It's not often that 12th-round picks get $250,000, but Nick Peterson did it.
It wasn't for what he did on the baseball field, however, but what he did on a reality television show.
Peterson, a righthander who pitched two seasons in the Yankees system, won the ABC reality show "Bachelor Pad" last night, shocking the reality show cognoscenti by keeping the $250,000 prize money for himself rather than sharing it with his partner in the game.
Peterson attended Jesuit High in Tampa before attending Appalachian State for two years. He then transferred to the University of Tampa, where he pitched for the Spartans from 2005-06. As a member of the 2006 NCAA Division II national championship team, he had a career record of 5-2, 2.88.
Peterson became a 12th-round pick of the Yankees in 2006 and pitched for short-season Staten Island that year, going 5-3, 1.93 with 53 strikeouts and 29 walks over 37 innings. He reached low Class A Charleston in 2007, but compiled an 8.78 ERA in 13 innings of relief. He struggled with his control as a pro, with 54 walks against 88 strikeouts in 59 innings. The Yankees released him out of spring training in 2008 and he spent two years in independent leagues before his career ended.
"Bachelor Pad" features former contestants from fellow ABC shows "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" who live in a house together and engage in drunken debauchery while competing in contests to winnow their ranks.
According to a release from Peterson's public-relations agency, he will celebrate his victory by returning to his hometown in Tampa for a weekend of parties. Peterson, who listed his occupation as "trainer" during his appearances on "The Bachelorette" and "Bachelor Pad," then will continue to work as an actor and model, with hopes of becoming a television host. He will also continue to work with other contestants from the show on plans to open an "all-female sports bar and restaurant" in Washington, D.C.
While "The Bachelor" and "The Bachelorette" are ostensibly about a man or woman sorting through a group of potential mates for a spouse, "Bachelor Pad" is about winning money, with romance and drama features as prominent sidelights. At the end of the show the contestants compete as couples, and when there’s one couple left standing, those two contestants secretly choose whether to keep or share the prize money.
It's based on the so-called "prisoner's dilemma" that weighs cooperation against betrayal. In the case of the show, if both contestants choose to share the money, they each get $125,000. If one contestant chooses to keep it all and the other chooses to share, the keeper gets all of the money. If both contestants choose to keep the money, they get nothing and the $250,000 is divided equally among the other contestants.
In the previous two seasons of the show, both couples had elected to share the money. In the third season, however, Peterson and his partner, Rachel Trueheart, were paired together for just the final three episodes of the show when their previous partners were eliminated. Peterson, who maintained a low profile in both this season and his appearance on "The Bachelorette," expressed no remorse about his decision.
“I was on nobody’s radar, nobody was ever on my team and I did this all myself,” Peterson said during the season finale, just before revealing his decision to keep all the money. “Nobody ever cared how I was going to vote, nobody cared what my plan was. And I feel like I’m an outsider.
“I got here by myself and I did this all by myself. Rachel never wanted to be my partner. She didn’t. And, as a matter of fact, she told me that she backed into this partnership and she tried to leave on me three times, knowing that it would screw me over. . . but it didn’t matter.”
The Tampa baseball program is becoming known for producing winning reality show contestants as well as baseball players. Roberto Martinez played for the Spartans in 2002-03 before going on the show in 2010 and winning, getting engaged to Bachlorette Ali Fedotowsky. (As in almost all of the show's pairings, the couple later broke up.)
"We want to send more guys to the major leagues than to reality TV," a university spokesman said.