Hot Rod? Eaton's motor extends beyond field

Hot Rod? Eaton's motor extends beyond field

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. -- Take a glance at Adam Eaton's Instagram page and one thing that stands out -- aside from his adorable son, Brayden -- is that it's filled with pictures of cars.

Cars have become a self-admitted addiction for Eaton, and going around spotting and taking pictures of parked cars he finds cool while walking around -- or building and customizing cars himself -- has become one of his favorite hobbies.

Eaton's admiration for cars began as a youth when his father started drag racing. His dad would compete in the Stock Eliminator drag racing class, and Eaton still has fond memories of he and his brother helping try to cool down that 1972 Plymouth Duster.

"That's where I really fell in love with cars," he said. "The smell of the track, the smell of fuel. Guys working on cars. I'm not a gearhead by any stretch of the imagination -- I really wish I was -- just more of a car enthusiast."

Being in West Palm Beach has been perfect for Eaton.

Eaton has been amazed by how many impressive cars he runs into seemingly on a daily basis. There was the Volkswagen with a 40-horsepower motor that he found in the parking lot at the Ballpark of the Palm Beaches -- "It's different, so weird, but it's kind of neat. That's the kind of stuff that I like." -- or the Plymouth Superbird he spotted downtown by City Place. He spent a day earlier this spring getting a tour of South Beach Classics in Miami.

And then there are Corvettes, Eaton's favorite car growing up. He remembers pictures of himself near a Corvette as a 13-year-old boy with a wide grin from ear to ear. He vowed one day to be able to buy one for himself. Once he reached the Majors for the first time in 2012, as a September callup with the D-backs, he decided it was time for an upgrade. He traded in his Mazda with no air conditioning that had accumulated more than 150,000 miles, and bought his first Corvette, even though he was far from an established big leaguer.

"Financially, it wasn't probably the brightest idea in the world, to be honest with you," Eaton said with a laugh. "For me, that was motivation. Every time I sat in my car, I had a great time. But some days, when you left the field, [if] you didn't have a good day, you'd feel guilty driving it. Then when you had a good day, you drove home and you're like, 'You know what? I'm worth it.'"

Eaton currently owns four cars: A Toyota 4Runner for his wife, Katie, because it's built to last; a 2012 Chevrolet Corvette Grand Sport that he contributed some engine and body modifications; a 2017 Cadillac CTS-V; and his everyday car, a Ford SVT Raptor built by SEMA -- one of the largest car and trade shows in the world -- which he drove from Michigan to Spring Training.

Although he has thought about it, Eaton is not sure he would ever follow in his father's footsteps and get into drag racing. He admits it's already an expensive hobby, and he never wants it to feel like another job.

Eaton does have his eye on a few other cars -- he'd buy one on the spot if the long-rumored mid-engine Corvette ever gets created -- but for now, he seems content with what he has and happy to keep taking photos of any interesting cars he comes across.

"It's really an addiction," he said.

Jamal Collier covers the Nationals for Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.