Brandon Dixon doesn’t exactly need to rely on his full scholarship at the UA anymore.
That became so when, as a third-round draft pick of the Los Angeles Dodgers, his first contract included a $560,500 signing bonus.
Do the math: That’ll get you more than 1.5 million Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches at the UA’s student union. (Or, like, five textbooks at the bookstore).
Or, as many athletes do on their first contract, it can lead to the purchase of fancy new car, or a house, along with some flashy bling.
Dixon went in a different direction.
“I really haven’t purchased anything,” Dixon said.
“Well, actually” he added, laughing, “The other day I bought George Strait tickets. That’s about it.”
As in, the 61-yard country singer, who is making a stop at US Airways Center in Phoenix on Friday as part of a farewell tour.
See, Dixon hasn’t really had much time to buy anything too extravagant.
He played his last game with the Wildcats on May 26, was drafted by the Dodgers on June 7, signed his contract on June 14, reported to the Low-A Great Lakes Loons and played in his first game in Midland, Mich., on June 20. He went 1 for 4 in his debut.
“It was a new life experience,” Dixon said. “I’ve never had anything like that, I don’t know, being in the real world it’s just completely different than college baseball. But it’s a lot of fun and it’s been a dream of mine so it’s been nice.”
The former Wildcat third baseman returned to Tucson last week as a member of the Dodgers Future Stars team. He and the collection of minor leaguers played again Saturday night at the Vamos a Tucson Mexican Baseball Fiesta at Kino Stadium.
Performance-wise, Dixon could use some of the good vibes he left the UA with before he became a member of the Dodgers organization.
UA head coach Andy Lopez often raved about Dixon’s five-tool skillset — in 2013 for the Wildcats, he batted a team-best .369 with six home runs, 51 RBIs and a team-high 30 stolen bases.
That success didn’t exactly translate in his first, albeit short, professional season.
For the Loons, Dixon batted .185, with one home run, 17 RBIs and six steals in 59 games.
“Yeah, I mean I didn’t play as well as I wanted to, obviously,” Dixon said. “But it was more of a learning experience, I think, just getting my feet wet in my first pro season, it’s definitely a good thing that I went through that.”
The Star spoke with Dixon before Saturday’s game between the Dodgers Future Stars and the Tomateros de Culiacán of the Mexican Baseball League. The Dodgers will face Yaquis de Obregón this afternoon at 2 p.m. Here’s what he said:
On whether he’s had a free moment to sit back and realize that he’s a pro:
“I’ve had a few moments, mostly after the first season I had like a week break before I went to (instructional camp). I was just hanging out and realizing ‘Hey, I’m not going back to school, this is kind of weird.’ ”
On coming back to Tucson and seeing old teammates:
“I didn’t know we were playing in Tucson until probably about a week ago. I knew I was coming to ‘instructs’ but didn’t know about this until about a week ago. It’s good, it’s good to be back, I have my girlfriend and a few buddies coming out so it’ll be good to just kind of be back here. I’ll probably swing by tonight after the game and hang out with a few of them. I went back to the stadium clubhouse about two, three weeks ago and it was different not being a part of the team. A bunch of new guys were there that I didn’t know, so it was weird.”
On whether he’s talked to Lopez since the UA announced he will have heart surgery Monday:
“I talked to his two sons. I’m sure he will be fine, but he’s in my thoughts, he’s in my prayers. A guy like that, he’s had so much influence on me. It’s sad to hear something like that but the type of person he is, I’m not worried about him getting through it.”