Besides, if all one wants to do is make money it really isn’t too difficult, interesting or legacy building. Frankly, it’s more impressive that a person leaves something than take, take, take. I’m more interested in people who create something or have an art rather than those who drive a fancy car or live in a big house.
You can’t take it with you, folks, so it’s better to give people something to enjoy.
Touchy-feely sentiment aside, it actually makes me pause for a minute when I read the salaries and deals supposedly being offered to the current crop of baseball free agents. I don’t know if disgusting is the correct word, but it certainly seems as if a bunch of baseball players are going to be compensated even more out-of-line than ever before.
I’m not the only one who thinks this way, either. According to reports from the general manager meetings in Florida, the guys offering the deals are a little turned off as well. Of course there is a way to remedy their situation, but it seems as if that horse is already out of the barn. Plus, back in 1987 it didn’t seem as if collusion amongst the teams in regard to curbing salaries was too difficult to prove.
Who in their right mind would pay $51 million simply for the right to negotiate with an unknown player from an inferior league? Is Alfonso Soriano really worth a nine-digit dollar deal? If so, will the regular baseball fan with kids, car payments and a mortgage be able to afford to go to a game without cashing in the 401K? After all, the Phillies already raised ticket prices for 2007 based on their resounding 85-victory season in 2006.
OK, let’s not get too deep into standing up for the regular fan right now because there isn’t enough space on the World Wide Web to address all of the variables and arguments. Besides, there is no way to convince me that regular folks are not getting shafted for doing nothing other than being a loyal fan.
They are getting shafted, but that’s nothing new.
Let’s just stick with the righteous indignation over the fact that out-of-shape and potentially washed-up Frank Thomas just signed a two-year, $18 million deal with the Blue Jays. Or that Wes Helms, a player who was available to any team in the league for slightly more than the minimum salary as little as a few months ago, will get close to the GNP of a third-world country to be a part-time third baseman for the Phillies.
What was most surprising to me was the report that the Diamondbacks were prepared to give Randy Wolf $21 million for three seasons.
That’s $21 million for a 69-60 lefty… I say run to the desert, Randy, and never look back.
Let me preface that by saying Randy Wolf is on my short list for favorite professional athletes of all time. There really isn’t anything bad I can write or say about that guy even if I tried. But $21 million…
God bless him.
Yet again, therein lies the problem. Certainly Randy Wolf is smart enough not to let any of the money, superficialities or other fleeting fame change anything about him, but just because someone has the right perspective is no reason for admiration. That’s basic.
But that’s the real issue, isn’t it? I honestly believe that a lot of people have lost the true sense of what athletics really is. Often we don’t appreciate the “art” anymore because we’re paying too close attention to the bottom line. That isn’t just in sports, either. Do people go to school to learn and be exposed to new ideas, experiences and concepts or simply to get through so they can get a certain job?
If so, that’s sad, and it reminds me of a conversation I had with someone in my profession not too long ago. It seems this other person and I were disparaging a certain other person’s body of work (I admit it… I can be shallow, too) when it was said, “Yeah, he might not be too good at what he does but he’s making $XXX,XXX.”
I paused for a half a beat before saying, “Yeah, that might be true, but he’s still a bleeping hack.”
Then again, I suppose that’s better than being a poorly paid hack…