WINTER HAVEN, Fla. (AP) -Randy Newsom has never thrown a pitch above Double-A ball. Still, he wants to put himself on the market.
The stock market, that is.
A minor league pitcher with the Cleveland Indians, Newsom worked in obscurity Monday on the crowded back fields at spring training, distinguished from hundreds of hopefuls only by the red No. 41 on the back of his sweat-soaked blue uniform top.
``It's time to get down to business,'' he said after several strenuous sessions of fundamental drills such as covering first base.
The right-hander meant the business of pitching, because a good showing in camp could earn him his first promotion to Triple-A. But the word ``business'' means many things to the Tufts University graduate whose entrepreneurial ambitions keep all his bases covered.
In January, his company, Real Sports Investments, sold 1,800 shares of stock in Newsom's future. For $20, anyone could buy a share of the 25-year-old's career, an investment that could net .0016 percent of his future major league earnings.
Though Newsom had 18 saves at Double-A Akron in 2007, it isn't as if he's assembled a blue-chip portfolio during four years in the minors. Signed by the Boston Red Sox as an undrafted free agent in 2004, Newsom has gone a workmanlike 11-8 with a 3.29 ERA and 26 saves in 132 relief appearances.
``I'm not a guy scouts see and say, 'Definite big league material,' but I've always dreamed of being in the majors. I'm still here, so I've got a chance,'' the Cincinnati native said.
His company might not get to follow through on Newsom's unique business plan, though he is confident scheduled meetings in April with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) and Major League Baseball will change that.
The company temporarily shut down in February when MLB and the players' union questioned whether rules within baseball's collective bargaining agreement or those set by the SEC had been broken.
Newsom refunded $36,000 that had been collected from clients and wants to assure everyone that his only underhanded dealings come from his submarine-style pitching motion.
``This was an idea to bring together players and fans,'' he said. ``A lot of fans will love the chance to follow guys and help them. And players would love the chance to be financially stable.''
Newsom pointed out that such options are common in individual sports like pro golf and pro bowling.
``For players, it's like insurance,'' Newsom said. ``An athlete never knows what the future holds. There's a misconception about how much minor leaguers make. The top draft picks do well, everybody else kind of struggles along.''
Newsom doesn't lack for ideas. He already has a jack-of-all-trades online business (lacersonline.com), which among its many products offers embroidery for golf-club covers.
``Get on line and take a look,'' Newsom said with his best salesman's grin. ``There's all sorts of items. You'll find something you like.''
Left-hander Jeremy Sowers, the Indians' resident deep thinker who achieved academic honors at Vanderbilt, just shakes his head at Newsom's sales skills.
``I know Randy and all I can say is his ideas are original, they're bizarre, and more power to him,'' Sowers said. ``It's way above me.''
Newsom would rather be in Sowers' shoes, a first-round pick (2004) with big league experience and star potential.
``Baseball is my top priority. I know I've got a lot to learn, a lot of things I must improve and so I'm focusing all my energy on pitching,'' Newsom said.
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