. I just want to be stable, be secure, play ball and have fun – play the game that I love and have a passion for. Of course, to make a lot of money is the goal, but we all want to go out there and play the game that we have a love for.”
Singleton can do just that – provided that he doesn’t fail any more drug tests.
“I mean, I’m definitely a marijuana addict – a pot head, so to speak,” Singleton said. “It’s definitely something I’ve been dealing with ever since I was in the eighth grade, ninth grade. It’s definitely been a battle.”
Singleton stopped using marijuana when he became a professional but picked it up again when he was 19.
“It just grew and grew and got out of control,” he said. “It definitely has an adverse effect on your body and your mind when you do it over a long period of time. It definitely takes control of you. I wouldn’t necessarily say that it’s okay and it doesn’t affect you, but if you’re able to do what you want to do, go ahead. But me personally, I like to keep my head in a good place, so I try to stay away from it.”