Article originally appeared in MiniMoto Magazine Issue 1 2004
Motocross has always been a crossover sport for many professional athletes and actors. While down at Cycle Ranch in Texas, we caught up with the second baseman for the Houston Astros, Jeff Kent, while he was busting laps on his XR50.
MiniMoto: So… what is your day job?
Jeff Kent: The day job is professional baseball player. I have played baseball in the big leagues for 12 years now.
MM: What brings you into motocross?
JK: Racing as a kid. I love the sport. Motocross is a great, adrenaline rush, individual sport. It takes a certain level of performance to be in shape to race motocross. While I am playing baseball, motocross keeps me in shape in the off season.
MM: When you say you participate in motocross, what does that mean? Do you get a chance to ride all year?
JK: Not during the season. For eight months of the year we play baseball. There are 162 games during the season and our season ends in October. We finish up and take a little breather, to kind of let the body recoup. My workout schedule is not baseball oriented, it’s motocross oriented. I like to trail ride and I like to race motocross. I don’t enter many organized motocross races, but I will sneak in a few every now and then.
MM: We hear when you’re done with baseball you want to have a motorcycle shop?
JK: Yes, I am trying to buy a motorcycle shop in northern California right now. I have been looking to stay in business somehow. Baseball players only have a career of 12 year, 15 years tops, and that is considered a long career. We end up retiring before we are 40-years-old and I want to get back into motocross, and I think that is the best way I can spend the money I made in baseball.
MM: I noticed you have a fast 50s mini. Tell us about your bike.
JK: It’s a like XR50. I got bit by the fad that was going around a couple years ago. I finally broke down and bought an XR50 last year and turned it into a Fast 50s Suzuki color bike. It has all the special gadgets on it. I have a bunch of fun on that bike.
MM: Do you want to race it and do you watch 50s videos?
JK: I do! If I can learn how to shoulder bump and knee bump, I would be racing those things. My kids are just now starting to turn the corner on age. I have a 6-year-old and a 4-yearl-old boy. They both ride this XR50. I race them around the track on it when they are riding their other bikes. I haven’t had a chance to enter a mini race, but when I am at a track and there is a race going on, I am going to be there!
MM: Is this 50cc mini-bike boom good for motorcycles in general?
JK: Big time. It is even more safe than you can imagine. It draws the enthusiasm you need to get back into the sport. It has the capacity for guys like me, the old big guys, the old skinny guys, the guys that don’t have much talent, these guys can get on a little XR50 and race around and act like they are the big leaguers.
MM: If they let you, at a big league baseball game, would you get out there on a 50 and do a lap around the diamond?
JK: (Laughs) Yeah, and when I got to home plate I wouldn’t slide, I would just do a doughnut around the plate. That would be cool.