This crazy perk may be the reason Charlie Culberson is now pitching for the Braves

Culberson is only 50 days away from becoming eligible for a crazy perk that most fans and players would die for.
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves
Washington Nationals v Atlanta Braves / Carmen Mandato/GettyImages

After spending over 16 years as a professional hitter, Charlie Culberson will head to the Braves Spring Training camp looking to win a spot in the bullpen.

While it looks like just one way of an MLB player doing everything he can to stay in professional baseball, Culberson's pitching abilities are nothing to scoff at.

But, as cool as it would be for Culberson to earn a spot out of the Braves bullpen, becoming one of the few MLB players to make the conversion from position player to hitter might not be Culberson's only motivation.

In fact, Culberson's conversion to the mound might have something to do with MLB's Lifetime Pass.

What is the MLB Lifetime Pass (aka the MLB Gold Card)

The MLB Lifetime Pass, also known as the MLB Gold Card, is a lifetime pass given out by Major League Baseball that entitles the cardholder and a guest to free tickets to any regular season game. for the rest of their lives.

All the holder needs to do to redeem tickets is present the golden card at the team's ticket office.

Although the pass can technically be given to anyone at MLB's discretion, there are thresholds for MLB players and front office members before they can obtain it.

For MLB players, that threshold is eight years of service time. For MLB front office personnel, that threshold is 25 years.

What does the MLB Gold Card have to do with Charlie Culberson pitching?

Despite making his MLB debut nearly twelve years ago, the 35-year-old hasn't been a mainstay on MLB rosters. Because of his ups and downs from the big leagues to the minors, Culberson only has seven years and 123 days of MLB service time, 50 days short of qualifying for MLB's Lifetime Pass.

The Georgia native was able to bank 72 days of service time last year with the Braves despite only appearing in one game, but the chances of Culberson repeating that feat with any MLB team in 2024 and beyond was increasingly small.

The utility player only slashed .204/.234/.255 with Gwinnett last season and his time as a hitter was almost certainly drawing to a close. In fact, Culberson was already working towards transitioning to pitching prior the being called up by the Braves in May of last season.

In an interview with Dave Lezotte in September, Culberson cited extending his career as one reason for pursuing a career on the mound.

And why would Charlie Culberson be so interested in extending an MLB career so late into his career?

The MLB Lifetime Pass, obviously. If Culberson can stick out 50 more days on an MLB roster, he'll never have to pay for MLB regular season tickets for himself ever again.

That's certainly worth it if you ask me.