There are plenty of reasons why Bo Schultz could have long ago given up on the dream of playing Major League Baseball.
But the 30-year-old Park Cities native with the funky sidearm delivery instead finds himself with a chance to pitch for a pennant contender for the second straight year.
Schultz has spent the past two seasons bouncing between the Toronto Blue Jays and their Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo. He appeared in 31 games at the big-league level last year and 10 more during a four-week stint this summer.
He was a valuable contributor to the Toronto bullpen last season, with a 3.56 earned-run average and a save in 43 innings, but he wasn’t chosen for the postseason roster. Still, it’s a testament to his perseverance — he didn’t even advance to the Double-A level until he was 26, for example — that Schultz reached the pinnacle of his sport in the first place.
After all, he’s endured almost a decade’s worth of small-town minor-league bus trips, spent part of one season playing independent ball, and made his major-league debut in Australia. So all things considered, his current situation is a model of stability.
The Highland Park High School graduate didn’t make much of an impression while playing college baseball at Northwestern (with an ERA of 9.13), but still signed a free-agent contract with the Oakland Athletics in 2008.
He spent three seasons in that organization before being released in 2011. When he returned home to finish out the season with the independent Grand Prairie Airhogs, it looked like his career might be over.
However, Schultz got another chance with the Arizona Diamondbacks the following year, and eventually reached the major leagues as part of a roster expansion at the beginning of the 2014 season, when Arizona played a historic two-game series against the Los Angeles Dodgers in Sydney.
After a handful of relief outings with mixed results, the Diamondbacks placed Schultz on waivers, where he was claimed by the Blue Jays and subsequently had his most successful year to date.
Despite a hip injury that required offseason surgery, and a couple of demotions because of roster shuffling this year, Schultz is still pitching, seeing the world, and living the dream.