When the Texas Rangers picked up Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson in the Rule 5 draft back in December, the move was universally called nothing more than a publicity stunt and, by some, a waste of $12,000.
First off, $12,000 is pocket change for an MLB franchise. That much is obvious. Second, while it was a bit of publicity stunt, you have to look at it in broader terms than that to see what the Rangers got out of their one-day investment on Monday with the now-Super Bowl champion quarterback.
Wilson ate breakfast with the team, was on the back fields going through infield drills with Rangers manager Ron Washington, known as an infield guru in the game, and then was in the dugout cheering on his teammates in the Rangers' Cactus League game against Cleveland before spending an eternity signing autographs and seeing his jersey T-shirts with his No.3 fly off the shelves in Arizona.
Wilson was brought in to try to mentor some of the Rangers' young players, which he did on Sunday night when he spoke to the young players about drive and determination and what it takes to be a champion. That alone was worth the $12k, as it's a relatively cheap public appearance fee for a Super Bowl winning quarterback. You add in the merchandise sales and everything else, and the Rangers recouped their investment, and more.
Wilson was set to return to Seattle on Tuesday, and he's still Rangers property in baseball terms. The former second baseman in the Colorado Rockies' system didn't rule out taking a run at pro baseball again someday. But for now, the 25-year-old's focus is on winning another Super Bowl.
"You never say never," Wilson told reporters in Arizona. "I've always had the dream of playing two sports. If somehow it was a miracle that it could work out, I'd consider it. At the same time, my focus is winning the championship with the Seattle Seahawks and hope to be playing for a long time."